President Obama’s use of executive action to flood America with illegal aliens after Congress refused to go along with his plan has taken some recent hits.
A federal appeals court affirmed a lower court decision that suspended the administration’s action to delay deportation for up to 5 million illegal aliens. Congress also has found that deportations are plummeting even as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement receives more funding and the Obama White House has removed less than 1 percent of the aliens who overstayed their visas in 2015.
Now, two members of the administration have told Congress that walls, as GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump has advocated, help deter illegal aliens from coming into the U.S. The officials also revealed the number of illegals being deported is being held down not by funding or staffing issues, but because of Obama policy.
The testimony came this week in a congressional hearing held by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Sessions asked Ronald Vitiello, the acting chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, if physical barriers can help stop illegal immigration.
“Barriers, as in physical barriers?” Vitiello asked.
“Walls,” Sessions replied.
“They have been. They have been,” Vitiello said.
“They magnify the ability of a single officer to be able to cover more territory?” Sessions continued.
“Right, so, all of the things we use on the border, physical barriers, fencing as one, technology is a great benefit to us, plus the agencies still have to have that response as well,” Vitiello said.
Trump has made a major campaign issue out of his promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it.
Hear the testimony:
The testimony about the deportations came from Thomas Homan, executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations for ICE.
Sessions asked, “Isn’t it true that ICE ops is getting calls every day from police officers and departments all over America that are not sanctuary cities, and you’re not responding to them because they don’t meet the guidelines or priorities established by the president?”
Homan said, “That is true.”
Sessions continued, “So it’s not true then, that the reason your numbers are down is that you don’t have people to deport, you have ’em to deport but you have policy that tells you not to deport whole categories of people that are here unlawfully, isn’t that correct?”
“That’s a factor, yes sir,” Homan said.
See the comments:
Obama’s political organization, Obama for America, complains that Congress wouldn’t give him a “comprehensive immigration reform” as he wanted, so he is “taking action where he can to help fix our broken immigration system.”
His administration planned to give illegal aliens whose children are American citizens relief from deportation, among other concessions.
Obama’s political action website said, “Leadership in the House of Representatives won’t act on reform unless their members know they’re being held accountable.”
When the administration’s executive action was halted in court by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, administration lawyers argued the judge should drop his opposition.
They also gave him information about the administration’s granting of exemptions to deportation requirements.
But the administration’s lawyers weren’t completely truthful, and this week Hanen required the Department of Justice lawyers attend ethics classes.
He also is requiring the government to give him a list of about 100,000 immigrants who entered illegally and who were given protection from deportation by the Obama administration.
Hanen ordered Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to develop a plan to prevent unethical conduct by Obama administration lawyers in the future.
“Clearly, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about or adherence to the duties of professional responsibility in the halls of the Justice Department,” the judge wrote.
Hanen’s orders came in a lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 other states against Obama’s de facto amnesty.
The judge said the Obama administration’s decision to go ahead with the president’s immigration plan even after he issued a temporary hold on the actions in February 2015 prompted his response.