Today we will vote to authorize a subpoena against the Department of Homeland Security. We do not take this action lightly, but as the only remaining means to determine the impact on our communities of DHS's refusal to take criminal immigrants into custody.
Secure Communities relies on the existing federal information-sharing partnership between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify removable criminal immigrants. Under Secure Communities, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints of individuals arrested by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to ICE to check against its immigration databases. ICE determines whether an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction.
ICE has stated that in determining whether to take custody of the immigrants and seek their removal, it prioritizes individuals who ICE believes present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history and other factors.
DHS and ICE unequivocally state they do not remove all removable immigrants identified through Secure Communities or by other means. Specifically, data provided by ICE indicates that it has had 536,148 alien matches based on Secure Communities from October 2008 to April 2011. Of these matches, or hits, ICE indicates 226,694 aliens were taken into ICE custody. That means ICE booked 42 percent of such aliens into ICE custody.
According to ICE, more than half of aliens whom ICE allowed federal, state and local law enforcement to release committed "low level" crimes. Yet, when asked what low-level crimes these aliens committed, ICE stated they did not specifically track that data.
The Chairman has requested information on the arrested aliens ICE has declined to detain. This will help the Committee uncover how many of these aliens committed additional crimes after ICE declined to detain them. In fact what price do the American people pay for ICE's current policy? That information is certainly under the purview of this Committee to request.
We have no choice but to vote to authorize a subpoena for this information.