Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee, accused Democrats of exploiting the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in order to push for "extreme changes in immigration policy."
"This concept ought to be simple: We should not turn our back on the citizens and lawful immigrants of this great country to favor those that broke the law and came here illegally or overstayed their visas," said the Ohio congressman during a conference call with Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence and Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Mark Morgan.
Democrats have called upon ICE and CBP to release illegal immigrants from custody, putting the interests of criminal aliens ahead of the protection and safety of the American people.
"Despite calls to just release potentially dangerous illegal immigrants back into our communities, you have both continued to uphold the rule of law while utilizing special authorities to ensure detainee health and safety," Rep. Jordan told Albence and Morgan. "These are unprecedented times and I really appreciate the amazing effort we have seen from the director, the commissioner and the rest of the administration to help keep the American people safe and combat this virus."
“While Americans are forced to stay at home and out of work, Democrats want to release detained illegal aliens, the majority of whom have criminal records, and also provide them with stimulus checks,” said Government Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-GA). “It’s unthinkable that anyone would push to give those who have broken the law more freedoms than law-abiding Americans.”
Republicans on the Oversight Committee put out a statement detailing the work the two immigration agencies have been doing amid the ongoing pandemic.
To keep custody numbers down, CBP has worked tirelessly to repatriate illegal immigrants to Mexico. According to Acting Commissioner Morgan, 80 percent of those apprehended along the southwest border are returned within "a couple of hours." Borders matter when "mitigating the impact of infectious disease," Morgan added, and we are in a "better position today to face a global pandemic."
ICE detainee intakes are now coming mostly from other law enforcement agencies, due to decreased activity along the southwest border. The agency is utilizing CDC guidelines at its facilities to help combat the spread of the virus among detainees. According to Acting Director Albence, ICE has released 693 individuals from detention due to medical risks associated with coronavirus complications. Albence said the agency took into account such factors as flight risk, public safety risk, and national security concerns before releasing each detainee. The agency is also working to repatriate Americans trapped abroad amid the global pandemic.
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