The Boston Globe has done a rare thing—a real investigative story that took a year with extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act and pouring over court documents and phone calls to ICE to produce a documentation of horror. I could barely get through it, it is so gruesome and so insane.
We are letting violent immigrant criminals out of detention because we can’t or won’t deport them, and the whole shocking business is being done with the utmost secrecy on the part of the federal government.
The killers described in graphic detail in reporter Maria Sacchetti’s article are Cubans, Chinese, Liberian,Vietnamese and Bangladeshi (they don’t say, but all, except the Chinese, could be refugees).
Here is just one of the cases described in the Boston Globe ten days ago (Hat tip: Gary). It’s about an immigrant from Bangladesh, Shafiqul Islam, raised in the US (was he a refugee?).
Immigration agent Earl DeLong and his colleagues wasted little time in trying to put Shafiqul Islam on a plane back to his native Bangladesh two years ago. As soon as he finished his prison term in New York for taking pictures of himself sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl when he was 17, immigration agents called the Bangladeshi consulate in Manhattan.
Initially, the Bangladeshis were reassuring and a consular official, Mamunur Rashid, said he sent the agent’s request for clearance to deport Islam to authorities in Dhaka. But as time dragged on, the cooperation waned.
Whenever DeLong and others called the consulate over the next few months, Rashid was increasingly unavailable. The receptionist said he was not in. He was on vacation or out to lunch. Sometimes, a person at the consulate answered the phone and just hung up. Other times, the phone rang but nobody answered.
“Spoke to a person at the consulate four different times, never able to speak with Mamunur Rashid,” one agent wrote in a secret federal log that became public as part of a lawsuit.
US officials had seen stalling tactics from Bangladesh before: The impoverished Asian nation typically took several months to provide passports for criminals being deported last year — if they provided the documents at all, according to federal statistics.
Foreign countries are understandably reluctant to accept criminals, especially those such as Islam who were raised in the United States, and they have little incentive to do so since the United States rarely takes action against them, such as refusing to issue them visas.
State Department officials acknowledge that they try to avoid reaching the point of sanctions with nations like Bangladesh, but insist that they do apply diplomatic pressure.
“It is a matter we take very seriously, and consistently raise it at high levels with all countries where this is a concern,” said department spokesman Ken Chavez.
Islam filed a lawsuit to get out of detention.
Hoping Bangladesh would clear Islam’s return, US immigration officials told Islam in April 2011 that they were going to continue to hold him even though more than six months had passed since Islam’s sexual abuse sentence ended. Islam responded with a lawsuit, charging that immigration could not continue to detain him because it was unlikely that Bangladesh would take him back. In the lawsuit, he pointedly noted that the consulate appeared to be dodging the immigration agent’s calls.
Islam’s lawsuit made public a host of immigration documents that are normally kept secret. The documents revealed both immigration officials’ concerns that Islam is dangerous and their frustrating attempts to contact the Bangladeshis.
But there is no evidence in the file that immigration officials requested an immigration court hearing to determine if they could continue to hold him as a threat to public safety.
Instead, the records show that on Oct. 3, 2011, immigration officials gave up and released Islam.
Readers, I think you can already guess what is coming. Seven weeks later…..
Seven weeks later, Islam was at Lois Decker’s door.
Everyone loved the retired school lunch lady, a friendly 73-year-old grandmother who taught Sunday school and lived her whole life in Hillsdale, N.Y., a rural hamlet just across the border from the Massachusetts line. Decker raised five children, but she lived alone in the house her daughter bought for her on Cold Water Street.
Sheriff’s deputies say they are unsure what drew Islam to Decker’s house that day, but family members said she had planned to rent out an apartment in the basement. Islam had a construction job in the Berkshires.
Hours after Islam visited Decker’s house, police arrested him in a traffic stop in a nearby city. He had stolen Decker’s white Hyundai, crashed it, and then tried to steal the truck of good Samaritans who had stopped to help him. He finally stole yet another truck, but did not get far. When police arrested him, he was spattered with blood, and had Decker’s credit card in the truck.
Sheriff’s deputies discovered a gruesome scene at Lois Decker’s house. The woman had been strangled, court records showed, and her face and throat were slashed. Officials found Islam’s semen on a sheet in the house, though officials did not find bodily evidence that Decker was sexually assaulted.
There is more, please read the whole article but be forewarned it is graphic and the information about how many violent (mentally ill?) immigrants we are releasing because their home countries won’t take them back is bad enough, but add to that the fact that ICE is keeping all this secret from us is too horrible to comprehend.
Reporter Sacchetti should get a Pulitzer Prize!