Deportable Violent Sex Offenders Can Go Free when Home Country Refuses to Take Them

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
(photo: Richard Drew, AP)

Hundreds of immigrants convicted of violent sex crimes have been allowed to go free in the United States because their home country has refused to take them back.


An investigation by the Boston Globe revealed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tried unsuccessfully to deport 424 immigrants who had been convicted of sex-related offenses from 2008 to 2012. But once these individuals’ home countries refused to accept their deportation, ICE had no other recourse than to let them go. The 424 included convicted rapists, child molesters, and kidnappers.


The newspaper also found that ICE failed to track these criminals after releasing them, or to ensure that they registered themselves as sex offenders. The Government Accountability Office in 2013 urged ICE to do a better job of informing local law enforcement agencies when an offender is released.


“By law, police are supposed to investigate if such offenders fail to update their address within days of their release,” Maria Sacchetti wrote at the Globe. “But local officials said they did not learn that ICE had released the offenders until after the Globe inquired about their cases.”


Some of those released re-offend and are jailed, including at least one man who tortured his children. Others get into homeless shelters, which usually ban sex offenders, because they’re not registered. “The public ought to be outraged,” said Ronald Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, which owns a shelter where a sex offender released by ICE stayed. “I don’t know that ICE intentionally set us up,” Book said, “but it left us vulnerable, which is what we want to try to avoid.”


ICE officials told the newspaper that once a foreign government says it won’t take an immigrant back, the agency must release that person within six months because a 2001 Supreme Court ruling bars indefinite detention of immigrants.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

ICE’s Sex Offender Policies Under Scrutiny (by Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe)

U.S. Frees Hundreds Of Cuban Criminals Because Havana Won’t Take Them Back (Washington Times)

Cuban Criminals Exploit 1966 Law to Commit Health Care Fraud and other Financial Crimes (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


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