Politics

Goodlatte responds to immigration officers: Judiciary Committee has looked into DHS, will continue to

Responding to a call for investigations into the Obama White House’s handling of immigration enforcement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte says his committee will continue to keep a close eye on the administration.

In recent weeks immigration officers unions have called on the House to investigate the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to enforce immigration law.

Chris Crane, president of the National ICE Council and Kenneth Palinkas, president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Council, say that before lawmakers move forward with immigration reform they should first look into the abuses and politicization of the agency charged with enforcing immigration law.

“[W]e are urging all lawmakers to demand an investigation of DHS before moving immigration bills,” Crane wrote in an letter to members of Congress Monday. “ICE officers are being ordered by DHS political appointees to ignore the law. Violent criminal aliens are released every day from jails back into American communities. ICE Officers face disciplinary action for engaging in routine law enforcement actions. We are barred from enforcing large sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, even when public safety is at risk.”

“Officer morale is devastated. Our agency‘s managers answer to special interests and not to Congress,” he continued. “No reform can succeed as long as this or any other administration can choose to ignore Congress and violate the law with impunity.”

In response to the call for an investigation, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte’s office told The Daily Caller that the Judiciary Committee has already held two hearings on immigration enforcement this year — one on Feb. 5, in which Crane testified, and another on March 19.

“President Obama has abused his executive power by refusing to enforce our immigration laws. Any successful immigration reform needs to take away the enforcement ‘on/off’ switch from the President and guarantee that our laws will be enforced. That is why the first bill the House Judiciary Committee approved was the SAFE Act,” Goodlatte said in an emailed statement Friday. “This bill prevents present and future administrations from turning off federal immigration enforcement efforts unilaterally by granting states and local governments the authority to enforce federal immigration laws.”

“The House Judiciary Committee has conducted rigorous oversight on the Obama Administration’s lack of immigration enforcement and will continue to do so,” he added. “Without effective immigration enforcement, our immigration system will remain broken.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on the Budget did not respond to request for comment.

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