“I know you earlier had indicated that you are not favorable to sweeps of businesses who have people in large numbers working illegally. We’ve got approximately 8 million people who are illegally in the country working today, and we have a substantial amount of unemployment in our country. These are matters that need clear leadership from you.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered the following opening statement today at the Committee’s oversight hearing for the Department of Homeland Security with Secretary Janet Napolitano:
“Thank you, Madam Secretary, we’re delighted to have you with us.
“You lead, next to the Defense Department, the largest agency. It has a host of departments and agencies that have different heritages, and you have the challenge of melding them together into an effective group. That takes years and determined leadership. I know you’re focused on that, and you have to be, because it’s essential, and the whole purpose of creating Homeland Security was to gain better cooperation, better cohesion, better effectiveness. I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize how many decisions you have to make and how many spats you have to assuage to keep that department going well.
“I do remain concerned about a number of issues. I’ll just mention two that I’ll be asking you about. One deals with what your agents’ understanding is with regard to the potential arrest of a terrorist somewhere in the United States or entering the United States. Are they going to be treated as civilian criminals, and will they be provided with a panoply of rights such as Miranda and court-appointed and funded attorneys? What is the policy? There’s some confusion, it seems to me, and I believe we’ve got to get this clear. I believe it would be a big mistake if we treat these individuals as normal criminals, entitled to the appointment of a lawyer, entitled not to speak, and not to be taken to military custody if they meet those standards, so I hope we can work on that.
“I remain concerned about our border. The violence is, as you know, increasing, and it’s a serious threat to law-abiding people in Arizona and other places along our Southern border. The power of these drug cartels is very real, the power of the coyotes who bring people in illegally is real, and it’s got to be confronted in a very serious way.
“I would note that a lot of people might not recognize how much progress has been made in the last, say, 10 years. In 2000, 1.6 million people were arrested at the border. Last year, I understand a little over half a million were arrested at the border. That indicates, I believe, that the flow is down. It might not be a perfect proof of that, but I do believe it does indicate that the number of people attempting to enter the country is down.
“The question to me is, How do we follow up on that and create a lawful immigration flow into our country that serves our national interest, that is consistent with the rule of law, and that allows people who want to enter a proper process to enter—and if they don’t qualify, they don’t get to come in illegally.
“So a couple of things I have concerns about.
“I understand in February of this year, Jim Chaparro, the ICE Detentions and Removal Operations director, authored a memo that encouraged the Administration to step up their deportation efforts. It started by noting that ICE had removed 56,000 criminal aliens from the U.S. as of February 15, 2010. However, the memo went on to detail that the pace of removal was insufficient to meet the Agency’s Fiscal Year 2010 goals of 400,000 total deportations. As a result, the memo suggests a number of steps to achieve that goal, such as increased detention space, increased sweeps or removals of people from jails around the country (to identify aliens who should be removed), increased efforts to identify aliens eligible for expedited removal, and increased focus on identifying aliens who had been dishonest in immigration forms and visa applications.
“I think he should have been commended for making recommendations for progress. Instead, it appears that, when the Washington Post reported that the Administration might intensify deportation efforts for those who’d entered illegally, the Administration issued a statement saying they had no intention to do so.
“I know you earlier had indicated that you are not favorable to sweeps of businesses who have people in large numbers working illegally. We’ve got approximately 8 million people who are illegally in the country working today, and we have a substantial amount of unemployment in our country. These are matters that need clear leadership from you.
“I’m glad to see in your testimony that you expect increased support for state and local law enforcement. Maybe we’ll also talk about the Arizona law and precisely what you disagree with on that. That’s certainly one thing we need to be doing.
“But I was disappointed that hear that the Administration’s plan is to make it tougher for state and local agencies to assist in enforcing our immigration laws through the 287(g) program. State and local agencies are now prohibited from asking aliens about their legal status, and in most cases they are required to release individuals who are here illegally, because the Administration does not want to fill up immigration detention space with minor offenders.
“So we’ve got a real challenge. I’ve always believed that state and local law enforcement, in the normal course of their duties, who apprehend people who are not lawfully in the country, should turn those people over to federal officials, and they should be processed. I’ve not felt, and not advocated, that they should take the primary role in immigration enforcement. But I do believe that it indicates a lack of commitment to enforcing our immigration laws when we basically tell local law enforcement, ‘Even if you know you’ve apprehended someone here illegally, nothing is going to be done about it.’
“Those and other questions will be important for our discussion today.
“You have a big challenge. I would say with regard to immigration, a decline in numbers puts us on a path to make dramatic improvements—continued dramatic improvements—in immigration enforcement. We’ve got to get away from the virtual fence, complete the fencing that we’re required to do, make sure we have enough people at the border to enforce the law. If we do that, I think people will be surprised how much continued progress we could make.
“And it’s only in doing that that we’ll be able to have a decent and good discussion about what to do about people who have been in our country for a long time.”
Click to view image: 'sessions'
In: Iran, News
Tags: napolitano, Sessions, congress, senate, government, illegal, immigration, jobs, unemployment, amnesty, homeland security, ICE, border, patrol, BP, invaders, SB-1070
Marked as: approved
Views: 5632 | Comments: 11 | Votes: 2 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
|Liveleak on Facebook|