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Napolitano faces contempt citation over list of immigrants ICE flagged
House panel sets Friday deadline for data on those not detained, processed
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano to provide a list of illegal and criminal immigrants who have been flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents but have not been detained or placed in removal proceedings.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said the department faces the possibility of a contempt citation if it does not comply by Friday. He said the committee has sought the information for four months as a part of its oversight responsibility in trying to determine whether criminal immigrants intentionally released by ICE have committed additional crimes.
Mr. Smith said the information, sought through a committee subpoena, would be used to inform Congress on the problem of criminal immigrants and their affect on public safety.
"To comply with the subpoena, DHS must provide the committee with a list of aliens ICE identified but did not process for removal ... But you still refuse to provide the initial list that contained this information," Mr. Smith said. "Instead, DHS officials suggest ICE and the FBI will conduct their own analysis of 73,000 individuals that you believe fit the terms of the subpoena and would like 30 days to conduct this analysis.
"This is not what the committee requested," he said.
On Nov. 18, Mr. Smith warned Homeland Security in a letter that the committee planned to seek enforcement of the subpoena to the "fullest extent allowed by the law," but the department in its Dec. 2 response did not provide the subpoenaed documents. Instead, he said, the department requested another 30 days to compile additional information that has not yet been formally requested by the committee.
Mr. Smith said that according to Homeland Security officials' own statements, the subpoenaed information "already has been compiled, but they refuse to hand it over to the House Judiciary Committee."
"DHS must comply with the terms of the subpoena and provide the list of 220,955 individuals along with identifying information - a list that has already been prepared," he said. "Full compliance with the terms of the subpoena is necessary for the committee to be able to verify independently and cross-reference the information provided by the administration and to conduct its own analysis of the data.
"The subpoenaed information must be provided in its entirety by Friday, December 9. The information I requested is firmly within the jurisdiction of the committee," he said. "If DHS does not comply with this demand, the committee intends to go forward and consider a resolution to hold DHS in contempt of Congress and will proceed to a vote on such a resolution promptly."
At issue in the immigration subpoena are the identities of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who have been arrested by state and local police and run through the government's Secure Communities program, but whom ICE has declined to put in deportation proceedings.
All seven Republicans on the panel voted to authorize the subpoena, while all four Democrats opposed it, arguing the administration is making a good-faith effort to compile the information and should be given more time.
Under the program, information on federal, state and local police arrests that is already submitted to the FBI is now also checked by ICE agents to see if those in custody are foreigners who are eligible for deportation.
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About the Author
Jerry Seper is the investigative editor for The Washington Times.
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