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Letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts today said a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo determining ways to help illegal immigrants remain in the United States represented a blatant attempt to bypass the Congress and is an abuse of authority.

"After reading this memo, there is no denying top officials at the USCIS intend to use their authorities to allow illegal aliens to remain in the United States and proves they have forgotten their real mission which is to ensure the integrity of our immigration system in America," Senator Roberts said. "Tools they are granted to help immigrants in need of humanitarian assistance are not to be used as a path to amnesty for the millions of undocumented aliens in the United States."

The subject of the memo, prepared for Alejandro N. Myorkas, the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reads: "Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform." The purpose of the memo is to, "offer administrative relief options to promote family unity, foster economic growth, achieve significant progress improvements and reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization."

The memo's summary says, "In the absence of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, USCIS can extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups by issuing new guidance and regulations, exercising discretion with regard to parole-in-place, deferred action and the issuance of Notice to Appear, and adopting significant process improvements."

The full text of the memo is available here:

Senator Roberts joined Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and others in sending a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano dated July 26, 2010. The text of the letter is below:

"We remained concerned about potential plans for a large-scale effort to offer parole or to defer action on undocumented aliens in the United States. We realize that deferred action and parole are discretionary actions reserved for individual cases that present unusual, emergent or humanitarian circumstances. However, we do not believe that such actions should be used for a large population of illegal aliens or used to bypass Congress and the legislative process.
"News articles report that your department has denied the charge, stating that grants of parole or deferred removal are based on the merits of individual cases. While we have not personally been assured that plans have not been drawn up, we are interested in data that will guarantee the American people that the Administration is not using these discretionary actions in cases that are not urgent or based on humanitarian reasons.
"Therefore, we seek the following information about how the department is using its authorities. Specifically, we would like answers to the following questions no later than August 16:
· How many removal actions have been deferred each year over the past 5 years, including calendar year 2010, to date?
· How many times has parole been granted each year over the past 5 years, including calendar year 2010, to date?
· Of those granted deferred action or parole in the past five years, including 2010, how many have been provided work authorizations? In what circumstances are work authorizations not granted?
· What guidelines and procedures are in place when the department considers using its discretionary power to defer action or grant parole? Please describe the process from the initial request to the final approval, and please provide a copy of the written policies that employees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Customs and Border Protection must follow.
"Finally, in order to ensure that deferred action and parole are being used in a manner consistent with the law, we request to be notified in writing when the Administration defers removal action or grants parole to undocumented, deportable or inadmissible aliens. We would further request a summary of the case and the rationale for using the discretionary action. In that vein, we would like a summary (including demographic background) of the cases that so far have been approved in calendar year 2010."

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