Obama's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said that her agency would not crack down on sanctuary cities until Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform at a hearing on Tuesday.
Breitbart reports on this exchange between Sen. David Vitter and Saldana:
Vitter: “This has been going on for years and you still are not prepared to say that there is ever going to be any negative consequence to those [sanctuary] jurisdictions. When is that going to change?”
Saldaña: “I presume when you all address comprehensive immigration reform; perhaps it can be addressed there.”
Vitter was not pleased with Saldana's comment:
Vitter described Saldaña’s answer as “ridiculous” and kept pressing: “And absent Congress passing that [Senate immigration] bill, that you and the Obama Administration prefer, you don’t think right now we can stop sanctuary cities from flaunting federal law? You don’t think right now there can be any negative consequences when they do not properly cooperate under existing federal law with immigration enforcement?”
Saldaña gave a muddled reply: “That’s what I understand that all of you are working on.”
What's unbelievable is how after a very emotional hearing from families who had loved ones murdered by illegal aliens- which Dan provided the details of here- how Saldana can be so cold and callous about it by saying they won't do anything until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, which is basically code for amnesty. And as Breitbart notes, the Gang of Eight bill passed in the Senate two years ago would have provided amnesty to criminal illegal aliens, so passing amnesty wouldn't have done anything to stop these crimes.
But not only that, Saldana seemed to be rather disconnected from what her agency has been doing. Take a look at this exchange between Saldana and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz:
CRUZ: In the year 2014, how many criminal illegal aliens did the Obama administration release?
SALDANA: In 2014 it was a little over 30,000.
CRUZ: How many murderers?
SALDANA: Sir, I can't remember the number right now, but I know we had the statistic that was said earlier... but I can't provide you the exact number..."
CRUZ: How many rapists?
SALDANA: Umm. I am not sure right now.
CRUZ: How many drunk drivers?
Yesterday, how many murderers with the Obama administration release?
SALDANA: I can't answer that question.
As bad as it is that she couldn't answer those questions, the one statistic she did provide wasn't even accurate:
SEN. TED CRUZ: I want to know that your testimony here, on how many criminals ICE released in 2013, you were off by a factor of three. You said 30,000. The correct answer is 104,000. There were 68,000 criminal illegal aliens that ICE declined to begin deportation proceedings against. Despite the fact, that as Sen. Sessions observed the federal law that you are holding up there says they "shall" be deported.
The Obama admin refused to deport them. That is 68,000. In addition to that there are 30,000 in deportation proceedings with criminal proceedings that the Obama administration released. I would note that among those were 193 murderers with homicide convictions. 426 people with sexual assault convictions. 16,000 criminal illegal aliens with drunk driving convictions released by this administration because they refuse to follow the law.
SALDANA: Sir, those numbers, I am looking straight at them. You asked me I thought about 2014. That is 30,558. And the good news is, at least it went down from 2013, when it was 36,007.
CRUZ: But you are omitting the 68,000 criminal illegal aliens that ICE did not begin deportation proceedings against at all. You've got to add both of those together, it is over 100,000.
SALDANA: Yes, sir, that is absolutely right...
How is that the director of an agency is completely unaware of these statistics when this was all publicly available information? Saldana seems to be completely detached and indifferent to the number of criminal illegal aliens that ICE has refused to deport- as if she doesn't care about the consequences of the administration's actions.
And that's probably because she doesn't. Obama doesn't care either. Progressives don't care about the real-life consequences of their policies because their ideology is their religion. Which is why they refuse to crackdown on sanctuary cities unless amnesty is passed. Obama and his ilk want to change the makeup and culture of this country and view these illegal aliens as potential Democrat voters.
Cruz eventually tore Saldana and Obama apart for refusing to enforce the law:
There are too many politicians in Washington that talk a good game but don’t act. If you want to honor Josh [Wilkerson], if you want to honor Kate Steinle, start enforcing the law and stop releasing murderers, and rapists, and drunk drivers...
I don’t want to hear from the Obama administration they’re sorry while they continue to do the exact same thing because what we know – more people will be murdered, more people will be raped, more people will be killed by drunk drivers because this Administration refuses to enforce the law. That is wrong. No man is above the law, and that includes President Obama...
It is within your power to follow federal law. And this administration refuses to do so, and that is altogether unacceptable.
Cruz is right, of course. For Saldana to simply put the responsibility on Congress for not passing comprehensive immigration reform, which is really code for amnesty, is unacceptable. The executive branch does not have the power to pick and choose which laws to enforce. For Obama and ICE to not enforce the law, especially as essentially blackmail for amnesty, is the kind of behavior seen in a banana republic, and is a slap in the face to the families who testified at the hearing.
Congress does have a way to fight back. They can withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities, which the House will vote on this week. It will be interesting to see if it will pass the Senate, and then what Congress will do when Obama vetoes it.