Most of us have heard the tragic story of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old California woman shot in the back by criminal alien, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. Unfortunately, there are many such stories.

Casey Chadwick was a 25-year-old woman from Connecticut. She was murdered by Jean Jacques, an illegal Haitian immigrant. Chadwick was stabbed to death in her apartment and left in a closet. Jacques was sentenced to 60 years. However, what makes this story all the more tragic is that federal authorities had tried to deport Jacques three times. Prior to the murder, Haiti refused to take him back because he had served 17 years for a 1997 attempted murder conviction. So, instead, he was released from prison back into the general U. S. population– and killed Chadwick shortly thereafter.

Unbelievably, Jacques was one of 20,000 criminal aliens released by the Department of Homeland Security that year!

In 2014 alone, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a total of 30,558 criminal aliens from its custody. These aliens had already been convicted of more than 92,000 crimes before their release.

Accordingly, I introduced H.B. 452 last week in the Georgia legislature. This public safety bill is cosponsored by the former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Representative Bill Hitchens. Furthermore, it is cosponsored by the current chair of the House Public Safety Committee, Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell.

HB 452 will require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to share information received from the federal government on the release of criminal aliens with Georgia sheriffs and to post it online for the public.

Further, this bill will require each jail in Georgia to provide the GBI a list of each criminal alien who was released from its custody and who was the subject of an immigration detainer request by the ICE. Such a request allows for an alien to be detained for an additional 48 hours after release to allow ICE agents extra time to decide whether to take the individual into federal custody.

According to federal records, among the criminal aliens released from immigration detention since 2011, there have been 10,731 convictions for assault; 890 for sexual assault, including rape; 473 for homicide; and 375 for kidnapping.

My bill is about transparency. The people have a right to know when criminal aliens are released back into their community. That information is now hidden from them. My goal is to make that information available to them, and they can then form their own opinions based on the data.

The author is state Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah.


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