Keep Our Communities Safe Act prevents tragedies

Abel Arango served time in prison for armed robbery. Since Cuba wouldn't take him back, he was released. He then went on to shoot Ft. Myers, Florida police officer Andrew Widman in the face. Officer Widman never had the opportunity to draw his weapon. The husband and father of three died at the scene.

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There is no reason to needlessly place American lives at risk. Congress has the power to fix this problem and protect citizens and legal immigrants from senseless tragedies. In fact, the Supreme Court invited Congress to legislate in this area and clarify the circumstances under which extended detention is permissible.

The Keep Our Communities Safe Act accepts the Supreme Court’s invitation and will keep dangerous criminal immigrants off of streets. Contrary to Ms. Murphy’s claim, the bill only specifies that a small segment of criminal immigrants may be detained for extended periods. These individuals include dangerous criminal immigrants and individuals who are threats to national security. And their cases can be reviewed every six months.

One of the most fundamental responsibilities of the federal government is to protect its citizens. We cannot continue to let dangerous criminal immigrants slip through the cracks of our legal justice system. While we are too late to prevent some tragedies, Congress can act now to prevent others from happening. 

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.