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Chaffetz rips DHS release of criminal illegal immigrants

House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says the Department of Homeland Security's release of thousands of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes on U.S. soil puts communities at risk


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 28, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The Obama administration under fire at a House hearing. The Department of Homeland Security has released thousands of illegal immigrants who have committed crimes on U.S. soil including some behind more than 200 murders.


JASON CHAFFETZ, HOUSE OVERSIGHT & GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: You have somebody who commits homicide, yes. We want them deported. That's the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then put it in the statute, sir.

CHAFFETZ: There is a whole list of categories there that are harm to public safety, including those that commit homicide that you went ahead and released anyway.

And so that law is crystal clear. You are making these discretionary choices in releasing these people out in the public and they are committing more crimes. And I don't understand why you don't deport them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To sit there and say that the proud women and men of law enforcement in ICE are choosing to release criminals is -- absolutely unforgivable.

I am very proud of representing those men and women. Many of them are former police officers, sheriff's department members. And they do not go around trying to put criminals on the streets.


VAN SUSTEREN: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman who led today's hearing Congressman Jason Chaffetz goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so there are some people who released two criminals, right, from prison?


VAN SUSTEREN: They are in prison because -

CHAFFETZ: More than 86,000 of them over a three year period.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Who makes the decision to release them? And how do they pick and choose?

CHAFFETZ: Well, it seems to be random. But everything from homicide to DUIs, to assault, to sexual battery, to -- I mean, you name the violent crime, they have released them back out in the public, rather than either detaining them or even better yet deporting them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are these people who have been arrested for these crimes and gotten sentencing.

CHAFFETZ: They are here, illegally. They committed a crime. They were convicted of that crime. They either served that time or they just released them back out in the public instead of actually saying now that you have served your sentence, your debt to the United States, we're going to send you back to the country from which you came. They don't do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why don't they do that?

CHAFFETZ: It's ridiculous. There is no acceptable answer. They have tried to reprogram over $100 million that Congress had allocated for these deportations. They wanted to give that money back rather than do it.

These are minimum of 34,000 beds for these types of people. Yet, the department only wants to house about 30,000. And what they have done is they released them out into the streets. And more than 200 of those people that were in our detention that had committed a crime were released back out in the public and committed homicide.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I mean -- well, somebody obviously makes a decision. OK, we're going to release you, and we're going to release you to the street. We're not going to deport. Who does that?

CHAFFETZ: The Department of Homeland Security.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, who is that? Is that like one person who has got the job, some nameless, faceless bureaucrat on the government who gets to make that decision?

CHAFFETZ: You look at Jay Johnson, who is the secretary. Then you look at the director who is with us today. He was the director of Immigration Customs Enforcement and they are not doing it. Some of them get deported. But when you release 86,000 people over three years into the public that had already committed crimes --


VAN SUSTEREN: But all you have to do is look at their crimes. I mean, if they are felonies. I mean, if you like stolen a pack of gum from the grocery store, that's very different. But if you have been convicted of murder, that's different.

CHAFFETZ: More than 12,000 of these were DUIs. And I think that's a fairly --

VAN SUSTEREN: It's a very serious crime. I agree.

CHAFFETZ: But everything from sexual assault, to robbery, to homicide.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many were released in 2015?

CHAFFETZ: Well, the 86,000 represents three years. So basically divide it by three. I mean, not even one is acceptable. We heard witnesses today whose family members were killed. And how do you look those people in the eye?

I mean, they should be out of the country. One of the excuses is well those countries won't take them back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just drop them off.

CHAFFETZ: Don't give them any more foreign aid and do what the law says and that is make sure the secretary of state does not give those countries any more visas so more people come to this country. Get their attention.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Greta.