On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Sarah Saldana, who has said she would implement President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and believes that illegal immigrants who qualify for it have a “right” to citizenship, to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with enforcing the country’s immigration laws.
She was confirmed by a 55-39 vote.
When Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ted Cruz (R-TX), all of whom subsequently opposed her nomination, asked Saldana, the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, whether she supported Obama’s executive amnesty, she replied:
I believe that the President of the United States, as others before him, has legal authority to take Executive action to address areas within the purview of the Executive branch. It is my understanding that the recently announced Executive action pertaining to immigration was reviewed, shaped and considered by a number of people in whom I have great confidence, including Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder.
I also understand that the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice published an opinion explaining in great detail the legal authority and precedents for the President’s actions concerning enforcement prioritization and deferred action. Unless and until the President’s action is invalidated or withdrawn, I am bound to faithfully execute applicable laws, regulations and policy.
In addition, when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, asked her if she agreed with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that illegal immigrants who qualify for Obama’s executive amnesty have “earned the right to be citizens,” Saldana replied that she agreed:
Yes, since I believe that Secretary Johnson was not referring to all immigrants who entered the country illegally, but to those who have been identified as eligible for prosecutorial discretion, such as deferred action.
Lee said Saldana’s “bold assertion” that some illegal immigrants have a “right” to citizenship is an “unacceptable view” for someone nominated to head ICE. Cruz said that Saldana would merely be a “rubber stamp” for Obama’s executive amnesty. Sessions urged Congress not to “vote to accelerate its own demise” by confirming Saldana. Sessions said “Congress cannot and must not confirm anyone to lead an agency in DHS or other law enforcement agency who supports executive amnesty” because “the first priority of Congress must be to restore the rule of law, secure the border, and bring the administration into compliance with the laws of the United States.”
No Democrat voted against Saldana while two Republicans — Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — voted to confirm her nomination.