Yesterday, U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) led the introduction of the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, legislation that would close the legal loophole that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States illegal aliens who have not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months – a practice also referred to as “catch and release.”
Inhofe introduced the legislation with Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
“Our immigration system is broken and President Biden won’t acknowledge the crisis we are facing at the southern border,” Inhofe said. “That’s why my colleagues and I introduced the Keep Our Communities Safe Act this week. This legislation would close the ‘catch-and-release’ loophole, which puts law abiding citizens, local law enforcement officials and communities at risk. Our bill will ensure that illegal aliens who have been found guilty of violent crimes and aggravated felonies are not able to remain in our communities. As the current law stands, an illegal alien with a criminal record is released back into the United States after six months if no other country accepts them for deportation. This bill is a commonsense solution and it’s time for it to become law.”
“The failed policies of the Biden Administration and loopholes in our immigration laws have created a crisis at our southern border that is the worst our country has ever faced,” said Tillis. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which fixes current law that prevents DHS agents from detaining dangerous, criminal illegal immigrants who threaten national security or the safety of American communities.”
“Illegal immigration is occurring at the highest rate on record. If President Biden will not act to control rampant illegal border crossings, then Congress must do everything possible to deter them from happening,” Wicker said. “This act would take a critical step toward containing our border crisis by fixing our broken catch-and-release policy and beginning to reestablish the rule of law.”
“The historic number of encounters at the southern border can in part be attributed to the dangerous ‘catch and release’ loophole that enables violent criminals who are here illegally to disappear into our communities,” said Risch. “Our inability to detain criminal aliens and failure to protect the American people is unacceptable. I’m proud to join my colleague from Oklahoma in introducing this common sense legislation.”
“America’s border crisis threatens our national security and the safety of our local communities,” said Kennedy. “We can’t afford to send violent offenders out into the country, and the Keep Our Communities Safe Act would make sure that officials don’t ‘catch and release’ offenders when they are here illegally.”
“Violent criminals should under no circumstances be released back into our communities,” Cruz said. “It is imperative that we close the ‘catch-and-release’ loophole and repair our fractured immigration system. Texas is in desperate need of relief at the border, and the Keep Our Communities Safe Act is a step in the right direction. Forcing our Border Patrol agents to eventually release everyone is incomprehensible and threatens the safety of Texans, and of Americans nationwide.”
“Under no circumstance should an illegal immigrant with a history of violence be released into the U.S. through this loophole. Not only is this a danger to our communities and law enforcement as President Biden’s border crisis rages on, but it’s also an insult to immigrants who follow our laws and come here legally. This is a common sense fix that is sorely needed,” Grassley said.
“Misguided catch-and-release policies are exactly what incentivize illegal immigrants to flood our borders and pave the way for unlawful activity by drug cartels and criminals,” said Hagerty. “The Keep Our Communities Safe Act will help protect our borders and our citizens by closing a senseless loophole in our immigration system that is contributing to rising crime, record fentanyl overdoses that are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45, and dangerous individuals being released into our communities.”
“The Biden Border Crisis is causing our already broken immigration system to be completely overwhelmed,” said Lummis. “The Keep our Communities Safe Act will close a loophole that requires DHS to release illegal aliens who are known threats to the safety and security of our communities into the interior of our country. We must end catch and release and beef up border security to keep the American people safe. This bill is an important step in the right direction.”
“Thanks to Biden’s reversal of key border security policies, illegal border crossings are at an all-time high,” said Braun. “There is no reason that illegal aliens that have committed violent crimes should be released back in American communities due to a legal technicality. We must close this dangerous loophole and keep our communities in Indiana and across the country safe.”
“Law enforcement and the judicial system are overwhelmed by the crisis at our southern border,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The current ‘catch and release’ loophole allows illegal immigrants with criminal records to be released into the U.S. scot-free. Our bill ends this practice, keeps Americans safe, and begins to alleviate the border crisis.”
“Americans deserve to feel safe at home and in their communities,” said Hawley. “This bill will help stop the Biden Administration’s radical catch and release practices by ensuring dangerous illegal aliens remain detained until they are deported.”
“Right now, violent criminals and illegal immigrants who break our laws are allowed to be released back into the United States. This is reckless and completely irresponsible. The blatant disregard for the rule of law is not only bad policy, but is dangerous to communities who are suffering because of Joe Biden’s open border and catch and release policies. The Keep Our Communities Safe Act closes loopholes in a broken immigration system,” said Cramer.
“Under no circumstances should violent criminals be allowed to circumvent our laws and be released back into the United States. This bill is intended to protect our communities by eliminating the loophole known as ‘catch and release’ and ending the exploitation of the law,” Hyde-Smith said.
“Montana is a northern border state with a southern border crisis, and our communities are feeling the effects of President Biden’s open-border policies. We must put an end to ‘catch-and-release’ policies that put Montana families and communities in danger,” Daines said.
“Our Southern Border is in disarray, and the Biden Administration refuses to enforce immigration laws,” Rubio said. “This bill would put an end to “catch and release practice,” which does nothing but incentivize more people to make the dangerous trek across our southern border.”
Full text of the bill can be found here.
The Keep Our Communities Safe Act
Closes the loophole that prevents DHS from detaining non-removable immigrants beyond the current Supreme Court-mandated six months in these specific situations:
- The alien will be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
- The alien would have been removed but for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with the Secretary’s efforts to remove him;
- The alien has a highly contagious disease;
- Release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences;
- Release would threaten national security; or
- Release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence.