|For Immediate Release
July 19, 2012
Contact: Jessica Baker, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Oversight Hearing on the Department of Homeland Security
Chairman Smith: Welcome, Secretary Napolitano, to today’s oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS is responsible for the enforcement of America's immigration laws. But under the current Administration, the Department has instead worked to undermine those laws. And it has actively worked to make sure that many others else enforces our immigration laws either.
Obama Administration officials recently decided to grant blanket amnesty under the guise of “deferred action” and also work authorization to potentially millions of illegal immigrants. This unprecedented decision ignores the rule of law that is the foundation of our democracy.
In exercising its responsibility to see that the laws are faithfully executed, the Executive Branch does have the power of prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis. But this authority cannot be used to systematically dismantle our immigration laws.
More than a century and a half ago, the Supreme Court noted that the President’s constitutional power to enforce our laws does not imply that they can forbid their execution. President Obama understood this when he admitted last year that “there are laws on the books that Congress has passed," so the Administration cannot "just suspend deportations through executive order.”
But President Obama has broken this promise to the American people. This Administration’s decision to grant administrative amnesty on a mass scale ignores the rule of law and the separation of powers.
The Administration’s amnesty agenda is a win for illegal immigrants but a loss for Americans. When illegal immigrants are allowed to live and work in the U.S., unemployed American workers have to compete with illegal immigrants for scarce jobs. With 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, this amnesty only makes their lives harder.
The Obama Administration’s amnesty is also a magnet for fraud. Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came to the U.S. as children and this Administration refuses to take the steps necessary to check whether their claims are true or not.
Time and again, the Department of Homeland Security has gone out of its way to avoid the enforcement of immigration laws. The Department of Homeland Security’s policy of non-enforcement will continue to cost innocent Americans their jobs.
As Secretary of Homeland Security, you, Madame Secretary, like all Americans, must be extremely concerned about the recent disclosure of national secrets. The methods and sources of intelligence we use to protect homeland security must be kept strictly secret. When these secrets leak and become public knowledge, American lives are threatened.
Recent damaging leaks include operational details of the Bin Laden raid, specifics about how we conduct cyber security, and information about drone strikes. Because of these leaks our enemies now know how we will hunt them, which will only make the hunt more difficult.
Homeland security depends on our ability to keep secrets from those who would attack our homeland. When these secrets leak and become public knowledge, our people and our national interest are put in jeopardy. When our enemies know our secrets, American lives are endangered.
The government’s ability to keep national security secrets depends on identifying the causes of the recent leaks and putting a stop to them. That is why I have asked to interview senior officials who may have information on how these secrets became public.
The Department of Homeland Security has the responsibility to deter and prevent terrorists from attacking the United States. To do this, we must protect the details of our intelligence gathering.