The House immigration subcommittee issued a subpoena Friday demanding Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano turn over records showing which illegal immigrants her department has declined to pursue deportation cases against.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, set a Nov. 10 deadline for turning over the information, which includes the identities of any foreigners who have been arrested and referred to Homeland Security, but whom the government either didn’t take custody or didn’t put into removal proceedings.
A spokesman for Ms. Napolitano said they were working to turn over the information even without the subpoena.
Mr. Smith first requested the on Aug. 22, and personally gave an Oct. 31 deadline to Ms. Napolitano last week. But the administration missed that target. Members of the committee said the department told them some of the information requested belongs to the FBI, which doesn’t want to release it.
“Are administration officials afraid that the information will show that illegal immigrants intentionally released by ICE have committed crimes that could have been prevented?” Mr. Smith said. “Why else would they hide the information?”
The subpoena specifically names Ms. Napolitano.
Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for Homeland Security, said they have assured the committee they will send over the information.
“During numerous conversations over the past week, including this morning, DHS stated to the committee it will provide the data requested with or without a subpoena,” he said.
The immigration subcommittee voted along party lines earlier this week to authorize Mr. Smith to send the subpoena, with Republicans saying they wanted a way to make the administration back up its promises of compliance.
That subpoena was one of two that Republicans in the House authorized this week. The other, which came out of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations subcommittee, seeks White House documents related to Solyndra, the failed solar technology company that received special attention from President Obama and his top staff.
Late Friday afternoon Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton announced he had issued that subpoena and had it served on White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Bruce Reed, chief of staff for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Upton also set a Nov. 10 deadline for the Solyndra documents.
“We need to know the White House’s role in the Solyndra debacle in order to learn the full truth about why taxpayers now find themselves a half-billion dollars in the hole,” Mr. Upton said.
In both cases, Democrats opposed the subpoenas, saying they were premature and accusing Republicans of looking for a fight rather than working to get information. They said the administration had signaled a willingness to work to turn over the data, but said the GOP rejected those overtures.
Republicans want the immigration data so they can see what kinds of decisions the administration is making about who it chooses to deport and who it decides not to pursue.