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Smith to DHS: Produce Documents or Face Contempt

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent another letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano following the Department's continued delay in providing a list of illegal and criminal immigrants that have been flagged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) but have not been detained or placed in removal proceedings by the agency. If DHS fails to produce the requested data in its entirety by December 9, the Committee intends to move forward and consider a resolution to hold DHS in contempt of Congress.

On November 18, Chairman Smith warned DHS in a letter that the Committee plans to seek enforcement of the subpoena to the fullest extent allowed by the law. But in a letter dated December 2, DHS again did not provide documents responsive to the subpoena. Instead, DHS officials requested another 30 days to compile additional information that has not yet been formally requested by the Committee. According to DHS officials' own statements, the subpoenaed information already has been compiled, but they refuse to hand it over to the House Judiciary Committee.

Below are excerpts from the letter.

"The information DHS officials seek to provide is not the information required by the subpoena. To comply with the subpoena, DHS must provide the Committee with a list of aliens ICE identified but did not process for removal including Alien Registration Numbers, Fingerprint Identification Numbers, and names. But you still refuse to provide the initial list that contained this information. Instead, DHS officials suggest ICE and the FBI will conduct their own analysis of 73,000 individuals that you believe fit the terms of the subpoena and would like 30 days to conduct this analysis. This is not what the Committee requested.

"DHS must comply with the terms of the subpoena and provide the list of 220,955 individual's along with identifying information -- a list that has already been prepared. Full compliance with the terms of the subpoena is necessary for the Committee to be able to verify independently and cross-reference the information provided by the administration and to conduct its own analysis of the data.

"The subpoenaed information must be provided in its entirety by Friday, December 9. The information I requested is firmly within the jurisdiction of the Committee … If DHS does not comply with this demand, the Committee intends to go forward and consider a resolution to hold DHS in contempt of Congress and will proceed to a vote on such a resolution promptly."

Background: As part of the Committee's oversight responsibility, four months ago Chairman Smith requested unique identifiers for the criminal immigrants intentionally released by ICE so that the Committee can cross-check the information to see if they have gone on to commit more crimes. This data will be used to inform Congress on the problem of criminal immigrants and their affect on public safety. Following months of fruitless discussions over the initial request for information, the requested data was subpoenaed on November 4.

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