A group of Republican Senate Judiciary Committee members are pressing Jeh Johnson — President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security — on the current problems afflicting the department and immigration system.
In a letter to Johnson, dispatched Friday and obtained by The Daily Caller, the senators request answers to more than 55 detailed and diverse questions focused largely on immigration.
“At your confirmation hearing, you stated that, ‘[I]f confirmed, I will work to implement all legislation enacted into law,’ the letter reads. “While we may have different views than President Obama on how to reform our immigration system, we have all repeatedly expressed our strong disapproval of the refusal of this administration — and DHS in particular — to enforce our immigration laws, contradicting duly enacted federal law through administrative orders and internal memoranda.
“These actions have eroded the rule of law and undermined Americans’ confidence in their government. We hope you will commit to discontinuing these lawless policies if confirmed,” the letter, signed by every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — except South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake — reads.
The lengthy letter presses Johnson on general issues facing DHS and his nomination — “Do you find any of former Secretary Janet Napolitano’s actions, or current DHS policies, to be objectionable ” — but focuses largely on immigration matters and the administration’s failure to fully enforce current immigration law and dysfunction within the department — “Can you please describe, in detail, how you would restore vigorous enforcement of the public charge law to protect taxpayers, including what efforts you would undertake to reduce noncitizen enrollment in means-tested welfare programs.”
Like Napolitano, Johnson — the former Pentagon general council and advisor to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — will likely play a significant role in the nation’s immigration policy and any upcoming reforms to the system.
Five of the senators who put their names on the letter to Johnson — Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — voted against the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill in June. The sixth, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, voted for it.