Grassley: Obama's Immigration ‘Policies Are at Odds with the Rule of Law’

Penny Starr | November 3, 2011 | 9:10pm EDT
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Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said at a Nov. 3, 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee mark-up session that the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to relax policing of transportation hubs along the northern U.S. border created a 'serious situation.' ( Starr)

( – Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday that the Obama administration's immigration polices are contrary to the rule of law.

“It’s well past time that the administration come to its senses and realize that their policies are at odds with the rule of law that our country was founded on,” Grassley said. “They must wake up and change their ways before it’s too late.”

Grassely also said it was “unfortunate” that the Senate Judiciary Committee learned about the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new policy of curbing routine checks for illegal aliens at transportation hubs along the northern border from an Associated Press news story.

“This is a serious situation that has been ignored by the secretary” of DHS, Grassley said at a Judiciary Committee session on Thursday, noting that he thought it was necessary to divert from the planned agenda to discuss DHS’s policy change.

DHS is headed by Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The AP reported last month that Customs and Border Protection agents, who asked to remain anonymous, told the news agency that they had been instructed by DHS to stop routinely checking buses, trains and airports for suspected illegal aliens.

While agents said the practice was “effective,” immigrant rights groups have criticized it as “racial profiling.”

The National Border Patrol Council, the AFL-CIO union representing border patrol agents, issued a statement on Oct. 27 criticizing the decision by DHS.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (AP Photo)

“In yet another move aimed to handcuff the effectiveness of Border Patrol agents, orders have been sent out from Border Patrol headquarters in Washington, D.C. to Border Patrol sectors nationwide that checks of transportation hubs and systems located away from the southwest border of the United States will only be conducted if there is intelligence indicating a threat,” the statement said.

“Stated plainly, Border Patrol managers are increasing the layers of bureaucracy and making it as difficult as possible for Border Patrol agents to conduct their core duties,” the statement said. “The only risks being managed by this move are too many apprehensions, negative media attention and complaints generated by immigrant rights groups.”

Grassley said the agency charged with protecting the homeland is instead putting the public safety at risk.

“This administration appears to be absolutely intent on turning a blind eye to people coming to this country illegally, thereby playing with the safety of the public,” Grassley said.

“This committee deserves answers,” Grassley said. “Will this committee just simply stand by while the department thumbs its nose at the United States Senate?”

Grassley noted that while DHS is relaxing policing of the U.S. border with Canada, the Department of Justice is suing states for enforcing immigration law. To date, the DOJ has filed suit to stop state immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama and, most recently, South Carolina.

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