Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Smith and Aderholt to DHS: Provide Information on Backdoor Amnesty

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2011
Contact: Jessica Baker (Smith), (202) 225 3951
Anne Marie Malecha (Aderholt), (202) 225-4876
Smith and Aderholt to DHS: Provide Information on Backdoor Amnesty

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting information and documents about the development of the administration’s backdoor amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The letter follows the Obama administration’s recent decision to create a new deportation policy that could open the door to allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.  Specifically, political appointees at DHS have announced that they will review illegal immigrants in removal proceedings with a final order of removal and consider allowing them to stay in the U.S. 
In addition to this letter, Chairmen Smith and Aderholt wrote to the Obama administration expressing serious reservations about Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) new guidance directing reckless use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement. 

Below are excerpts from the letter.

“The Department of Homeland Security announced that it will initiate a ‘case-by-case review’ of removal cases of aliens already placed in proceedings and ensure that ‘appropriate discretionary consideration’ be given to ‘compelling cases with final orders of removal.’ In addition to our concerns about the administration’s apparent abandonment of immigration enforcement, we also have significant concerns about how this new policy was developed.  Accordingly, we write to request information and documents about the development and operation of these new policies. 
“This announcement by DHS seemingly represents the culmination of the administration’s plans to shield millions of illegal immigrants from removal.  The initial release on June 17 of two memos by ICE took the historically unprecedented step of relying on ‘prosecutorial discretion’ to justify the abandonment of immigration enforcement against millions of illegal immigrants deemed a ‘low priority.’  … Now, DHS has expanded this policy to cover not only individuals already charged with violating the immigration laws and placed in removal proceedings, but even to illegal immigrants who already have final orders of removal.

“This new policy is a perversion of our immigration laws … The Obama administration again chooses to ignore immigration laws under the guise of prosecutorial discretion.  Despite the administration’s claims that there is nothing new with respect to this policy, it represents a drastic and unprecedented shift. 

“Ultimately, these memos may allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States in violation of existing law and regulations and compete with unemployed American and legal immigrant workers for scarce jobs.  In the current environment, this effect is unconscionable.”


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