So far, about 30 countries have flat-out refused to accept the deportees ICE wants to send back for committing serious crimes in America, says Henry Cuellar, Texas Representative.
According to the congressman, these countries are refusing to allow the US to deport these criminals back to their home countries. At the same times, student visas and visas are still being issued by the US government, to citizens of those same countries.
Cuellar says that a law already exists on the book that gives the US right to hold visas from countries who refuse to take their own criminals back. However, the US isn’t enforcing the law.
Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, interviewed Cuellar. The Texas rep says it amazes him that the government is not enforcing it. Now, he plans to go back to “our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that.”
Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.
“That means you’re releasing criminals into our streets because those countries refuse to take back those criminal aliens,” said Cuellar. “That’s wrong. And especially I think it’s even worse that this is already on the books, and we’re still issuing business tourist visas and student visas to countries that refuse to take back their criminal aliens. That’s wrong, and we’re hoping to change that.”
Cuellar has not been afraid to break with some of his party leadership on immigration issues in the past. He was known as one of former President Barack Obama’s fiercest critics on illegal immigration. Cuellar teamed up with Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2014 to help pass a bill that would speed up the deportation of unaccompanied minors. His stance disappointed his fellow Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid.
There are many foreign countries that refuse to retake illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, according to the congressman, including Vietnam, Cuba and China. Cuellar said that diplomacy plays a factor in the government’s refusal to enforce the law, as the Department of State and other federal agencies do not want to upset foreign partners.
But, for Cuellar, diplomacy is no excuse to put American lives in danger.
“But my response is, but we can upset our constituents, we can upset our way of life that we have here by allowing those criminals to be released?” said Cuellar. “And basically the response from the State Department is because you have to work with the State Department and Homeland Security. And the State Department, with all due respect, was focused on diplomacy.”
Cuellar noted that he understands the importance of diplomacy in these situations, but that it also important to prevent convicted criminals from returning to American neighborhoods. He told Attkisson that he plans to push for the U.S. government to withhold visas from countries that refuse to take back their convicted criminals.