A new report this week about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) releasing some 68,000 illegals with criminal records back into their respective communities has many asking, how many are in our community?

Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressional reports indicate some 68,000 illegals suspected of committing crimes above and beyond traffic infractions were caught by ICE and other immigration authorities, but were let go.   It's the "catch-and-release" practice that has escalated dramatically during the Obama Administration.

It's been difficult to obtain hard numbers and data, in part because of the very fluid numbers of illegals, and the lack of tracking.   According to a Fox News report filed in 2010 by Dan Springer,   he details the infamous case in Franklin County over Gregorio Luna Luna, who was originally deported after being charged with beating up his girlfriend.   He slipped back over the border, and killed her three weeks later, May 1, 2010 in front of their five-year-old son.    He was caught and jailed. In 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.  But for current, up to the minute data,  it doesn't really exist.

According to the Washington State Patrol's Most Wanted list,  approximately 23 of the 32 persons listed are believed to be illegals.  The crimes they are wanted for include mostly vehicle-related felonies;  DUI, with numerous injuries and fatalities to passengers or other drivers involved.  The list includes suspects wanted for incidents near Mattawa, Quincy, Granger, and other areas of Adams and Grant County.

Washington state ranks 11th nationally in illegal immigrant population,  according to a 2010 slate.com study,  3.4% of the state's population is estimated to be illegals.   According to data from the ICE official website, in 2013 there were 10 cases investigated in Washington state that resulted in prosecutions and convictions.  About half involved foreign citizens and drug related cases, but it did not specify if they were illegal aliens.

The WA state criminal records we looked at from a variety of law enforcement agencies do not offer breakdowns of crimes committed by known illegals.     Much of the difficulty in tracking such crimes often comes from the suspects using fake identities, and a lack of verifiable back round details.  Much of what we find out comes later after apprehensions, investigations and then prosecutions if they happen.  Many other states have such data but we could not specifically find it for Washington.

It appears in our region,  the majority of the incidents committed by illegals involve DUI accidents or drug and alcohol related crimes.  Most of the time, as seen by the WSP Most Wanted list,  these suspects never show up in court, many are believed to have fled the country and are often "lost" for years -never to be found.

While Senator Sessions and federal officials indicated the 68K illegals with criminal offenses were released, there's really no way of knowing yet when and where these releases occurred.  But from all the data we've combed through, that practice is not being done in our state or Mid-Columbia, rather, law enforcement are doing whatever they can to apprehend and detain criminals regardless of their immigration status.