Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told The Daily Caller that “sovereign” countries refusing to accept the repatriation of citizens who committed crimes while residing in the United States illegally should face “real problems” with the federal government.
Watch the interview:
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“If they’ve entered our country illegally from theirs, you’ve got to take them back and if you’re unwilling to take them back then I think that seriously jeopardizes whatever relationship we have with whatever country it is,” Ridge, who has endorsed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, told TheDC after the GOP presidential debate on Tuesday.
“If you’ve got an illegal coming in from a sovereign country and they won’t take them back, then I think you’ll have real problems with the United States,” he said.
Florida Republican Rep. Sandy Adams is demanding answers from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been unable to point to any cases where the U.S. enforced existing law requiring the government to stop issuing visas to individuals from countries that refuse to take their citizens back from the U.S. After a six-month detention period, such illegal immigrants are released into U.S. communities.
“If [Napolitano] doesn’t use what we have given her, this Congress and past congresses with a statutory ability, 243(d), then what she is doing is she is releasing criminals back into the streets who have committed crimes and they’re going back into our American communities, our hometowns and they’re committing really horrible crimes,” Adams told TheDC on Nov. 4.
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Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania, also said the GOP presidential candidates should prioritize advocating for defending the border.
“You’re going to have to accept the reality, you’re not going to deport 14 million people. Then you’re going to have to pick and choose how you deal with them,” Ridge said.
“I think under President Bush when I was Secretary, we had 8,000. He built it up and now over the past several years, there are over 18,000 Customs and Border Protection agents on the border. Frankly, I think they’re doing a far better job than they’ve been given credit for. The apprehensions are significant.”
He added, “this country doesn’t have an immigration policy generally, as highlighted a little bit in the debate tonight.”