House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) took U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez to task Wednesday for failing to demonstrate a commitment to American interests.
“Quite frankly, Americans do not believe that their interests are being put front and center when it comes to decisions about whether or not to issue an immigration benefit to a foreign national,” the Virginia lawmaker said to Rodriguez. “And your agency has the responsibility to show a commitment to reversing that belief.”
Rodriguez was testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security at an oversight hearing of his agency.
Directing his comments at Rodriguez, Goodlatte highlighted some of the administration’s actions that he says have diminished his and the American people’s confidence in the system — pointing out that even in Rodriguez’s opening statement he spent the majority of time not on security but on implementing the “top priority” of Obama’s executive amnesty.
The committee chairman argued that despite the belief of many Americans that executive amnesty is unconstitutional, USCIS has continued to “approve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications with a denial rate of only 6.5 percent out of nearly 700,000 approvals.”
“But there are many other reasons that my constituents and I do not have confidence in the USCIS,” he said.
Goodlatte chastised the agency head for a failure to suss out immigration fraud and national security risks.
“For instance when the General Accountability Office finds, as it did in a scathing report released last week, that USCIS has very limited fraud training for asylum officers, that USCIS doesn’t regularly assess fraud risks and thus doesn’t have in place mechanisms to mitigate fraud, and that even when random reviews of asylum cases to assess whether the cases are being adjudicated correctly are conducted, fraud is not considered,” Goodlatte said.
He further pointed to the San Bernardino terrorist, who entered the U.S. on a fiancé visa before killing 14 people with her radicalized husband in California.
“The fact that the USCIS approved for a K visa, a radicalized Islamic extremist who went on to murder 14 Americans and injure many more, does not exactly instill confidence in the work that the USCIS is doing,” he said.
He further cited fraud in the Special Immigrant Juvenile program, unaccompanied minor policies, and concerns about refugee vetting as further dispelling a sense of confidence.
“The fact that despite valid concerns about the vetting of refugees raised by Members of Congress, the American people and even FBI and intelligence officials within the Administration, USCIS simply tells us not to worry – the vetting process is good enough, doesn’t instill confidence,” he said.
The fact that the USCIS keeps abusing what is supposed to be its limited discretionary parole authority to create new classes of foreign nationals eligible for parole in the United States despite Congress’ unwillingness to do so, doesn’t instill confidence.
The fact that there continues to be a seeming rubber stamping of credible fear claims for the record high number of individuals surging across the southwest border, doesn’t instill confidence.
And the fact that sources tell us that USCIS is considering making it easier for individuals with DUI convictions to get DACA, doesn’t instill confidence.
The Virginia Republican concluded by stressing that the American people deserve action from their government to ensure their security.