Lack of Travel Papers Leads to More Criminals in the Streets of America

Most immigration reform advocates have criticized the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention procedures, which have forced thousands of illegal immigrants without a criminal history into detention centers.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, several studies have found that illegal immigrants are usually less likely to commit crimes than those who are natural-born U.S. Citizens. However, a relatively unknown aspect of ICE’s immigration procedures is the fact that many foreign criminals who are more likely to pose a threat are allowed to roam free. This is due to a Supreme Court ruling that allows illegal immigrants who pose a threat to stay in detention centers for 180 days, although some exceptions have been made. According to the Associated Press, one particular exception is if an individual is expected to be deported soon.

Some individuals after deported, are not allowed back into their native countries. According to the AP, their native countries will often not provide them with the sufficient travel documents, such as citizenship papers and a passport, forcing the United States ICE to bring these criminals back into the country. More than 8,700 cases of foreign criminals whom ICE was forced to let go were reported from 2009 through spring 2011, according to the source.

One of the more alarming cases is that of Binh Thai Luc, a Vietnamese native who has been accused of murdering five San Francisco residents. Luc, an illegal immigrant, spent six years in a United States prison for armed robbery. After a judge ordered him to be deported, Vietnam would not provide Luc with the proper travel papers. Luc is currently on trial for the five murders.