Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

 Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Colorado for offering this amendment with me. I'll be brief because I don't think many Members here need to be convinced that we need our Government agencies to enforce the laws we give them and that they aren't arbitrary.

   Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows the State Department to discontinue the issuance of visas to nations who fail to take back their nationals who have been ordered removed by our Government.

   Unfortunately, this step by our Government has never been taken. Why? The gentleman from Colorado and I joined on a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to ask this very question. The chart I have here indicates the response we received and I quote: 

   Department of Homeland Security Response: ``While visa sanctions under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act may be an effective tool in obtaining repatriation cooperation, the severity that makes them potentially effective also has the potential to negatively impact other U.S. foreign relations objectives if not used judiciously. When considering the use of 243(d) sanctions, DHS must consider the potential repercussions to U.S. foreign policy. Because the United States is pursuing a number of initiatives with China on foreign policy issues, implementing Section 243(d) sanctions could have counterproductive effects.''--Donald H. Kent, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, January 10, 2007.

   Mr. Chairman, how this reads to me is that our trade with nations like China is more important than providing for the safety of the American people. Many of the people who we are trying to remove are hardened criminals, violent felons that we want off our streets. Because of two recent Supreme Court decisions, our government is limited in the length of time we can hold them in our jails while working to remove them. If we can't remove them in 6 months, they are to be set free. Now how many are we talking about here? As this chart shows, here are the top offending countries and the number roaming America:

        

TABLE 14.--BREAKDOWN IN THE NUMBER OF UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS FROM COUNTRIES THAT BLOCK OR INHIBIT REPATRIATION
[As of June 29, 2004]
Eight countries Detained criminal non-criminal Non-detained criminal/non-criminal Total Vietnam  352  5,807  6,159  Jamaica  715  11,568  12,283  Iran  105  7,039  7,144  India  253  28,540  28,793  Ethiopia  108  4,454  4,562  Eritrea  21  637  658  China  885  72,315  73,200  Laos  140  3,302  3,442  Total  2,579  133,662  136,241
During FY 2003, the detention of criminal/non-criminal aliens from the top eight uncooperative countries that block or inhibit repatriation consumed 981,202 detention days and $83 million.

Source: DRO.

   According to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General audit in April 2006, ``The difficulty that ICE is experiencing removing undocumented aliens with final orders has, in effect, created a mini-amnesty program for tens of thousands of undocumented aliens that are subject to removal from the U.S. It also encourages individual