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Public Statements

Hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement - Is Secure Communities Keeping Our Communities Secure?

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Over the past year, the Obama Administration has taken several steps to grant relief to illegal immigrants and other removable aliens without approval from Congress. These actions strain the constitutional separation of powers and defy the will of the American public. They are part of the Administration's unrelenting effort to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

Unfortunately, the Administration is imperiling the Secure Communities program as part of this effort. Secure Communities is a powerful law enforcement tool that allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain removable aliens arrested by local law enforcement agencies.

Secure Communities grew out of a local law enforcement program that we established in the mid-1990s. In the 1996 illegal immigration reform bill, I included a provision that established a pilot program in Anaheim and Ventura County, California, that authorized local law enforcement officials to screen criminals in local jails prior to being arraigned. And in 1997, this pilot program was expanded to jurisdictions throughout the United States.

Today, this program, which is now called Secure Communities, is supported by local law enforcement organizations across the nation, including the Major County Sheriffs' Association.

Ultimately, Secure Communities assists local law enforcement with the identification and removal of criminal aliens, making it a vital tool for protecting the safety of our streets and neighborhoods. Yet, amnesty groups remain stubbornly opposed to it and claim that Secure Communities results in racial profiling. However, it is perplexing how a computer can racially profile when everyone who comes to the attention of law enforcement is checked through a database.

From the outset, the Administration has failed to enforce our immigration laws and has effectively placed its own political agenda ahead of its constitutional responsibility to carry out the laws enacted by Congress. Secure Communities is certainly no exception.

The Administration is taking what is an otherwise useful law enforcement tool and making "changes" to it, not to strengthen the program, but to undermine it.

The Administration has taken several steps to satisfy the desires of pro-amnesty groups, including the formation of a task force consisting largely of amnesty supporters that is designed to tell the Administration how and when it should ignore the laws written by Congress.

Never before, to my knowledge, has an outside group composed largely of members with little enforcement and operational knowledge of the Department of Homeland Security been permitted to provide advice on enforcing immigration laws.

I, along with other members, have urged the Administration to reverse the policy of granting administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants by misusing so-called "priorities."

The Administration needs to focus on creating jobs for American citizens and legal workers instead of looking for backdoor means to permit illegal immigrants to stay in this country.


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