President Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director tells lawmakers that no consequences are planned for sanctuary cities until Congress first passes “comprehensive immigration reform.” Sarah Saldaña testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on criminal alien violence.
After hearing emotional testimony from families torn apart by illegal immigrant murderers, Republican members of Congress grilled two administration witnesses: Leon Rodriquez, Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Sarah Saldaña, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Both Rodriquez and Saldaña have been tasked with carrying out President Obama’s executive amnesty for so-called DREAMers, which includes work permits and medical benefits for low-income illegal aliens funded by citizen taxpayers.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) repeatedly pressed Saldaña on why the Administration was taking no action against sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to turn over dangerous criminal aliens from their prisons and jails to federal law officers. Saldaña replied that Congress would first have to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.”
Vitter: “This has been going on for years and you still are not prepared to say that there is ever going to be any negative consequence to those [sanctuary] jurisdictions. When is that going to change?”
Saldaña: “I presume when you all address comprehensive immigration reform; perhaps it can be addressed there.”
Vitter described Saldaña’s answer as “ridiculous” and kept pressing: “And absent Congress passing that [Senate immigration] bill, that you and the Obama Administration prefer, you don’t think right now we can stop sanctuary cities from flaunting federal law? You don’t think right now there can be any negative consequences when they do not properly cooperate under existing federal law with immigration enforcement?”
Saldaña gave a muddled reply: “That’s what I understand that all of you are working on.”
Ironically, an immigration bill pushed by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) would have given amnesty to many of the criminal aliens the families who testified today wish to see deported. As Chris Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, noted at the time:
Senator Rubio left unchanged legislative provisions that he himself admitted to us in private were detrimental, flawed and must be changed. Legislation written behind closed doors by handpicked special interest groups which put their political agendas and financial gains before sound and effective law and the welfare and safety of the American public. As a result, the 1,200 page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens, and handcuff ICE officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future. It provides no means of effectively enforcing visa overstays which account for almost half of the nation’s illegal immigration crisis.
Senator Grassley offered an amendment that would that would have barred gang members, such as the notorious MS-13 gang members who have wreaked havoc across the country, from getting amnesty but that amendment was defeated in the Judiciary Committee. The final bill 68 senators voted for therefore expressly made amnesty available to gang members – an amnesty that included access to green cards, welfare and the prize of U.S. citizenship.
As The Washington Post reported at the time, this was part of a coordinated effort by members of the Gang of Eight to quash amendments that might have damaged the likelihood of the bill’s speedy passage:
The eight met in private before each committee hearing, hashing out which amendments they would support and which oppose as a united coalition. Senate aides said amendments were rejected if either side felt they would shatter the deal.
Politico confirmed this report:
During the Judiciary Committee markup in May, the Gang routinely met to decide which amendments they would support or oppose. In one meeting, the senators thought they had all agreed to defeat a proposal from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to require a biometric exit and entry at points of entry before undocumented immigrants could secure green cards, according to one Senate Democratic aide.
The day the bill passed the Senate, National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council president Ken Palinkas and president of the National ICE Council Chris Crane, who together represent more than 20,000 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees on the front line of immigration enforcement, issued this joint statement:
ICE officers and USCIS adjudications officers have pleaded with lawmakers not to adopt this bill,” they wrote, “The Schumer-Rubio-Corker-Hoeven proposal will make Americans less safe and it will ensure more illegal immigration—especially visa overstays—in the future. It provides legalization for thousands of dangerous criminals while making it more difficult for our officers to identity public safety and national security threats. The legislation was guided from the beginning by anti-enforcement special interests and, should it become law, will have the desired effect of these groups: blocking immigration enforcement.
This is anti-public safety bill and an anti-law enforcement bill.
Immigration and the transformation of America is shaping up to be the most passionate issue of the 2016 race.
When Governor Scott Walker was question by a DREAMer during a recent campaign stop and said illegal aliens seeking to become Americans needed to return home. He also suggested at the same stop that foreign worker visas should be limited when American jobs and wages are in danger, a position that polls well with liberals and conservatives alike.