Obama throws a bone to enforcement advocates

Published 9:30 am Friday, October 28, 2016

by Joe Guzzardi

More than 95 percent of Americans could not point to The Gambia on a map. Yet the tiny African nation, officially known as The Islamic Republic of The Gambia, routinely thumbs its nose at the United States, and refuses to accept back its criminal nationals living within the U.S. who refuse to obey final deportation orders.

For the record, The Gambia, Africa’s smallest country, is located in the continent’s northwestern region, covers a total area of 4,400 square miles, has 4.4 million residents, and $529 in per capita gross domestic product.

The Gambia is one of the recalcitrant countries that fail to cooperate with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement. Others small nations include Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka. Overall, there are nearly one million aliens within the U.S. who have been issued, but ignored, final deportation orders.

According to a recent Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest hearing, many of those million aliens are released into local communities every day. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to the subcommittee showed that as of June 25, 2016, 953,806 individuals have outstanding orders of removal. Of the 953,806, 182,761 are convicted criminals, and 242,772 come from the countries that ICE has labeled recalcitrant. This includes not only The Gambia, but also Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Vietnam and China. From Cuba, 28,733 remain; from Vietnam, 2,140, and from China, 1,848.

Snubbing U.S. immigration laws has grave consequences for innocent America citizens who have become crime victims. In 2012, ICE released a Haitian alien who had completed his attempted murder sentence. But after Haiti would not accept him, three years later, the individual stabbed a woman to death. In 2013, a Cambodian scheduled to be deported in 2009, but instead released from ICE custody, molested a child he absconded with. And in 2010, a released deportable Jamaican broke into his ex-girlfriend’s home and stabbed her and a friend.

There’s more. Recently, nearly 100 criminals in the U.S. illegally were released from federal prisons, but not deported because their birth countries would not take them back. The criminals include a Cuban national released in Florida with convictions for burglary, drug trafficking and sex offenses; a Cuban national released in Texas with convictions for eight counts of assault and aggravated assault, along with convictions for battery, selling cocaine, six counts of larceny and four additional stolen property charges; a Laotian national released in California with convictions for burglary, drug trafficking, homicide and sexual assault; and a Syrian national released in Illinois with convictions for selling cocaine and possession of a weapon.

For years, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have ignored a simple-to-implement provision that allows them to punish countries that flout U.S. law — no more visas to those countries until they resume repatriating their criminal nationals.

Responding to intensifying criticism for its failures to protect the homeland, the Obama administration finally announced token measures, but only against The Gambia. In what amounts to an insult to Americans who want immigration laws enforced, the State Department will no longer issue visas to employees of the Gambian government, entities associated with the government,= or their spouses and children. As for the 1,268 Gambian nationals living in the U.S. who have defied their final removal orders, the administration made no comment.

The probability is that they will remain indefinitely, and may commit other crimes.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org.