- Sarah Palin Channel makes online debut as counter to mainstream media
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Freak lightning storm kills 1, injures 7 on California beach
- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
Homeland Security will comply with subpoena
House wants details on not-deported aliens
Question of the Day
The Obama administration will comply with a subpoena seeking details on illegal immigrants it has come in contact with but failed to deport under its Secure Communities initiative, one of the program’s leaders told Congress on Wednesday.
House Republicans have been seeking the information as they try to evaluate how the administration is prioritizing which illegal immigrants it deems important enough to deport, and which ones it doesn’t feel rise to the level of concern.
“I am confident that we will supply the information you have requested,” Gary Mead, executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the House’s immigration subcommittee.
The Secure Communities program checks information on people arrested by state and local law enforcement officials against government databases to see whether any are immigrants eligible for deportation.
The program has drawn criticism from both sides - those who want a crackdown on illegal immigration say the Obama administration isn’t detaining all of the people who pop up as deportable when the checks are run; and immigrant-rights advocates who say it acts as a dragnet to catch illegal immigrants who don’t rise to the level of major criminals.
Advocates also say that the program is subject to racial profiling, which they said harms the program, and that Secure Communities has had a chilling effect on relations between local police and immigrant communities.
“Immigrants will continue to fear that contact with the police could lead to deportation, crimes will go unreported and criminals will remain free to prey on others,” Arturo Venegas Jr., the retired chief of police in Sacramento, Calif., told the panel.
The Obama administration has been trying to reorient enforcement inside the U.S. away from rank and file illegal immigrants to focus instead on more serious criminals. As part of that effort, it has issued guidance to ICE agents telling them to use discretion in deciding which illegal immigrants to pursue.
Still, the administration says even focusing on illegal immigrants with criminal records or multiple immigration law violations is enough to strain the system. In fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, the administration deported nearly 400,000 aliens, and ICE says about 90 percent of them were in what it deemed priority categories. Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano has said 400,000 is about the limit ICE can deport in any year under the current level of funding.
Opponents of Secure Communities say it also has snared U.S. citizens. A report from a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley found that 3,600 citizens had been apprehended by ICE as of April 2011.
But others want to see the program unshackled from the boundaries the Obama administration has imposed. That’s one reason why Republicans have issued the subpoena for data on the approximately 300,000 immigrants ICE has flagged under Secure Communities but declined to detain for deportation.
“Sooner or later we will get it,” vowed Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican.
The subpoena gave a Nov. 10 deadline, but Mr. Smith said ICE didn’t turn over the information he was seeking by then.
The next legal step would be for the committee to vote to hold ICE in contempt of Congress, but that decision has yet to be made.
Mr. Mead said that ICE has the information Mr. Smith requested for about 70 percent of the people it declined to hold, but that they are still trying to figure out how to provide information that is held by the FBI and to track down missing information on some of the immigrants on the list.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
- Lois Lerner emails reveal gaping open-records loophole
- Two-thirds of illegal immigrant children approved for asylum: report
- Top Justice official denies conspiring with IRS on tea party targeting
- Boehner: No bill on border surge
- Taking Obama to court a long shot but lawsuit not folly, Congress is told
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's trial to test definitions of political corruption
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq