After 16-year-old Ashton Cline-McMurray was brutally murdered, his mother took some comfort in hearing that at least some of her son's killers would never walk American streets again.
It's the reason why Sandra Hutchinson agreed with letting the purported gang members, several of them illegal immigrants, plead guilty to lesser charges. She says the prosecutor reassured her that, after their criminal sentences were finished, those in the country illegally would be deported.
But instead of being deported to his native Cambodia, Heng is back on American streets.
"It's crazy," Hutchinson said. "They're just letting them back out there to do it to somebody else."
Heng is free in America thanks to a little-known Supreme Court decision from 2001, Zadvydas v. Davis, which forbids federal immigration authorities from detaining illegal immigrants who have been ordered deported for more than six months.
The Supreme Court carved out a few exceptions for terrorism and other cases, but in the vast majority of cases, illegal immigrants must be released after 180 days if they aren't deported, often because their home countries aren't cooperating.
"The government is releasing him because it has no choice," said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, which generally supports tougher enforcement on immigration matters. "We can't deport people unless their home country will take them back," Vaughan said.
Do you think this puts the public at risk?
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