House Judiciary Committee Examines Deliberate Dismantling of U.S. Immigration Enforcement

By CIS on February 3, 2015

A Director and a Board Member from the Center for Immigration Studies testified before the House Judiciary Committee meeting today, focusing on the Obama administration’s dismantling of immigration enforcement in the country. The hearing takes place just as data have been made available, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, showing that over 1,000 crimes have been committed by criminal aliens released by the Obama administration in 2013 and that 5.5 million new work permits, outside the limits set by Congress, have been issued to aliens in the last five years.

View Jessica Vaughan’s statement to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

View Jan Ting's statement to to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

“The Obama administration's deliberate dismantling of enforcement has imposed enormous costs on American communities in the form of lost job opportunities and stagnant wages for native workers, higher tax bills to cover increasing outlays for social services and benefits, compromised national security, and needless public safety threats,” reads Jessica Vaughan’s opening statement.

Vaughan’s testimony emphasizes the tremendous decrease in the number of deportations; the number of ICE deportations from the interior has dropped 58 percent since the peak in 2009, and the number of criminal alien deportations has declined by 43 percent. She also cites the large increase (43 percent since 2011) in attempted border crossings and the enormous number of illegal aliens being allowed to stay and work in the country.

Stressing the futility of enforcement as long as the administration’s policy of catch and release continues, Vaughan expresses concern that not only are gang members being de-prioritized and released, they are even allowed to apply for work permits.

Beyond just releasing aliens, she points out a stream of predatory lawsuits against state and local law enforcement agencies that the administration not only refuses to challenge, but also supports with friends of the court briefs — leaving state and local agencies on the hook for following federal law. The erosion of enforcement is also exacerbated by a series of executive memos, which among other actions end Secure Communities, making it difficult for ICE to issue detainers, and the dismantling of worksite enforcement.

Vaughan outlines several actions Congress can take to address the enforcement inadequacies, including restricting DHS appropriations so that executive actions would not be allowed to permit five million illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and receive work permits, passing a phased-in universal E-verify mandate, directing the Border Patrol to keep illegal border crossers in custody in the immediate border region, and restoring programs like 287(g), which enhances ICE deportation capacity.

Concurring with statements by the committee chairman, Rep. Goodlatte, who believes President Obama has “gutted the interior enforcement of our laws," Vaughan stresses:

"One of the most urgent tasks now before Congress is to restore integrity to our immigration laws by ending the massive catch and release scheme put in place by the Obama administration, implementing more effective deterrents to illegal settlement, and providing the tools for more efficient enforcement."