U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today held a hearing entitled, "Does Administrative Amnesty Harm Our Efforts to Gain and Maintain Operational Control of the Border." Miller's hearing received testimony from witnesses regarding the impact of the Administration's recent decision to limit enforcement of federal immigration laws concerning illegal immigration cases and how this new policy may affect the Border Patrol's ability to gain and maintain operational control of the border. Miller said:
"Every single person who crosses the border illegally has knowingly flaunted the rule of law and our national sovereignty - we cannot ignore that fact. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not, period. Telling illegal aliens that we are not really looking for them unless they commit additional serious crimes is a mistake and will serve to encourage more illegal immigration, and as a result, will make the job of Border Patrol agents charged with defending the nation that much harder.
"Additionally, we have to remember that at least four of the 9-11 hijackers were visa-overstays, including hijackers on American Flight 11 and United Flight 175, both of which hit the World Trade Center, and American Flight 77 which hit the Pentagon. Under this policy if these terrorists were to interact with immigration officials and they had not committed another crime, then they would have been allowed to stay in the country free and not be removed. That is an unacceptable policy in a post 9/11world. Today, over 40 percent of all illegal aliens in this country have overstayed their visa. Just as we must secure our borders and punish those who cross it illegally, we must strongly enforce our visa overstay laws. We cannot send the message that as soon as you get as visa, you can stay as long as you like if you do not commit another crime.
"Article II Section 3 of the Constitution states that the President "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' Not enforcing key aspects of the law is not consistent with that section of the Constitution. Instead of offering incentives for people to break the law, such as a lack of prosecution, we should be making sure our Border Patrol has the resources they need to gain and maintain operational control of the borders.
"I have continually called for a strategy to secure the border and for Administration officials to be honest and candid with Congress about their resource needs, but instead we get more of the same - insufficient answers and an Administration that circumvents the legislative process to grant administrative amnesty to millions of illegal aliens."
Note: This new Administrative policy directs DHS and the Department of Justice to form a working group to execute a case-by-case review of all individuals currently in removal proceedings and quickly prosecute those who have been caught committing criminal acts -- but defer prosecution and removal for those unlawful aliens who ICE determines that they do not meet its enforcement priorities. This policy has the potential to offer deferment of enforcement against a majority of non-criminal aliens unlawfully present in the United States without Congressional authorization, creating de facto amnesty for many of the estimated 11 million illegal aliens currently in the United States.