The Obama administration’s failure to respond to congressional inquiries seeking information about refugees convicted of terrorism demonstrates its disrespect for Congress and the American people, according to Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions.
During a Senate Judiciary immigration subcommittee hearing held this week, the Alabama lawmaker pressed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez on the agency’s failure to respond to four letters asking about the refugee, terrorism nexus.
“Are you not aware that I have written four letters to the Department, asking for information on how many refugees have been convicted of criminal and terrorist activities?” Sessions asked.
Rodríguez responded that he was “not” and would follow up on the matter, a response to which Sessions replied with outrage.
“This is absolutely breathtaking, it is a total disrespect to this body, who is in charge of giving you money to run your business. We should quit giving you money if you don’t respond and you don’t know basic things. Let me just tell you in August 12 I sent a letter to that effect, December 3 of ’15, January 11 of 2016 and in June of this year. So frustrated was I that I wrote to the president” he said.
Rodríguez said that Sessions was entitled to answers and that he would follow up.
“To me, it indicates the determination to promote an agenda without listening to the American people, without listening to their elected representatives, and to downplay and misrepresent, really, the danger that this program presents,” Sessions said.
Rodríguez responded to Sessions’ scolds by reminding the senator that USCIS is not funded by the taxpayers but rather by fees. The Alabama lawmaker took umbrage to the agency head’s response, saying, “So you’re not funded by the taxpayers. And so you offer, you don’t have any responsibility to the taxpayers?”
Sessions continued, “You don’t get any fees that Congress hasn’t authorized, isn’t that true?”
Rodríguez responded, ”That’s certainly true.”