Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said Friday that anyone who replaces Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano must abandon President Barack Obama’s directives to ignore immigration laws.
“Secretary Napolitano’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was defined by a consistent disrespect for the rule of law,” Sessions said in a statement.
The resignation of Secretary Napolitano should refocus the attention of Congress on its first task: to ensure that the executive branch faithfully carries out the laws of the land. The most significant obstacle to immigration reform remains President Obama’s selective enforcement of the law. Any selection–interim or permanent–to replace Secretary Napolitano must disavow these aggressive non-enforcement directives or there is very little hope for successful immigration reform.
Sessions said, “Whoever replaces Secretary Napolitano must restore the rule of law, as well as the morale of ICE officers which has plummeted under her tenure.”
Napolitano joins Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton in resigning amid the immigration debate. Both were involved with the White House’s decision, amplified at a press conference last summer, to direct law enforcement agents not to enforce the law when it comes to certain illegal immigrants. Specifically, they were attempting to implement the DREAM Act via executive order.
ICE National Council president Chris Crane, who represents thousands of ICE agents and employees, explained Napolitano’s and Obama’s directives at a press conference earlier this year. “Agents are forced to apply the DREAM Act, not to children in schools, but to adult inmates in jails,” Crane claimed at the time. “Releasing criminals back into communities throughout the nation, criminals who have committed felonies, assaulted our officers, and who prey on children.”
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, Crane testified that “agents report that if they encounter suspected illegal aliens in the public, they cannot arrest them.”
“The day-to day duties of ICE agents and officers often seem in conflict with the law as ICE officers are prohibited from enforcing many laws enacted by Congress; laws they took an oath to enforce,” Crane testified. “ICE is now guided in large part by influences of powerful special interest groups that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens.”