Nearly 150,000 illegal-alien criminals are in American jails or on American streets, a U.S. congressman says. And those roaming American cities and towns are there thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that forbids the government from indefinitely incarcerating the criminals if the United States cannot deport them after their sentences are over.
The decision has led to the death of at least six American citizens, and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) is sounding the tocsin. In June, a Bangladeshi convicted sex offender was sentenced for murdering an elderly woman. Had he been deported following the earlier offense, the murdered woman would still be alive. But he wasn’t deported because the Bangladeshi government refused to take him back.
Poe aims to fix that with his Deport Foreign Convicted Criminals Act. “I don’t know why the State Department seems to take the side of foreign countries over our own American interest in the United States,” Poe told Fox News last week. “Look, you take these people back or the consequence is going to be no visas for your nation.”
Poe's H.R. 2199, introduced last year, would apply a simple remedy to get foreign countries to repatriate their criminals: Diplomatic visas would not be issued to countries that refuse to repatriate criminals who have been ordered out of the United States.
The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to produce a quarterly list of foreign criminals in the United States and the countries that refuse to take them back. The bill would also require the State Department to refuse diplomatic visas to those countries. The countries would get the visas when they take back their criminals.
“This is one aspect of Border Security and National Security that has unfortunately slipped through the cracks,” Poe said when he introduced the bill.
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Photo of Rep. Ted Poe: AP Images