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Public Statements

Letter to DOJ Attorney General Holder and ICE Director Morton

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton expressing concern over several jurisdictions refusal to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement while still receiving State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) grant funding which provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens. During Miller's subcommittee hearing held earlier this week on the status of the Secure Communities program, Miller questioned why several communities were actively impeding federal law enforcement from removing criminal aliens from the country in violation of federal law, yet are rewarded federal grant funding to reimburse these communities for those unlawfully present in their jails.

In the letter, Miller points out the actions of these Sanctuary Cities "is beyond comprehension why certain communities have chosen to willfully impede legitimate immigration enforcement, yet are rewarded by receiving SCAAP grants to reimburse these communities for those unlawfully present in their jails. Perhaps the worst offender is Cook County, Illinois, which passed an ordinance that instructs the County Sheriff to decline ICE detainer requests, yet nonetheless received $2,290,019 of federal funding through the SCAAP program last year. I believe that it is time to end any federal grant funding to any jurisdiction that does not fully cooperate with ICE, or any other federal immigration enforcement program."

Below is the full letter Chairman Miller sent to DOJ Attorney General Holder and ICE Director Morton:

July 12, 2012

Attorney General Holder and Director Morton:

I write today to express concern over the refusal of several jurisdictions to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while still receiving State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) grant funding, which provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens

As a strong supporter of the Secure Communities program whose goal is to remove dangerous criminal aliens from our streets, it is deeply troubling that some communities refuse to honor ICE detainers on criminal aliens.

I believe that such action is unwise, impedes legitimate federal immigration law enforcement, and puts the citizens of those communities and the nation at risk. The high recidivism rate of convicted criminals would suggest that many crimes committed by criminal aliens could be prevented if federal authorities were permitted to deport such aliens, consistent with current law.

Congress created Secure Communities in 2008 as a pilot program to establish the capability to identify all criminal aliens or potential criminal aliens at the time of arrest. In activated jurisdictions, all those arrested have their fingerprints run against databases to determine if they are in the country legally.

The program is operational in 97% of jurisdictions nation-wide with only a few communities yet to be activated. Despite the persistent, and often unfounded, criticism of the Secure Communities program, it has led to the prompt removal of more than 140,000 criminal aliens unlawfully present in this country from our streets and more than 94% of the aliens deported by this valuable program are either convicted criminals, recent border crossers, or have overstayed their visa. This begs a simple question: How can you oppose a program with those results unless you are not really vested in securing our borders and enforcing the nation's immigration laws?

It is beyond comprehension why certain communities have chosen to willfully impede legitimate immigration enforcement, yet are rewarded by receiving SCAAP grants to reimburse these communities for those unlawfully present in their jails.

Perhaps the worst offender is Cook County, Illinois, which passed an ordinance that instructs the County Sheriff to decline ICE detainer requests, yet nonetheless received $2,290,019 of federal funding through the SCAAP program last year.

During a hearing before my subcommittee earlier this week, Director Morton testified that he found, "that position to be completely inconsistent with them not allowing us access to and removing those very same individuals and we'll be taking a very hard look at their SCAAP request."

I agree with Director Morton's assessment and believe that is time to end any federal funding to any jurisdiction that does not fully cooperate with ICE, or any other federal immigration enforcement program.

The grant application deadline for fiscal year 2012 SCAAP funds ended last week, so I respectfully request that you deny any funding request for cities that do not fully cooperate with ICE, and if a determination to provide funding is made, I ask that you provide a rationale. I would appreciate a response no later than August 1, 2012.

Sincerely,

Candice S. Miller
Chairwoman
Border and Maritime Subcommittee
House Homeland Security Committee


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