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ICE Director Struggles to Explain 'Dramatic Decline' in Criminal Alien Removals

•, by Caroline May

"I would like my hands on every criminal alien who's in the country illegally and to be able to remove them. This is what I have done as a prosecutor and this is what I did as a United States attorney. Neither I nor the women and men who work for ICE would let go of a criminal alien if they had a basis for it a final order of removal and the ability to remove them," Saldana testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The ICE Director was responding to questioning from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who pressed the agency head on the "dramatic reduction" in criminal removals despite the Obama administration's claim that their enforcement priorities

 "According to the information we've obtained in 2011 your agency, ICE, removed 150,000 criminal aliens from the interior," Sessions said. "In Fiscal Year '12 it dropped to 135,000, in Fiscal Year '13 it dropped to 110,000, in Fiscal Year '14 to 86,000. And in Fiscal Year '15, this year, we believe the number is only around 63,000."

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