03.10.23

Lankford, Thune, Colleagues Want to Close Loophole That Blocks Deportation of Violent Criminals

WASHINGTON, DC — Senators James Lankford (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC), And Jerry Moran (R-KS) recently reintroduced the Reverse Entry for Migrant Offenders and Violence Expulsion (REMOVE) Act, legislation that would close a loophole that currently allows noncitizens including illegal immigrants convicted of kidnapping or sexual assault to remain in the United States.

“The Biden Administration is apparently struggling to decide whether sex crimes are violent crimes. Their new rules on what constitute ‘violent crimes’ are designed to limit the number of people that could be deported, including some sex offenders found guilty of sex crimes while in our nation illegally,” said Lankford. “Every Oklahoman believes that an illegal immigrant who is a kidnapper or commits sexual assault should be deported. I am mortified that the Biden Administration even has a question about whether all sex offenders should be deported. The answer is yes, of course they should. Sex crimes are violent crimes and should lead to immediate deportation for those found guilty.”

“Illegal immigrants, especially those who commit heinous crimes such as kidnapping or sexual assault, cannot be allowed to remain in our country,” said Thune. “These are inherently violent crimes, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our kids and grandkids are safe in our communities. I’m proud to lead this common-sense legislation that would close an egregious loophole that permits criminals to stay in our country.”

“Dangerous criminals are taking advantage of our open border, and many stay in the United States regardless if they’ve been convicted of a crime,” said Tillis. “This legislation closes the loophole in current law and removes any illegal immigrant who is convicted of crimes such as kidnapping or sexual assault.”

“Denying entry to migrants convicted of violent crimes is necessary to help keep our communities safe,” said Moran. “This legislation will make certain that criminals with these records are kept out of the United States."

Over the years, portions of the federal criminal code have been ruled to be unconstitutionally vague by the Supreme Court. Criminal defendants have successfully sought relief from long sentences on the grounds that the statutory definitions of their crimes gave insufficient notice of their actions’ consequences. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Sessions v. Dimaya that a residual or “catchall” provision of the criminal code (18 USC § 16(b)) incorporated into the Immigration and Nationality Act was unconstitutionally vague. The result in Sessions v. Dimaya was that a noncitizen criminal defendant convicted under 16(b) could not be deported, which the REMOVE Act seeks to correct.

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