House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith issued a subpoena Friday to force the Department of Homeland Security to turn over records about illegal immigrants identified but not detained or removed by federal authorities.
Smith, R-Texas, acted after a subcommittee authorized the subpoena earlier this week.
"For the past two months, the Department of Homeland Security has dragged their feet and stonewalled my request for information," Smith said in a statement Friday. "The administration is wrongfully trying to keep crucial information from the American people."
Smith had asked the Obama administration in August for information about its Secure Communities program, which uses fingerprints collected in local jails around the country to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested. He said Wednesday the Obama administration was "not acting in good faith."
Smith has said he wants to know what crimes were committed by as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants DHS has chosen not detain.
DHS officials have said they're working on the request, and Democrats who opposed the subpoena said it was premature because DHS was cooperating with the subcommittee.
The Obama administration recently said it will prioritize deportations by removing illegal immigrants convicted of crimes and those who pose a public safety or national security threat first.
Smith and other Republicans have accused the administration of being too lenient and of circumventing Congress to grant amnesty many illegal immigrants.
The congressional subpoena of the Obama administration is the second this week. The other was related to a half billion-dollar government loan to a failed solar energy company.
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