There are nearly 300 so called “sanctuary cities” in the U.S. Laws in these cities help shield illegal immigrants from deportation, even after they've committed felonies.
Full Measure found the problem of the U.S. as a Sanctuary for Crime is much larger, and often understated by politicians and advocates with special interests at stake.
Laura Wilkerson: He had been bound up with, like, 13 ropes from here to here, through his back belt loop, through his hands and his feet, like an animal.
Laura Wilkerson is recounting the final hours of her son Josh. He had given a ride home to Hermilo Moralez, a high school classmate and illegal immigrant with an arrest record.
Wilkerson: He hit him so hard in the stomach that it made his spleen go into the spine and it sliced it in two. Then, he tortured him by strangling him then, he put him in a field and he set his body on fire.
Josh is among thousands of victims of undocumented foreigners who committed crimes on U.S. soil and then, through policy failures, loopholes or mistakes were set free to carry out more crimes.
Sharyl Attkisson: Do you think that the problem of illegal immigrants who commit crimes in this country is bigger than some people know?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): I think that it is greater than what we think.
Senator Grassley began investigating after cases like Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez. In 2013, he was mistakenly granted amnesty under President Obama's executive action. His gang membership and previous drug arrest should have excluded him.
In February, Rangel-Hernandez was charged with killing four people in a North Carolina murder spree. One of the victims was a former contestant on America's Next Top Model.
Sen. Grassley: You've got an administration that thinks more highly of their interest in protecting undocumented workers than there is enforcing the law and in the process of making that decision, violating their constitutional oath to faithfully execute the laws of this country.
Full Measure spoke with families of five victims, who said politics and political correctness have forced their personal tragedies into the shadows while shielding criminals.
Don Rosenberg: Especially in San Francisco, they become a protected class. Whatever they do, they get away with.
Rosenberg's son, Drew was on his way home from law school in San Francisco when he was run over and killed by an illegal immigrant.
Roberto Galo had been caught five months earlier driving the wrong way down a street with no license or insurance. He kept driving, unlicensed, until the day he killed Drew.
It was less than three miles from where an illegal immigrant allegedly shot Kate Steinle in July. Drew's case, five years before, wasn't featured on national news.
Sharyl: Do you all feel after what happened to your loved ones that there's, in some instances, almost a black out in the media and elsewhere
Sabine Durden: Yes.
Wilkerson: Oh yeah.
Sharyl: ...discussing the issue of illegal immigrants?
Rosenberg: I don't feel it. It is.
Durden: We know it. We know it.
Sabine Durden's only child, Dominic, was a 911 dispatcher. He was driving his motorcycle to work in 2012 when he was hit by an illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet.
Durden: He had a prior felony conviction, then he had a DUI. And he got put on probation with a DUI even though he had no license, no insurance, and no registration. So then he had another DUI while he was on probation for the first DUI.
Two months later he was still driving without a license when he killed Dominic.
Sharyl: Have people looked at you as if you're some sort of prejudiced person
Durden: Of course.
Sharyl: because of speaking out on behalf of your loss?
Durden: I've been called a racist, and then I show them the picture of Dominic. Dominic was half black. What else you got? Can't call me a racist. Then they come with their ‘anti-immigration’ and then I share with them that I became a citizen. I immigrated here.
It's not easy to find how often illegal immigrants commit serious crimes in the U.S., the federal government doesn't publicize the numbers. Senator Grassley demanded them from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. What he got was astonishing.
In 2013 and 2014 alone, ICE set loose 66,565 illegal immigrant criminals who had 166,877 convictions; 30,000 for drunk or drugged driving, 414 kidnappings, 11,301 rapes or other types of assaults, and 395 homicides.
Already, thousands of those criminals have been convicted of new crimes in the U.S., including felonies and gang offenses, since their release.
Mesa, Arizona police officer Brandon Mendoza witnessed the revolving door firsthand.
Mary Ann Mendoza: It would be very disheartening for him to feel that, 'the guy I just stopped tonight was a guy I stopped two months ago, mom, he's back.
Criminals like Raul Silva-Corona, who lived illegally in the U.S. for twenty years while committing crimes like burglary, assault and leaving the scene of an accident.
911 Dispatcher: 911, what is your emergency?
911 Caller: Yeah, there’s a guy going southbound on the northbound lane on the 51. He’s going 80, 90 miles an hour.
On Mother's Day last year, Silva-Corona got drunk and high on meth, drove 31 miles the wrong way on freeways, and ran head-on into Officer Mendoza's car, killing them both.
Mendoza: I was furious. And especially when I found out that he had committed crimes previously and had been allowed to stay in our country and had not been punished for anything that he had done.
By ICE's count, illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, then released, went on to commit 121 more homicides in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014.
Mike Ronnebeck: My nephew was number 122.
Mike Ronnebeck's 21-year old nephew Grant was clerking on the graveyard shift at a Mesa, Arizona convenience store in January when he was attacked, allegedly by an illegal immigrant with an arrest record.
That record included burglary, sexual assault and kidnapping - charges he pled down to felony burglary and probation.
Ronnebeck: The crime that this illegal alien committed was to burglarize a woman in her house, holding her hostage for a week, naked, threatening her. Day 792 of this man waiting for his bond hearing or his deportation hearing, he killed my nephew Grant. The man shot him point blank in the face, killing him.
In part two, Full Measure will hear from the head of ICE, and an ICE agent who details the frustrations of his job.