According to a newly-released report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the Department of Homeland Security caught and later released 68,000 illegal immigrants who had previously been convicted of a crime. [1] The report, based on data from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), finds that the Obama Administration released these convicts back into the general population instead of deporting them.

The CIS report comes on the heels of additional analysis from Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama that found 98 percent of immigrants deported in 2013 were either criminals, had been deported already before, or were apprehended while trying to illegally cross the border. [2] What’s more, only 0.2 percent of the 12 million immigrants who were placed in the deportation process in 2013 did not have a violent or criminal record.

The rule of law should apply in all areas of public policy. When the law is purposely and habitually ignored – as is common in the current administration – Americans suffer. Immigration policy is currently regulated at the federal level and this is a perfect example of how badly they are dropping the ball. When the current administration looks the other way, and indeed, seems to encourage illegal immigration, there’s a problem.

Groups like the AFL-CIO are constantly pressuring President Obama to protect illegal immigrants from deportation. They argue that immigrants, who may be protected under possible, future legislation that may provide a pathway to citizenship, deserve the protection of the federal government today. Obama already did some form of that unilaterally – without the consent of Congress – in 2012 when he stopped the deportation of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants by placing them into a deferred-action program. [3]

The new CIS report, however, undercuts claims by the AFL-CIO and other Democrats who argue that while President Obama carries out the law, more humane policies are needed. But what’s more “humane” than releasing illegal immigrants with criminal records back into the general population in cities like San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Houston, Phoenix and New York? What kind of message does it send to the American people when the White House would rather bend the rules for illegal immigrants, than err on the side of protecting American citizens and upholding the rule of law? It’s time for the lawlessness to stop.