Sen. Ted Cruz questioned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about illegal immigration on Tuesday.
Family members of victims of crimes committed by immigrants illegally in the country testified at the hearing, including Jim Steinle, the father of Kate Steinle, who was recently murdered by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco, a sanctuary city.
“Ms. Saldaña, I will note in your opening statement here, you said after listening to the victims’ families you were so sorry for their losses, and yet the Obama administration keeps doing it,” Cruz, R-Texas, said:
“When I asked you how many murderers were released yesterday, you don’t know. There is a reason the American people are upset. If President Obama had the courage of his convictions, he would come and look in the eyes of these men and women who have lost their sons, their daughters, their mothers, their sisters, their brothers, and the administration would stop releasing murderers and rapists.”
Cruz asked Saldaña how many “criminal illegal aliens” the Obama administration released in 2013.
Saldaña responded with the 2014 figure: “a little over 30,000.”
Cruz pointed out her error.
“When I asked you how many criminals ICE released in 2013, you were off by a factor of three,” Cruz said. “You said 30,000. The correct answer is 104,000.”
Saldaña said that the number “went down from 2013.”
“But you’re omitting the 68,000 criminal illegal aliens that ICE did not begin deportation proceedings against at all. You’ve got to add both of those together. It’s over 100,000,” Cruz responded.
“Yes sir,” Saldaña said. “That’s absolutely right.”
Cruz said that of the 104,000 immigrants in the country illegally who were released into the public in 2013, 193 had been convicted of homicide, 426 had been convicted of sexual assault and more than 16,000 had been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
During the hearing, Cruz said he introduced the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015, or “Kate’s Law,” in the Senate to coincide with legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz.
Kate’s Law would establish a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for anyone who commits an “illegal reentry offense.”
During the hearing, Jim Steinle said that “we feel if Kate’s Law saves one daughter, one son, a mother, a father, Kate’s death won’t be in vain.”
“Unfortunately, due to disjointed laws and basic incompetence on many levels, the U.S. has suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person that should have never been on the streets of this country,” said Steinle.