Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) on Tuesday admitted to being confused as to who created the law criminalizing illegal immigration during an exchange with ICE Executive Associate Director Matthew Albence before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Transcript is as follows:
HIRONO: Mr. Albence, would you send your children to FRCs?
ALBENCE: Again, I think we’re missing the point. These individuals are there because they have broken a law. There has to be a process —
HIRONO: They have broken a law but only as deemed so by the president with his —
ALBENCE: No ma’am. They are there for violation of Title 8 of the U.S. Nationality Act — Okay? — U.S.C. 1325. That’s illegal entry is both a criminal and civil violation. They are in those FRCs pending the outcome of that civil immigration process. They have broken the law.
HIRONO: Well, these are mainly — my understanding is that under zero-tolerance, these are no longer civil proceedings, but in fact were criminal proceedings.
ALBENCE: They were criminal proceedings when the Border Patrol prosecuted them. But at the conclusion of that process, once the individual came into ICE custody, they would go through administrative proceedings.
HIRONO: I’m confused.
ALBENCE: The criminal proceeding is the individual being prosecuted for the criminal violation of improper entry.