Almost half of the illegal aliens arriving in the U.S. from terrorist-sponsoring or “special interest” nations in the past few years have been released into the American population following their apprehension. This key finding is published in an internal audit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) obtained by Cybercast News Service.

The so-called “catch and release” policies have allowed more than 45,000 illegal aliens from countries that are well known for their anti-American views or considered “hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism” to be freed.

U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), in conversations with sheriffs operating along the Texas-Mexico border, learned that illegal aliens of Middle Eastern descent have been able to blend into the culture south of the U.S. border and pass themselves off as Mexicans.

“They learn Spanish and assimilate into the population,” Poe said. “Coming across the Canadian border they would be more conspicuous.”

The U.S. State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSTs), currently includes five countries — Syria, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Sudan. However, the DHS audit lists another category called Special Interest Countries (SICs).

At the moment there is no public list of SICs, however, information made available through the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) indicates that countries with large Islamic fundamentalist populations such as the U.S.-liberated Afghanistan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, are included on the State Department’s SIC list.

Between the beginning of Fiscal Year 2001 and the mid-way point of Fiscal Year 2005, the DHS audit revealed that 605,210 individuals from countries “other than Mexico” (OTMs) were apprehended and 309,733 of that total were eventually released.

A total of 91,516 illegal aliens from SST and SIC countries were apprehended over the same time period and 45,008 were released, the audit showed.

The audit was produced by the DHS Office of Inspector General and focuses on the Detention and Removal Program, which is operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE). The audit was produced in April, but when completed in May, it “was made public on a Friday night with no press release,” said Connie Hair, a spokeswoman for the group of citizen volunteers committed to fighting illegal immigration known as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

The audit report, Hair said, “was buried in an obscure corner of the DHS website,” and discovered only as a result of her group’s research.

The Detention and Removal Program (DRO) anticipates over 600,000 foreign-born individuals will be incarcerated in state correctional facilities during Fiscal Year 2007. Current estimates show that at least half of these criminal aliens — 300,000 — will be released or removed due to a lack of resources, according to the DHS audit.

The DHS audit pointed to a number of factors, in addition to funding shortages that are responsible for “catch and release.”

It cites the “propensity of illegal aliens to disobey court orders to appear in immigration court” and “the penchant of released illegal aliens with final orders to abscond.”

Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions also mandate the release of criminal aliens and even “high risk aliens” 180 days after the issuance of the final removal order. Finally, the report states that some countries “block” the repatriation of their citizens.

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