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Anger over S.F. mass-killing suspect's deportation snafu

March 27, 2012 |  2:00 pm

Binh Thai LucAs authorities continue to investigate the background of the suspect in the slaying of five San Francisco residents, lawmakers are calling for legislation that would allow for the lengthier detention of criminal immigrants who cannot be repatriated.

Binh Thai Luc, 35, of San Francisco was arrested Sunday and is being held without bond in connection with the murder of five people discovered in an Ingleside district home.

On Monday, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that Luc had been taken into custody in August 2006 but had to be released six months later after Vietnamese authorities declined to provide appropriate travel documents for his deportation.

In response to the developments, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released a statement Tuesday morning calling attention to the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, a bill he introduced in May.

Under certain conditions, the bill would allow the Department of Homeland Security to detain “as long as necessary” immigrants deemed to be criminals who cannot be deported to their native countries. The proposed law allows for a review of an alien’s detention every six months, but as a convicted felon, officials said Luc likely would have remained in custody since his release from prison in 2006.  

“Just because a criminal immigrant cannot be returned to their home country does not mean they should be freed into our communities,” Smith said in a statement. “Dangerous criminal immigrants need to be detained.”

A judiciary committee spokeswoman said the bill was approved by the committee in July and now awaits floor consideration.

The federal effort follows a Florida law that allows judges to deny bail to violent criminals who commit a felony while on probation. The Officer Andrew Widman Act was named for a police officer who was shot and killed by a Cuban immigrant who was on supervised probation  in a situation similar to Luc’s.


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--Matt Stevens

Photo: Binh Thai Luc. Credit: San Francisco Police Department