|For Immediate Release
November 30, 2011
Contact: Jessica Baker, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement
Hearing on: “Is Secure Communities Keeping Our Communities Secure?”
Chairman Smith: Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) primary mission is to promote public safety through criminal and civil enforcement of federal immigration laws.
As part of ICE’s mission, the agency attempts to identify and remove illegal immigrants. Through Secure Communities, ICE uses existing information sharing between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to quickly and accurately identify immigrants who are arrested for a crime and booked into local law enforcement custody.
Under this program, the fingerprints of everyone arrested and booked are checked against FBI criminal history records and DHS immigration records to determine if immigration enforcement action is required.
Secure Communities is an important and effective immigration law enforcement program. This program simply makes sense. Who wouldn’t want to deport a criminal immigrant? But advocates for amnesty have raised opposition for one reason and one reason alone: Secure Communities works.
Unfortunately, Secure Communities has fallen prey to the White House’s demands that DHS bypass Congress and use discretionary Executive Branch authorities to grant back-door amnesty. While the program will be operational in all jurisdictions by 2013, DHS has announced “changes” to Secure Communities that could potentially allow millions of illegal and criminal immigrants to avoid deportation and work in the U.S, taking jobs away from Americans.
On August 22, 2011, I sent DHS a written request for information about removable illegal and criminal immigrants brought to the attention of ICE through Secure Communities on whom ICE elected not to take action. The Committee needs to determine which of these immigrants went on to commit additional crimes.
To date, I have not received the information requested, which forced the issuance of a subpoena. Apparently, the administration doesn’t want the American public to know what the facts are.
The Obama administration’s refusal to fully enforce immigration laws allows illegal immigrants to work legally in the United States, forcing millions of unemployed Americans to compete with them for scarce jobs.
The Obama administration remains on the wrong side of the American people when it comes to illegal immigration. According to a recent poll, two-thirds of the American people want to see our immigration laws enforced.
The administration is putting illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American taxpayers and unemployed Americans. The administration should enforce all the laws on the books, not just the ones it likes.