On Wednesday federal officials confirmed Thong Vang, the convicted rapist who shot two corrections officers in Fresno, Calif., last week was an illegal immigrant who was only in the U.S. due to his home country refusing to take him back.
Vang was in the main lobby of the Fresno County Jail Saturday morning when he opened fire with a handgun, wounding Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan.
The 37-year-old Laotian national completed his 16-year rape sentence two years ago and was set for deportation. However, he was freed instead after Laotian officials did not respond to a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take him back.
“When Laotian officials failed to respond to that request, ICE released Mr. Vang in December, 2014 due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis,” said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
According to Fox News, the ruling Kice cited states that immigrants under order of deportation who have no country that will accept them may not be held indefinitely, absent special circumstances.
Reports show that last year, 3,735 illegal immigrant criminals from Laos were ordered to be deported but were instead freed into the United States after their country refused to cooperate and take them back.
“This is another horrifying example of the consequences of failing to push the issue of deportations with uncooperative countries,” said Jessica Vaughan, from the Center for Immigration Studies. “Laos has been a problem for many years, and there are more than 3,700 criminals still here as a result, but still the State Department has not lifted a finger to take action against that government. Instead, they keep issuing visas – they gave out more than 11,000 temporary visas in the last five years in Laos, despite the requirement in federal law that they impose visa sanctions on countries that won’t take back their citizens.”
Last year 67,792 Mexicans were set for removal but could not be deported and nearly 29,000 Cubans were also freed after their deportations failed.
The system is broken and needs to be fixed. We cannot continue to keep convicted criminals in the United States simply because their home countries will not take them back.
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