The nomination of Jeh Johnson to be the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will give Senators the opportunity to ask key questions about the Administration’s enforcement (or lack thereof) of federal immigration laws. Johnson served as the general counsel for the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012.
Johnson should make clear whether he intends to continue and expand the President’s unconstitutional power grab through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gives blanket amnesty by executive fiat to large numbers of illegal aliens through administrative implementation of the DREAM Act after it failed to pass Congress.
Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies speculates that Obama has probably concluded that amnesty is dead in Congress and wants Johnson to implement a whole series of new internal DHS memos similar to the DACA memo that would bypass Congress and legalize an even larger number of illegal aliens by expanding the “deferred action” amnesty.
The only type of nominee whom the Senate should confirm is someone who will enforce current federal immigration laws and does not believe that the executive branch has an unchecked ability to ignore the law and congressional mandates and grant amnesty at the President’s whim.
The Obama Administration has also attacked state and local governments over the past five years that have wanted to help the federal government control illegal immigration, including filing lawsuits against states such as Arizona.
Johnson should be asked whether he intends to continue this unseemly, unfair, and unwarranted attack on the states. No nominee should be confirmed who intends to continue this unwise policy instead of seeking the assistance of state and local governments in finding illegal aliens and helping the federal government in the enforcement of our immigration laws.
Further, some jurisdictions have tried to impede immigration enforcement by implementing “sanctuary” policies, and they continue to receive many forms of federal funding. Johnson should be asked whether he would allow DHS to continue to simply ignore those sanctuary policies or ensure that jurisdictions with such policies do not receive federal grants or funding from DHS.
The Administration has refused to make a simple administrative change that would enhance the ability to find and deport illegal aliens. The FBI maintains a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system that is used by law enforcement officials all over the nation to check whether there are outstanding federal or state warrants on individuals they detain or arrest. DHS should be required to provide information to the FBI for entry into the NCIC system on all aliens for whom final removal orders have been issued, who have overstayed their admission into the U.S., or who have entered into a voluntary departure agreement with DHS.
DHS has many vital responsibilities, and it needs a Secretary who understands his solemn duty to protect the nation and to respect and comply with the rule of law and the decisions made by Congress as the people’s representatives. It does not need another appointee who believes his only duty is to implement the political policies of his boss without regard to their legality or constitutionality.