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Rep. Smith on Releasing Criminal Aliens: ‘Greatest Jailbreak in American History’

By Kathleen Brown | July 10, 2015 | 5:38pm EDT

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said Thursday on Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio program that it is “absolutely inexcusable” that the Obama administration is releasing illegal immigrants who have committed crimes “back in our streets.”

“If they weren’t doing it legally, this would be the greatest jailbreak in American history. They released 30,000 to 36,000 people every year who have either been accused of or convicted of some of the most horrible crimes that we have in America,” Smith told Hannity.

Here is the transcript of Smith's exchange with Hannity:

Hannity: “So you questioned the ICE [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] director and I thought you asked some very relevant questions, but here’s the bottom line: There are illegal immigrants committing felonies that are then released on American soil.

“Some have killed again. Some are responsible for sexual assaults. Over 36,007 [convicted criminal aliens released by ICE in 2013]. We have 193 murders or homicides, [426] sexual assaults, 303 kidnappings, 16,000 drunk driving, drugged driving -- these are the people that we knew committed crimes.

“So, is the federal government, by not enforcing the law, then responsible for these incidents because they refused to uphold the law?”

Smith: “Everything you have said is true, including the description of the type of individuals this administration has been voluntarily putting back into our communities and on our streets. It is absolutely inexcusable.

“If they weren’t doing it legally, this would be the greatest jailbreak in American history. They released 30,000 to 36,000 people every year who have either been accused of or convicted of some of the most horrible crimes that we have in America. Everything you just mentioned -- murder, child molestation, kidnapping, the really severe drug trafficking charges and so forth.

“Why is the administration doing this to us? And why aren’t they, as an aside, trying to do something and levy some sanctions against these sanctuary cities who are also complicit in this releasing of criminals who inevitably, a good percent are going to commit some other crimes? They shouldn’t even be in this country to begin with, certainly not on our streets --

Hannity: “Well, it’s interesting you say that. It’s now front and center in this presidential race. And while the media’s been focused and fixated on Donald Trump the entire way, Hillary Clinton released a statement today saying that she ‘believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety...she has defended those policies going back years.’

"And she’s ‘made clear [that] this particular individual should not have been on the streets’ -- but what does that mean? He went to that city -- San Francisco -- because it’s a sanctuary city. And San Francisco should have handed this guy over to ICE, and as a policy, they choose not to obey the law.

“Now, if I was this woman’s family, I would sue every single one of these people, in terms of the culpability they have and the blood on their hands for not enforcing the laws of this land.”

Smith: “I would like for some of our presidential candidates to think about putting the safety of the American people first, not necessarily the rights or concerns they have about people who are in the country illegally and who have been convicted of some of these crimes.

"But there’s two problems here. The first is, oftentimes, the federal government does request that these sanctuary cities turn over these hardened criminals to them so they can be deported, and the cities don’t do that. That’s the first problem.

“The second problem is that this administration is undermining and not enforcing current immigration laws on the books. They’re doing nothing to stop these sanctuary cities from hiding these, or harboring these criminals.

“Plus, they themselves are releasing tens of thousands of people every year who ought to be deported, who ought to be sent home, and instead, they’re putting criminals back in our streets.”

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