Randy's Blog

RSS Feed
Posted by Randy | November 10, 2011

The House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee recently issued a subpoena to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a list of 300,000 illegal and criminal immigrants the agency has declined to detain or place in removal proceedings.  Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith asked for this information in August but to date, DHS has not provided the requested information.  Criminal aliens are targeted with the Secure Communities program, which is intended to keep our neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted.  The Administration recently made changes to Secure Communities that could open the door to allow millions of illegal and criminal immigrants to avoid current immigration laws.  Specifically, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued two memos to agency officials on how to exercise blanket “prosecutorial discretion,” such as granting deferred action, deciding whom to stop, question, arrest, or detain, and dismissing a removal proceeding.  I recently had the opportunity to question Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on this flawed policy and found her answers troubling and inadequate; I support Chairman Smith's efforts to hold the Administration accountable for declining to detain and remove over 300,000 illegal and criminal immigrants.

Question of the Week:
Do you support the efforts of the House Judiciary Committee to hold the Administration accountable for failing to detain and remove over 300,000 illegal and criminal immigrants?

(  )  Yes.
(  )  No.
(  )  Other (Share your thoughts below).
(  )  I am unsure.

Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week's instaPoll here.

Posted by Randy | September 12, 2011
An audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that illegal workers collected $4.2 billion in a tax credit known as the Additional Child Tax Credit, a refundable credit meant for authorized working families. The audit found that the expansion of the tax credit in stimulus legislation, among other things, to be the reason for the increased number of illegal workers collecting the money.

The inspector general's office said 2.3 million undocumented filers claimed the credit in 2010, adding up to $4.2 billion worth of refunds.

To allow illegal workers to benefit from tax credits meant for authorized U.S. workers not only contradicts federal law, but it is fundamentally unfair to those workers who have gone through the legal process to become authorized to work in the United States. Additionally, at a time when our national debt stands at over $14 trillion, we cannot afford to allow $4.2 billion to be doled out illegally.

Read more in this article from the Washington Post.

Weigh in – do you believe illegal workers should receive U.S. tax credits meant for authorized workers?
Posted by Randy | September 02, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently created a working group to conduct a file-by-file review of all active cases currently involved in illegal immigrant deportation proceedings.  The purpose of this working group is to overrule, on a “case-by-case” basis, an immigration court’s final order of removal and prevent the court from issuing the order. The act would essentially close the cases of illegal immigrants and allow them to stay.

The new DHS policy blatantly ignores our immigration laws. I believe the Administration should enforce immigration laws, not look for ways to ignore them.  Rather than picking and choosing which laws to enforce, Administration officials would do well to remember the oath of office they took to uphold the laws of our nation.

I want to know what you think about the new DHS policy. Weigh in below.

Posted by Randy | August 25, 2011

A recent memo written by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton and sent to all agents in charge, chief counsel, office directors and special agents, stated that ICE does not have enough resources to deal with illegal immigrants who happen to be students, and therefore, they should have less of a chance of deportation due to the criteria used when making decisions about who will be deported known as "prosecutorial discretion."  This has been viewed by many in Congress, including me, as a backdoor implementation of the DREAM Act, a form of amnesty Congress rejected last year.  A working group from the Homeland Security and Justice Departments met Friday to initiate a review of about 300,000 deportation cases currently before the immigration courts. Under the policy, immigration authorities will use powers of prosecutorial discretion in existing law to suspend the deportations of most immigrants who, although they have committed immigration violations, have not been convicted of crimes. In particular, officials will look to halt deportations of longtime residents with clean police records.  In response, I am supporting the HALT Act (Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act).  The bill will halt any current or planned Administrative actions that fail to enforce our nation's laws or result in the mass legalization of illegal immigrants.

Question of the Week: Do you support efforts to enforce our nation's immigration laws and halt indirect attempts at amnesty?

(  ) Yes
(  ) No
(  ) Other (share your thoughts on my blog)
(  ) I am unsure.

Take the poll here.

Read comments from the previous instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | July 12, 2011

Two weeks ago, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – the agency that is supposed to remove illegal and criminal immigrants – issued a memo that could potentially make millions of deportable illegal and criminal immigrants eligible for administrative amnesty. The memo was sent to the field, telling agency officials how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” such as granting deferred action, “deciding whom to stop, question, or arrest,” deciding “who to detain,” and “dismissing” a removal proceeding. The ICE memo ordered agency officials to consider factors such as:

  • ICE’s immigration enforcement priorities. However, ICE has expressed little interest in deporting illegal immigrants who have not yet been convicted of “serious” crimes.
  • The illegal immigrant’s pursuit of education in the United States.  The Migration Policy Institute estimates that more than two million illegal immigrants would be eligible for amnesty under the DREAM Act.
  • Whether the illegal immigrant has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child or parent; or whether the illegal immigrant or their spouse is pregnant.  The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that illegal immigrants have four million U.S.-born and thus U.S. citizen children.
  • The illegal immigrant’s length of presence in the U.S. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that millions of illegal immigrants have been in the U.S. since the 1990s.

Last year, a similar draft memo written by top officials at ICE suggested that the agency take steps to legalize illegal immigrants through deferred action or parole to an unrestricted number of illegal immigrants.

While the Administration has the power to parole illegal immigrants in the U.S. “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” the Administration is abusing this authority by encouraging the irresponsible expansion of the use of prosecutorial discretion for the purpose of administrative amnesty.

Congress is the entity in charge of setting immigration policy. By implying that immigration law should not be fully enforced, the Administration is ignoring the will of Congress and the American people through a form of backdoor amnesty.

In response, I have cosponsored the HALT (Hinder the Administration's Legalization Temptation) Act. The bill will halt any current or planned administrative actions that will result in mass legalization of illegal immigrants and that imply immigration law should not be fully enforced.

You can read an op-ed on the issue by my colleague Rep. Lamar Smith here.

Posted by Randy | July 06, 2011
At a recent Senate hearing on the DREAM Act, hundreds of illegal immigrants filled the hearing room to participate in the hearing. The DREAM Act would give permanent legal status to illegal immigrants, up to age 35, who arrived in the United States before age 16, provided they complete two years of college or serve two years in the military.

Senator Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, acknowledged illegal aliens present at the hearing and falsely stated that one day, one of the illegal aliens present could become President of the United States.

However, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution says: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."

Senator's Durbin's comments and the participation of illegal immigrants in the hearing have drawn sharp criticism from many individuals, and I want you to weigh in. What do you think of Senator Durbin’s constitutionally false claim? Do you oppose any form of amnesty for illegal aliens, including the DREAM Act?  Share your comments below.

Read about my thoughts immigration and the DREAM Act here.
Posted by Randy | June 21, 2011
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that under current law, immigrants who had been admitted to the United States and then ordered to be removed, often for criminal reasons, could not be detained in the U.S. for more than six months. Then, in 2005 in the case of Clark v. Martinez, the Supreme Court expanded its 2001 decision to apply to illegal immigrants.

Unfortunately, not every criminal immigrant who is ordered to be removed can be. Many countries are unwilling to issue travel documents necessary for these individuals to return to their countries, especially for those individuals who have committed a crime.

As a result, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security have had no choice but to release thousands of criminal immigrants into American communities. In the last two years alone, close to 10,000 immigrants with orders of removal were released because their own countries refused to take them back, including rapists, murderers and other dangerous criminals.

There is simply no reason an arbitrary six-month limit should put our communities and families at risk.

Just last week, I cosponsored the Keep Our Communities Safe Act to allow the DHS to detain dangerous criminal immigrants beyond six months. The bill would allow the detentions for criminal immigrants who are under orders of removal but cannot be deported, as long as certain conditions are met, such as if the immigrant is an aggravated felon, has committed a crime of violence, or is a threat to national security.

One of the most fundamental obligations of the federal government is to protect its citizens. There is no reason to leave uncorrected a law that forces the release of some of the most dangerous criminals in federal custody.

Read more about the Keep Our Communities Safe Act here.

I want to know what you think. Is it important that we correct a law that forces the release of criminals into American communities?
Posted by Randy | June 14, 2011
In December 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national who was issued a visa in July 2008, attempted to blow up a plane en route to Detroit on Christmas Day. Although Abdulmutallab’s father had expressed concerns of his son’s radicalism, U.S. authorities failed to revoke his visa.  Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a citizen of Saudi Arabia was admitted to the United States in 2008 on a student visa.  He was later charged with the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device and his research of potential U.S. targets.

What do both these terrorists have in common?  They used loopholes in the U.S. visa process to enter the United States legally with a shared intention of committing acts of terror against the United States.  With a stricter visa system, these recent attempts of terrorism could have likely been prevented.

That is why I am cosponsoring the Secure Visas Act, which prevents terrorists from obtaining U.S. visas and allows U.S. officials to expedite the removal of terrorists who are in the United States on visas.  In addition to authorizing the Secretary of Homeland Security to refuse or revoke visas when necessary for U.S. national security interests, this bill enhances visa security by mandating that the Department of Homeland Security maintain Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Visa Security Units (VSUs) at the 19 posts that currently have them, while also expanding units to the numerous posts that ICE has designated as “highest-risk” countries—including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon and Algeria. VSUs are essential for national security because at VSU posts, 100% of applicants receive close additional screening, compared to only 2% of applicants that receive extra screening at non-VSU posts.

Join the discussion -do you support reforming the visa process to prevent future acts of terrorism?
Posted by Randy | June 09, 2011
As of 2009, there were 10.8 million unlawful aliens in the United States according to estimates from the Department of Homeland Security. These illegal aliens cost taxpayers billions of dollars and take jobs away from hard-working Americans.

Under the President’s health care law, individuals applying to receive health care subsidies are only required to provide a Social Security number, their name and date of birth. As a result, illegal aliens are given an easy opportunity to circumvent the law that denies subsidized health care to illegal aliens.

I am co-sponsoring the No Health Care Subsidies for Illegal Aliens Act. This bill would require those applying for health care subsidies to submit a sworn statement attesting to their legal status as well as provide satisfactory documentation that proves they are either a U.S. citizen or that they entered the country legally.

Weigh in with your thoughts on how we should ensure that illegal aliens do not receive health care subsidies.
Posted by Randy | May 31, 2011
The U.S. Border Patrol has operational control of less than 44 percent of the southwest border and has reached an acceptable level of security on only 32 of approximately 4,000 miles along the northern border, according to recent testimony from the Government Accountability Office.

The preamble of our Constitution states that the primary responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense.  The first step in achieving this goal is to effectively secure our borders by preventing unlawful entries, illicit drugs and other contraband from entering our nation.

I’ve recently cosponsored the Secure Border Act, which will require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a plan to gain operational control of our borders within five years.  The bill requires DHS to take into account staffing requirements and infrastructure needs such as pedestrian fencing, vehicle barriers, and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, technology and sensors.

What are your thoughts on the Secure Border Act?  Read more about my solutions for addressing our broken immigration system here.