Lawmakers ask DOJ why it declined to prosecute illegal immigrants previously deported with criminal conviction

Four California House Republicans are demanding to know why federal prosecutions of illegal immigrants with a criminal conviction and deportation declined significantly in one Justice Department office, after they were caught illegally re-entering the U.S.

In a letter dated Tuesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the congressional lawmakers noted that more than 7 million people have crossed the southern border illegally into the U.S. since President Biden took office.

“Some of these illegal immigrants are convicted criminals who pose a serious threat to the safety and well-being of our communities,” states the letter signed by U.S. Reps. Ken Calvert, John Duarte, Michelle Steel and Jay Obernolte.


The four lawmakers are asking the DOJ to provide information on the number of prosecutions for previously deported illegal immigrants convicted of crimes while in the U.S., and information on prosecutorial guidelines for previously deported illegal immigrants.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the DOJ.

California state Rep. Bill Essayli spent four years prosecuting cases for the Justice Department in the Central District of California, which covers several counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Many prosecutors cut their teeth on those types of cases where a suspect was previously deported after committing a crime in the U.S. and then crosses back into the U.S. illegally, which is a felony, Essayli told Fox News Digital.

“The law is clear that these are felonies and should be prosecuted,” he said.

He said court records revealed that prosecutors in his old office went from prosecuting hundreds of such cases in previous years to just five in 2023.


“A lot of prosecutors, they lean left, and they don’t like these cases, and they find them annoying and a burden,” he said.

Calvert blamed the number of illegal crossings on Biden’s border policies, which have come under heavy criticism by Republicans.

“The blatant disregard of our federal laws by illegal immigrants and the lack of enforcement by our nation’s court system is just another example of President Biden’s open-border policies that have created the humanitarian and national security crisis we see at the border and in every community across the country,” he said in a statement.


“These are the bad guys. This isn’t the migrant who’s coming here to work on a farm,” he said. “This is a convicted criminal. There’s no question about it… and the government is allowing to roam freely inside the United States knowing that they have a criminal record.”

“These are the most dangerous people and that is who this U.S. attorney’s office is allowing to walk free,” he said.

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