WASHINGTON, D.C. — Word has spread around the world that the Obama administration “refuses” to enforce the country’s immigration laws, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Wednesday.
At a hearing on the flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the southwest border, Goodlatte argued that the influx is a crisis of the Obama administration’s own making.
“These individuals know that the Administration’s policy of non-enforcement of our immigration laws presents a golden opportunity for unaccompanied minors and families with minors to come to the U.S., most likely to be released with very little chance of ever being removed,” Goodlatte said.
“It is often said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Unfortunately, it seems Obama fiddles while our borders implode,” he added.
The Virginia Republican highlighted a recent Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Intelligence Report showing that 95 percent of recent border crossers said the reason they came illegally was to take advantage of a new law that grants a “free pass” to women traveling with minors and unaccompanied minors.
“Apparently, word has gotten out that once encountered by Border Patrol agents and processed, thanks to this Administration’s lax enforcement policies, one will likely never be removed,” he said.
Additionally, Goodlatte highlighted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which has created, he said, “the net effect of these policies has been described by former ICE Acting Director John Sandweg, ‘If you are a run-of-the mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero .’ Apparently, those arriving at our borders now know this.”
Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained crossing into the United States through the southwest border, a 99 percent increase over last year, according to DHS. The vast majority of the influx have been individuals from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
According to Goodlatte, the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied minors expected to be apprehended in 2014 represent a 1,381 percent increase since 2011. The anticipated number of apprehended unaccompanied minors next year, 142,000, will be a 2,232 percent increase.
The highest ranking Democrat on the committee, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, argued that the influx is not due to Obama’s failures or policies, but rather violence and poverty in the Central American countries from where the children and family units are originating.
The Michigan Democrat further lamented that the title of the hearing, “An Administration-Made Disaster: The South Texas Border Surge of Unaccompanied Minors” appeared to show that the majority already made its mind up about the crisis.
“My concern is not just that this title unfairly attacks the president, or that it presupposes a conclusion without any substantial evidence, but that it also dangerously mischaracterizes the issue at hand,” he said.
Conyers also called for the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform, noting that a year ago the Senate passed their version.