Link Between Crime and Illegal Immigration Highlighted in Testimony at Congressional Hearing

February 26, 2015 Updated: February 26, 2015

At a Congressional hearing on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration policies, the father of an American murdered by an illegal immigrant implored lawmakers confront the increase in crime that illegal immigration brings.

“Some people believe that if you are brought over by no fault of your own that it makes you a good person. They want us to believe that DREAM Act kids don’t murder. I am here to debunk that myth,” Jamiel Shaw said before the House’s Oversight and Government Reform committee.

Shaw’s son, Jamiel Shaw II, was a rising football star at Los Angeles High School before being gunned down by Pedro Espinoza, an illegal immigrant, while walking home in March of 2008.

“Do black lives really matter? Or does it matter only if you are shot by a white person or a white policeman?” Shaw said. 

Last Monday, a federal judge temporarily suspended president Obama’s deferred action programs from November, which would shield five million illegal immigrants from deportation and give them work permits. Despite the court order, a parallel program instituted by the DHS continues unabated, and border patrol agents are discouraged from detaining illegal immigrants on the basis of immigration status alone.

The president argues that his immigration programs would cut down on crime committed by illegal aliens because it redirects agency resources towards criminals, but evidence was brought up in the hearing that suggested that fewer criminals were being deported since the implementation of a deferred action programs in 2012, which served as a prototype for the ones created in November.

From 2009 to 2014, the number of deportations from the interior of the country has dropped by 58 percent, from 236,000 to 102,000, according to records from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a natural consequence of deferred action programs that aim to shield non-criminal illegal immigrants from deportation. However, ICE has also seen a precipitous decline in the deportation of criminals.

“The number of criminal aliens deported from the interior has declined by 43 percent since 2012, from 153,000 to 87,000,” said Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Studies. “This has occurred despite increases in the number of criminal aliens identified by ICE, largely due to the nationwide implementation of the Secure Communities program.”

Vaughn attributes much of the decline in deportations to the Obama administration’s reforms, which have dramatically cut back on the deportation caseload of ICE officers, one of whom told Vaughn that his office only handled 5 to 10 percent of the caseload it did before the complements to the deferred action programs went into effect.