The Sun-Sentinel reports that U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Stuart, introduced a bill on Thursday that would require the Department of Homeland Security to deport illegal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes — after they’ve served their sentences.
A press release issued by Rooney’s office quoted the congressman:
“If you’re here illegally and you commit a crime, you should serve your sentence and then go back to your home country,” Rooney said. “You cannot stay here and continue to commit crimes against our citizens.
“We have seen too many tragic incidents where Americans have lost their lives in crimes committed by illegal immigrants who already have been through the justice system,” Rooney wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Times today announcing introduction of the bill.
The bill, titled the “Criminal Alien Removal Act of 2011,” would allow prison officials in federal, state or local facilities to hold criminal aliens after serving their sentences until they are transferred into federal custody and removed from the United States.
Michael Mahaffey, communications director for Rooney’s office, wrote to The Florida Independent:
This act would strengthen existing programs by requiring that [Homeland Security, aka DHS] ensure criminal aliens are not released into US communities and are removed from the US upon release. While programs currently exist, and while DHS can remove criminal aliens after incarceration, they are not required to do so and they often do not.
Secondly, the Act gives states and local officials the authorization to hold and detain criminal aliens until ICE can take them into custody. Under current law, they do not have that authority.