Republicans on the Senate Judiciary and Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest have sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding to know why federal law enforcement agencies are enabling sanctuary cities to harbor dangerous, criminal illegal aliens through the Priority Enforcement Program. They also accuse DHS of endangering and playing "Russian roulette" with American lives.
"We write regarding the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which requires immigration law officers and agents to ignore plain law and public safety, solely to the benefit of criminal aliens in the United States. This program, along with the so-called “enforcement priorities” outlined in your November 20, 2014, memorandum titled “Priorities for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants,” are contrary to law and pose direct threats to public safety," the letter states. "Your Department has refused to confront so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions, endangering the public safety and leading to tragedies such as the recent killings of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco, California, and Angelica Martinez in Laredo, Texas. These deaths are the result of such sanctuary jurisdictions’ dangerous policies, and this Administration’s refusal to do anything to stop them. Yet, rather than enhance the successful Secure Communities program, confront sanctuary jurisdictions, defend federal law enforcement’s legitimate use of detainers, request additional resources, or ask Congress for a legislative solution, your Department has unilaterally designed a program that will endanger the American people."
Johnson has been asked to answer a series of questions by July 21st about criminal aliens being able to stay inside the United States. Here are a few:
1. How many aliens present in the United States today have ever been arrested for a criminal offense?
2. How many aliens present in the United States today have ever been convicted of a criminal offense?
3. How many aliens with final orders of removal remain in the United States today?
a. Of those, please specify how many have ever been arrested for any criminal offense.
b. Of those, please specify how many have ever been convicted of any criminal offense.
4. From fiscal year 2009 through the present, how many detainers has your Department issued? Of those, how many were honored?
8. Does DHS have any projections as to how many criminal aliens with any record of a criminal arrest or conviction will be permitted to stay in the United States after full implementation of PEP? If so, please provide them.
11. How many jurisdictions that had previously refused to honor detainers or otherwise cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement have committed to comply with PEP in its entirety?
13. In light of the tragic murders of Kathryn Steinle and Angelica Martinez last week, is it still the Administration’s position that federal immigration detainers should not be mandatory?
The letter was sent and signed by Senators Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, Chuck Grassley, David Perdue, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Thom Tillis, and Orrin Hatch.
The Department of Homeland Security has released more than 50,000 criminal aliens, some of whom have murder and rape convictions, onto American streets over the past four years. There are more than 200 sanctuary cities in the United States.