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March 31, 2015

Immigration Pushback: 22 Republican Senators Rip Obama for Slowing Deportations

Sessions (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sessions (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group of 22 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged President Barack Obama not to proceed with another plan to limit deportations of immigrants here illegally.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing immigration policy on Obama’s orders, with an eye toward limiting deportations that break up families — and as an immigration overhaul effort has stalled in the House.

“According to reports, the changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement and discard the rule of law and the notion that the United States has enforceable borders,” the letter said. “Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it.”

The review comes after the administration has come under intense pressure by advocates of an immigration overhaul to take further steps to reduce the number of deportations. Deportations have reached record levels under Obama, causing some of his allies to label him “Deporter-In-Chief.”

But many Republicans have ripped the president for taking matters into his own hands already, including in 2012, when the administration issued a policy granting deportation relief and work permits to children brought here illegally, provided they met certain criteria.

“The evidence proves that the Administration has collapsed immigration enforcement,” said Sen. Jeff Session of Alabama, the lead author of the letter and leading critic of the president’s immigration proposals. “As a result, millions of struggling Americans have been deprived of their jobs and incomes. Congress must work to end the lawlessness and restore constitutional order. Yet Congressional Democrats continue to empower the illegality and stonewall all efforts to stop it.”

The letter argues that Obama’s policies have already allowed people with criminal backgrounds to remain in the country. “Since [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] frequently takes no action until after the most serious crimes have occurred and the offenders have been tried and imprisoned, the administration is allowing preventable crimes harming innocent people to take place every day.”

The letter further argues that policy ignores the law, which “exceed the bounds of the Executive Branch’s prosecutorial discretion. It is not the province of the Executive to nullify the laws that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have chosen to enact. …”

“You swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the letter said. “We therefore ask you to uphold that oath and to carry out the duties required by the Constitution and entrusted to you by the American people.”

The full text of the letter and the signers are below:

April 24, 2014

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our grave concerns over the immigration “enforcement review” that you ordered after meeting with advocacy groups on March 13, 2014, and that is now being carried out by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to reports, the changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement and discard the rule of law and the notion that the United States has enforceable borders.

Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it. Since 2009, your administration has issued policy directives and memoranda incrementally nullifying immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States – to the point that unless individuals in the country illegally are apprehended, tried, and convicted for a felony or other serious offense, they are free to live and work in the country.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) own figures, in 2013, nearly all individuals removed from the United States were convicted criminals and recent border crossers.[1] As the LA Times reported, since 2009, there has been a 40% decline in removals of individuals living and working in the interior of the country.[2] And, recently revealed documents from ICE show that in 2013, the agency released 68,000 potentially deportable aliens deemed by ICE to pose a criminal threat.

As a result of your policies, individuals here illegally who do not meet administration “priorities” are not only largely exempt from the law, but are released even if they come into contact with federal law enforcement authorities. Because these priorities require at least one, and frequently multiple, criminal convictions, countless dangerous offenders are released back onto the streets on a continual basis. Since ICE frequently takes no action until after the most serious crimes have occurred and the offenders have been tried and imprisoned, the administration is allowing preventable crimes harming innocent people to take place every day.

Chris Crane, President of the National ICE Council, testified before Congress about the inability of ICE agents to do their jobs, saying: “I think most Americans assume that ICE agents and officers are empowered by the Government to enforce the law. Nothing could be further from the truth. With 11 million people in the country illegally, ICE agents are now prohibited from arresting individuals solely on charges of illegal entry or visa overstay—the two most frequently violated sections of U.S. immigration law.” He also described how your administration is punishing ICE agents who want to uphold the oath they took to serve America. He stated: “As criminal aliens are released to the streets and ICE instead takes disciplinary actions against its own officers for making lawful arrests, it appears clear that Federal law enforcement officers are the enemy and not those that break our Nation’s laws.”[3]

These policies have operated as an effective repeal of duly enacted federal immigration law and exceed the bounds of the Executive Branch’s prosecutorial discretion. It is not the province of the Executive to nullify the laws that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives, have chosen to enact. To the contrary, it is the duty of the Executive to take care that these laws are faithfully executed. Congress has not passed laws permitting people to illegally enter the country or to ignore their visa expiration dates, so long as they do not have a felony conviction or other severe offense on their record. Your actions demonstrate an astonishing disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, and the rights of American citizens and legal residents.

Our entire constitutional system is threatened when the Executive Branch suspends the law at its whim and our nation’s sovereignty is imperiled when the commander-in-chief refuses to defend the integrity of its borders.

You swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We therefore ask you to uphold that oath and to carry out the duties required by the Constitution and entrusted to you by the American people.


U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL),
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA),
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY),
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK),
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR),
U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA),
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS),
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX),
U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID),
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS),
U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID),
U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE),
U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA),
U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND),
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE),
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL),
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO),
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT),
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK),
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC),
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA),
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

  • rome44

    I’m not surprised Cruz signed this letter. He is so anti-hispanic I don’t know why Hispanics ever voted for him in the first place or could be voter apathy in the hispanic community. He is totally anti working people anyway he runs around the country crying “repeal Obamacare” and has done absolutely nothing for the hispanic community. We need to get rid of this guy send him packing back to where he came from. Canada for all I care.

    • greg huggins


      • rome44

        Anti hispanic is not all I said, but since they are the only words you focused on. I’ll address it, I live in TX Spanish has been spoken here 200 yrs. before English speakers ever arrived, our people have lived here before the US was born. Borders separate us now but the family, traditions and culture still bind us. Thus the movement of our people will continue to flow back and forth. It’s been this way for centuries. We didn’t come here from across oceans without invitations from the Native Americans.
        My words were meant to shine the light on a politician who was brought here by the gop money people to get elected and pack the senate to further the gop’s agenda which is totally anti-worker, anti-middle class. Cruz could care less about the people of TX who are struggling financially (look at the stats) and are without health insurance. Every time, I hear him it’s the same thing “repeal Obamacare” but he never provides a solution. That’s why I despise Cruz besides he’s not one of ours.

      • Shane

        Dems only care about winning; they are ruthless, unpatriotic, and amoral.

    • Goon’s ND Redneck

      I highly doubt that Cruz is anti Hispanic. I know a lot of Hispanics that can’t stand that illegal aliens and the fact that they dems are cow towing to them. They’re in the country illegally.

      • rome44

        Doubt’s are not facts. I judge him on his stance on immigration, and other issues not relevant at this time I do not believe you that you know a lot of hispanics. Their concentrations are certainly not in ND. So far, politicians of both parties avoid the issue like the third rail, so who’s doing the cow towing. I live in TX, you could say I see the issue up close.
        It’s not the politicians driving the issue, it’s a grass root effort, it’s been going on for decades.
        Today millions of Dreamers as they’ve been coined, sons and daughters of illegals have been born here educated here, some can’t even speak the language of their parents. With our current policies on deportations families are being torn apart a cruel situation indeed. I can go on & on but perhaps you’ll get the picture as to the complexity of the situation.
        And lastly, redneck, the term illegal aliens if referring to our neighbors to the south are not aliens at all they are our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends they are our neighbors. As to the question of legality tell me this; did your ancestors receive proper documentation to come here ? Of coarse not, People had to die to make room for the white man now you want to shut the door behind you. Keep in mind hispanics have native blood coursing through their veins from that standpoint we’ve been here for centuries before it was discovered by the Europeans. So you won’t find any sympathy here. And to hell with Cruz

        • Goon’s ND Redneck

          Rome don’t tell me what I know or don’t know. First western North Dakota is crawling with “Illegal Aliens”, yes they’re illegals. Even the Hispanics I know refer to them as that. Many of these “Illegals” came to the Oil patch to work or do construction. Yes, there in the country illegally, they broke the law when they crossed the border.
          We shouldn’t be awarding law breakers citizenship. Maybe we should go to Mexico demand citizenship, refuse to speak Spanish. I wonder how we would be treated. The Mexican government treats “Illegals” worse than the USA does.

          • rome44

            Good if there’s plenty of work put them to work make them pay taxes.
            No one is proposing outright citizenship the current legislation before congress is no walk through the park. Look it up yourself. I’m more sympathetic to the Dreamers as I mentioned before and I really don’t care if you don’t like it.
            Mexico welcomes retiree’s including Americans in fact there appears to be over a million Americans living in Mexico and are very well treated and well provided for. So stop your crap.

          • Goon’s ND Redneck

            You stop your crap you sound like a mouth piece for La Razza. We have MS13 up in ND now as a result of porous borders. That last think we need is Mexico’s gang land problems polluting our neighborhoods

          • rome44

            Yea, Yea, Yea blame the immigrants that old worn out diatribe, never mind that Americans drive the business with their insatiable appetite for drugs and I speak for myself thank you very much. If illegal immigration is the stick in your craw why is that you don’t mention our northern border why you don’t talk about Canadians coming here to the US and take good paying American jobs. I’ve worked up in the northeast along side Canadians who also have no right to be here but they’re white so it’s OK very hypocritical don’t you think ?

          • Goon’s ND Redneck

            Last time I checked, the Canadians’ aren’t overrunning us and they haven’t brought MS-13 gangs and violence to our city streets and neighborhoods.

          • rome44

            I thought it was the illegal status that bothered you.

          • Goon’s ND Redneck

            Again genius, there’s not thousands of Canadians streaming across our borders over loading the system. We have millions of people unemployed and you want to just give away citizenship to people that are here illegally, putting them in front of the line of people that want to come here legally and go through the system. Again, with all of these people come from Mexico, also come the violence crimes and drugs. Like I said, we don’t want the drug cartels and MS-13 in our communities. Lastly, this is also nothing more than a democratic voter registration scheme, too. I

          • rome44

            Who did you check with, where are the stats you don’t know you’re just blowing smoke. It’s becoming very apparent to me you don’t read or digest my comments you just gloss over and pick what you like to answer. I’m not an advocate of outright citizenship read my past comments. I must confess I don’t know much of ms-13 or their activities but I do know this the violence is mostly among themselves for turf, like any enterprise they want you as a customer so if you smoke marijuana or do coke they’re eager to sell to you. Could it be there’s a market for drugs in your neck of the woods and that’s the reason why they’re there. Just asking.

          • Goon’s ND Redneck
          • rome44

            Stories like these are reported everyday somewhere in America. This has been going on for a very long time.
            As I stated earlier Americans have an insatiable appetite for drugs and the cartels are going to fill that need, for certain these dealers are not here for the weather but to supply drugs.
            I’m aware you want to highlight that immigrants just come here to brake our laws and commit acts of violence but you’ve strayed from the point you were trying to make that that’s all they are here for, the people I was referring to are common folk they are here for the American Dream to work hard and be able to provide an education for their children. For every criminal you point out I can point out thousands here in the southwest who day in & day out are law abiding citizens.
            If you hear anything worth discussing feel free to let me know.

    • admin
      • rome44

        What ?????????? Are you able construct a cohesive thought. The discussion was about illegal immigrants. Have you any inkling as to what it takes to acquire food stamps, much more to vote? Go do your due diligence before posting your nonsense.

  • sashley

    What is the meaning of our citizenship when the rewards awarded to illegal aliens by the U.S. Congress and The One trumps the penalty for their illegal presence and gives them financial advantages over citizens and those who came here the right way?

  • DrSquishy

    Republicans can kiss the Latino vote good-bye

    • Shane

      Not all Latinos have illegal alien relatives. I salute these patriotic Senators for doing what is right. Democrats should try it some time.

    • Goon’s ND Redneck

      That’s a stupid comment.

      • admin

        Squishy is morally corrupt

    • admin

      Latinos vote for food stamps and welfare , thus Obama and the dems

  • Gehrig Saldana

    Why did Texas Senator John Cornyn not sign this

    • Goon’s ND Redneck

      He’s a RINO…

  • greg huggins

    Obama!! Funneling welfare to mexicans so they can change our country to mexico 2!!!!!! HE WILL SOON DEPORT ALL AMERICAN LEGAL CITIZENS!!!!!!

    • rome44

      Go get in the welfare line and let me know how fast the funneling works.
      Ask any Native American their views on your so called legal status.

      • admin

        says the morally corrupt troll

        • rome44

          Wow, I’m impressed with your command of english.

  • Goon’s ND Redneck

    I am actually shocked that U.S. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) signed this thing, he’s been an utter disappointment so far. His cozying up to the dems to sign off on Shamnesty in the first place is troublesome.

  • John DiPaolo

    If it were common knowledge that immigration reform DOUBLES IMMIGRATION even Dems would disown it.

    Regarding Obama’s enforcement this just proves that any new laws to secure the border and interior will be no more enforced than current law.

    • rome44

      What is with you immigrant bashers why do you think they keep coming here ? Clueless ! “It’s American business” in agriculture Americans won’t do it, dirty service work Americans are not dependable, one tidbit for you; if all illegals working the casino’s in Vegas were to be deported tomorrow Las Vegas would shut down the same day, do you honestly believe those casino owners are going to allow that, you live in fantasyland. Businesses exploit this opportunity word gets out and they come here by whatever means. Focus your energies on employers to stop hiring illegals and they won’t come. See, it’s as simple as that.

  • admin

    Obama needs the illegals to vote for him

    • rome44

      Contrare my dear dullard, Obama was elected twice with more than enough legal registered voters. Where do guys like you live, more than that where do you come up with this notion that illegals can just walk into a voting booth to cast a vote it’s not like any pol is beholden to them for they must remain in the shadows.

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