Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Tuesday that he has sent a letter to President Barack Obama questioning the administration’s immigration policies, which he says favor people who have broken the law.
“The administration has repeatedly ignored and dismissed our reservations with its policies that circumvent Congress and provide a safe-haven for illegal immigrants,” Grassley said in a statement on the letter. “Its policies ignore the rule of law and take the powers provided to the administration to an entirely new level.”
Grassley and 18 other Republican senators cited a June 17th Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memorandum that called for “increased prosecutorial discretion,” as well as Secretary Janet Napolitano’s August 18th initiative that they say could “result in the administrative closure of an untold number of [immigration] cases.”
“[T]hese new policies send the message that your administration is turning a blind eye to those who have broken our immigration laws,” the senators wrote in the letter sent Monday. “We are also concerned that these policies appear to be a direct attempt to categorically legalize those who are unlawfully in the country and to allow undocumented individuals to remain in violation of the law without fear of apprehension or deportation.”
The senators further requested that the administration rescind the initiatives, order the Department of Homeland Security to adhere to current law, and make Napolitano available to the Senate for questioning about her department’s immigration policies.
“Finally, we reiterate our strong commitment to ensuring that the administration has all of the resources it needs to carry out and enforce our immigration laws,” they concluded. “It is unjustifiable for the administration to sidestep Congress to implement policies that are contrary to the law and the wishes of the American people. We look forward to your timely response. ”
In addition to Grassley, Senators David Vitter of Louisiana, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, James E. Risch of Idaho, Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Lee of Utah, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin all signed the letter.
Federal immigration policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Senate Judiciary Committee.