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Hatch: Administration's "Back-Door Amnesty" Memo Warrants Congressional Scrutiny

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said today that an internal Obama Administration memo outlining ways of granting illegal immigrants legal status without congressional consent or approval needs to be scrutinized through a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee of which Hatch is a member. Hatch joined with his Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) requesting a committee hearing.

"The Administration has left us little choice, but to ask for a hearing to try and understand if the Administration is planning back-door amnesty for millions. They've refused to answer letter after letter, and then this memo comes out about how they could enact so-called immigration reform without congressional approval," said Hatch. "It's time for the Senate Judiciary to examine this memo and what this Administration is trying to do to grant legal status to millions by circumventing Congress."

In their letter to Chairman Leahy, the Senators wrote, "As members of the Judiciary Committee, with jurisdiction over immigration and naturalization matters, we ask that you schedule a hearing as soon as possible to learn more about the internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memorandum entitled, "Administration alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform. A hearing will help reveal whether the Administration plans to circumvent Congress and "offer administrative relief options…for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization."

Hatch joined with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Ioway), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) in sending the letter to Chairman Leahy today

According to the internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services memo that became public last week:

* The agency is considering ways in which it could enact "meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action;"
* "This memorandum offers administrative relief options to . . . reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization;" and
* "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 Notices to Appear (NTA), and adopting significant process improvements."

Last week, Hatch joined with 11 Senate colleagues asking Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to abandon any possible plans to parole or defer action on millions of illegal immigrants. The Senators wrote, "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."

In June, Hatch and 11 of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to the President about the Administration's efforts.

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