GOP Sen. Presses Obama On Immigration Enforcement Consequences

Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

There remain outstanding questions about the expectations and consequences for federal immigration officials who do not follow President Obama’s executive amnesty policies, according to Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).

In February Obama told an immigration town hall in Miami there would be “consequences” for immigration enforcement officials who do not comply with his immigration policies, prioritizing smaller swaths of illegal immigrants for enforcement actions.

“There are going to be some jurisdictions, and there may be individual ICE officials or Border Patrol who aren’t paying attention to our new directives. But they’re going to be answerable to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, because he’s been very clear about what our priorities should be. And I’ve been very clear about what our priorities should be,” Obama said.

Shortly after Obama made those comments, Lankford requested, in a letter, that Obama explain exactly what those consequences would be. Late last month, ICE Director Sarah Saldaña responded to his inquiry, but according to Lankford, did not answer his specific questions.

In a follow up letter to Obama Thursday, Lankford reiterates his concerns and questions.

Specifically Lankford asks:

-What are the specific consequences an ICE agent will face if he or she respects the judge’s ruling and fails to follow your policies?

How will the threat and implementation of such consequences impact the already low morale within the Homeland Security Department?

How should agents balance their oath to defend the Constitution with your order to follow policies that a federal court deemed in violation of federal law?

Since you specifically mentioned the U.S. military in your town hall statement, will consequences also ensue for our nations’ service members or other federal employees who fail to follow one of your announced policies, regardless of whether it’s constitutional or not?

What written or verbal direction have you given to Secretary Johnson to implement and enforce these consequences?  If written communications exist, please provide a copy. 

Earlier in February, a federal judge halted implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty programs — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — his orders regarding enforcement priorities, however, have remained in place.