ICE Director: Trump Wall ‘Doesn’t Sound Like It Would Secure Anything’
“Illegal entrant committed a violent crime and they are in your custody, you have the capability, the facilities to hold more and you’re exercising your judgment to release them, and some of those people you released did violent crimes and actually took the lives of American citizens,” Jordan said.
“Today we have about 2,000 beds available based on what this Congress authorized us to do,” Saldaña said.
“I think we’re saying ‘let’s use them,’” Jordan responded.
Scott Root, the father of Sarah Root, who had just graduated from college when her vehicle was struck Jan. 31 by an illegal immigrant with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, testified at the hearing.
ICE rejected a request from local authorities to issue a detainer on the driver, Eswin G. Mejia. He is currently on the loose after posting $5,000 bail and fleeing the area.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) asked Saldaña why ICE let Mejia go after he failed to appear for his immigration court hearing before murdering Root.
“He did not appear for his court hearing,” she said. “These are tough decisions, sir.”
“This one is not that tough to me,” Gowdy said, before pressing Saldaña on whether the $50,000 bail was too low since it allowed Mejia to post only $5,000 upon release.
“I will tell you judges make tough decisions every day, and we can point to judges,” she said. “I was on the receiving end of many of these as a prosecutor asking for detention and a federal judge said ‘no’ and later that person absconded, unfortunately. It irks me every time, of course, but unfortunately it happens a lot.”
Gowdy shot back, “It does happen and sometimes with tragic consequences.”