U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and U.S. Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) successfully passed an amendment to H.R. 2410, Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011, to address the growing number of aliens who are under order to be removed from the United States but are delayed or refused reentry by their home country.

The Castle/Dent Amendment requires quarterly reports (or reports every 90 days) to Congress from the Secretary of Homeland Security publicly listing the countries that refuse or unreasonably delay repatriation, including information on the total number of criminal aliens in the United States. To encourage cooperation, the Secretary of Homeland Security will have the power to deny entrance to the US of those holding diplomatic visas of the offending country. Under the Amendment, the Administration retains the authority to exercise diplomatic flexibility with an affected nation in order to protect national interests.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, eight countries, including Laos, Iran, Eritrea, Vietnam, Jamaica, China, India, and Ethiopia are refusing or unreasonably delaying the repatriation of over 147,000 aliens – increased from 139,000 in February 2008. U.S. courts have ruled that our government cannot legally hold criminal aliens in custody for longer than six months following their sentence of imprisonment if their home country refuses or unreasonably delays admitting them back unless the individual is proven to be “specially dangerous.” As a result, more than 17,000 convicted criminals have been released in our communities because their home country refuses or delays repatriation.

“Releasing dangerous criminals who are under order to be removed from the US onto our streets just is not fair to our citizenry and the families and individuals who have legally immigrated to America,” Congressman Dent said. “We should not spend taxpayer dollars to remove a dangerous individual from American soil only to discover the nation refuses reentry of their citizen.”

"Incarcerating citizens of foreign nations who have committed crimes in the U.S. is a huge drain on the resources of our local law enforcement officials," said Rep. Castle. "It is my hope that by 'naming and shaming' countries which refuse or delay to repatriate convicted criminals, we will put new pressure on them to cooperate and get these individuals off our streets."
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act authorizes appropriations for the State Department, Peace Corps and other Foreign Service operations, and sets important guidelines for how the United States conducts its foreign relations. Congressmen Castle and Dent plan to continue to raise this important public safety issue in the weeks and months to come.