- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2015

Immigration agents in Arizona are releasing up to 50 illegal immigrants a day with serious criminal records under President Obama’s new amnesty, dropping them off at bus stations and they are “heading to your neighborhoods,” an Arizona sheriff will testify to Congress on Tuesday.

Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, will tell the House Judiciary Committee that while most of the attention has gone to the estimated 5 million illegal immigrants who will be granted work permits and tentative legal status, almost none of the current 12 million illegal immigrants are in danger of being deported based on the priorities the president laid out.

Sheriff Babeu said the new policy is responsible for between 30 and 50 additional illegal immigrants being released every day in Arizona.

“These were always described as the worst actors, who committed serious violent crimes or numerous lesser non-violent crimes,” he says in his prepared testimony. “Now, they are brought to the bus stations in Tucson and Phoenix and heading to your neighborhoods.”

His remarks come as GOP leaders try to bolster their case for immigration enforcement and pushing back against Mr. Obama, whose expanded amnesty for illegal immigrants is slated to start taking applications on Feb. 18.

The House GOP has passed a spending bill to fund the Homeland Security Department through the end of this fiscal year, but has attached language that would halt the new amnesty and a previous 2012 amnesty for so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

That bill is slated for its first test vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

If Congress and Mr. Obama hit a stalemate, most Homeland Security workers will remain on the job because they are deemed essential workers — but they would go without paychecks until the impasse is resolved.

Mr. Obama on Monday pleaded for Republicans to scratch their amnesty fight and send him legislation unencumbered by what he called ideological fights, saying that it was unconscionable to hold workers’ paychecks hostage.

“These Americans aren’t just working to keep us safe, they have to take care of their own families,” the president said, speaking at a Homeland Security office in Washington. “The notion that they would get caught up in a disagreement around policy that has nothing to do with them makes no sense.”

Congressional Democrats believe the GOP is on the defensive, having orchestrated the 2013 government shutdown and with the increasing threat of terrorist attacks making Republicans reluctant to get into a fight over homeland security money.

Some GOP leaders have already said they won’t jeopardize funding for the department, which has undercut their negotiating position over the immigration amnesties.

Tuesday’s hearing in the House is part of a Plan B strategy to pass other legislation bolstering enforcement outside the spending process.

Republican leaders had tried to pass a border security bill last week but pulled the measure from the floor after a conservative rebellion sapped votes away. The conservatives argued the bill didn’t do enough to tackle the interior.

The Judiciary Committee is moving to try to add interior enforcement to the border bill, and Sheriff Babeu’s testimony is designed to add urgency.

He said his county, which is between Tucson and Phoenix, sees some of the spillover violence from drug cartels, including “rip crews” who get into gun battles over drug stash houses next to his county’s schools and businesses.

Marc R. Rosenblum, who studies immigration at the Migration Policy Institute, will tell the House panel that enforcement has already been stepped up in recent years, and it’s unclear whether the expense has produced enough results.

He says in his prepared testimony that Congress has “battled illegal immigration with one hand tied behind our back” by focusing so much on enforcement.


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