Is the Department of Homeland Security hiding information about US immigration laws being adequately enforced? Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) thinks so. DHS Secretary Napolitano did not turn over information about DHS law enforcement following a written request for the department to do so.
In August, the Republicans started asking if “officials are following the law that says immigrants must be denied entry into the United States if a determination is made that they are likely to need federal assistance.”
Senators Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) joined Sessions in a letter to Ms. Napolitano looking for answers to this question. They gave her a deadline of October 1, which came and went without any answer.
“Given what we already know, and the otherwise inexplicable refusal for DHS to reply to such a simple inquiry, it necessarily suggests that the executive branch is trying to prevent the public from discovering its failure to follow U.S. immigration and welfare law,” Sessions said Tuesday.
They want answers about the “public charge” law, since reports have surfaced that the US Department of Agriculture was encouraging Mexican immigrants to enroll in the federal food stamp program. This is illegal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigrants cannot be accepted if they are likely to become a public charge. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services defines a “public charge” as “an individual who is likely to become ‘primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.'”
The Republicans learned the government is only checking to see if immigrants are using the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or long-term aid under Medicare. They are not checking if these immigrants are using other federal programs.
In 2010, a study by the Center for the Immigration Studies said 36% of immigrant-headed households used at least one federal welfare program. The DHS has data readily available to answer the senator’s questions, but they aren’t sharing it.
“Basic annual data on visa applications is easily and readily producible,” Sessions said. “But yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security missed yet another deadline to provide this info as requested by four Senate committees.”