Homeland Security Chief: 'I Don't Understand Those Who Say We Are Not Enforcing' Immigration Laws
As he paves the way for the country to further relax its immigration laws in his administrative review--like not deporting illegal immigrants who have only been convicted of "minor" crimes--President Barack Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said he could not understand why Americans, including 22 senators, would think he is not enforcing the nation's immigration laws.
"I don't understand those who say we are not enforcing the law," Johnson said in an interview that aired on ABC's This Week on Sunday. "We are enforcing the law every day."
Johnson was responding to a question from Pierre Thomas about the "blistering letter" that 22 Republican senators wrote to President Barack Obama last week that expressed "their grave concerns the changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement."
As Breitbart News has reported, the senators denounced Obama for threatening the "entire constitutional system" by "nullifying" the nations immigration laws. Johnson has met with amnesty advocates "to reportedly consider administrative actions--such as granting more forms of amnesty, not deporting illegal immigrants who have not committed major crimes, and allowing bond hearings for illegal immigrants--to further erode the nation's laws."
"Your actions demonstrate an astonishing disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, and the rights of American citizens and legal residents," the senators wrote in the letter. "Our entire constitutional system is threatened when the Executive Branch suspends the law at its whim and our nation’s sovereignty is imperiled when the commander-in-chief refuses to defend the integrity of its borders."
As the senators noted, the Obama administration since 2009 has "issued policy directives and memoranda incrementally nullifying immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States--to the point that unless individuals in the country illegally are apprehended, tried, and convicted for a felony or other serious offense, they are free to live and work in the country. "
"These policies have operated as an effective repeal of duly enacted federal immigration laws and exceed the bounds of the Executive Branch’s prosecutorial discretion," the senators wrote. "It is not the province of the Executive to nullify the laws that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have chosen to enact. Congress has not passed laws permitting people to illegally enter the country or to ignore their visa expiration dates, so long as they do not have a felony conviction or other severe offense on their record."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who also signed the letter, debunked the notion that Obama is the so-called "deporter-in-chief" and, as Breitbart News noted, the letter also cited figures from the administration's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that revealed in 2013, "nearly all individuals removed from the United States were convicted criminals and recent border crossers."
The senators also referenced a Los Angeles Times report that found that "since 2009, there has been a 40 percent decline in removals of individuals living and working in the interior of the country."
They also cited Chris Crane, President of the National ICE Council, who told Congress last month that the Obama administration is handcuffing ICE agents from doing their jobs and also taking "disciplinary actions against its own officers for making lawful arrests."
When Johnson was asked on Sunday whether "people who are here illegally who have not been committing crimes have less to worry about," he punted, saying he was "looking for ways to more effectively enforce and administer our immigration laws."
But Johnson also said that he believed the "sanctity of the family unit" was an American value and said the country has "an immigration system in this country that is not working" and "comprehensive immigration reform would fix it."
"This is something we need to do," he added. "I'm confident that it will happen."
Johnson also spoke about how he saw the World Trade Center collapse during the 9/11 attacks and spoke about the concerns he had about the many active threats on the country, but he did not mention that four of the 9/11 terrorists, just like 40 percent of all illegal immigrants, had overstayed their visas.
Sessions, the Alabama senator who has championed American workers and given them a prominent voice in the halls of power, told Breitbart News last week that the immigration overhaul Johnson is suggesting would widen "the income gap the White House claims it wishes to narrow."
"American workers have a right to the protections our immigration laws afford, but the Administration has nullified those protections while simultaneously pushing to double the flow of future guest workers into the United States," Sessions said. "These policies make it more difficult for the working poor of all backgrounds to rise into the middle class.”