House debating bill that would allow US to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes

Should immigrants who’ve committed serious crimes while in the U.S. illegally be deported back to their home countries? It’s a question Congress debated on Capitol Hill Wednesday. 

Right now, there’s a nationwide backlog in those cases, including in the D.C. area.

House Resolution 7334 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make sure that people who came into the country illegally and committed specific crimes like driving under the influence, evading arrest, robbery and other crimes are deported, so they can’t re-offend here.

The legislation is sponsored by California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock who told the House Judiciary Committee today that not only is not deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes endangering American citizens, it’s also harming the undocumented residents who themselves often wind up as victims. 

"The Biden administration has removed nearly 60% fewer criminal aliens with criminal convictions and criminal charges than the Trump administration did in 2019, despite a 153% increase in illegal immigration," McClintock said.

But some Democrats argue the law goes too far.

RELATED: Maryland police chase suspect arrested after stealing tow truck

"Long-time residents who’ve otherwise obeyed but for their manner of entering the United States should not be subject to mandatory detention under this law, sadly people are arrested for crimes they did not commit far more often than we’d like to admit," said House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas.

The hearing follows a wild beltway car chase last month that led to the arrest of Cesar Flavio Lanuza. 

He’s accused of stealing a Maryland state highway truck, crashing into cars and evading police. ICE tells FOX 5 that the suspect is a Nicaraguan citizen in the U.S. illegally. 

Ira Melman of the Federation of American Immigration Reform says it’s clear deportation laws for criminals aren't working.

"You have jurisdictions all across the country creating sanctuary policies that shield illegal aliens so we should routinely have people removed from the country who’ve come to the attention of law enforcement and have committed other crimes," Mehlman said.

Montgomery County officials have pledged to work with ICE on detainers moving forward. 

FOX 5 reached out to the pro-immigration group Casa Wednesday for a statement but the organization said they had no one to comment.