Civil Rights Commissioner: Will AG Nominee Enforce Immigration Law?

By Susan Jones | March 16, 2015 | 11:02am EDT

Peter Kirsanow is a Republican appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. (AP File Photo)

( - Before voting to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next U.S. attorney general, the Senate must ask her for a "definite statement" on whether she supports President Obama's executive amnesty; and whether she will enforce immigration law as written by Congress, says Peter Kirsanow, a Republican member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

In a March 14 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Kirsanow says Lynch "should not be confirmed" if she fails to explain exactly where she stands on Obama's executive actions and how she will enforce the law as it is written.

Kirsanow previously expressed concern that Lynch, during her confirmation hearing, stated that "everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here," shares the same "right and obligation to work."

"This statement is contrary to U.S. immigration laws," Kirsanow wrote in his letter to McConnell. "Illegal aliens are prohibited from working in this country. Yet the nominee for the office ultimately charged with enforcing those laws asserts otherwise."

Kirsanow also cited the negative impact of illegal immigration on black employment, both in job opportunities and in wages, particularly for black males who are more likely than other groups to hold low-skilled jobs.

"The obvious question is whether there are sufficient jobs in the low-skilled labor market for both African-Americans and illegal immigrants. The answer is no," he said.

Kirsanow pointed to research indicating that lower wages and fewer jobs correlate with an increase in the black incarceration rate.

And, he added, "Both lower wages and incarceration likely contribute to one of the most serious problems facing the African-American community today: the dearth of intact nuclear families."

Kirsanow also warned that granting amnesty to illegal immigrants will encourage more people to come to the United States illegally.

"The 1986 amnesty did not solve the illegal immigration problem. To the contrary, that amnesty established the precedent that if you come to America illegally, eventually you will obtain legal status. Even a rumor of amnesty will increase illegal immigration, as demonstrated by the cross-border surge in the summer of 2014."

Kirsanow, appointed by President George W. Bush, made it clear that he was writing to McConnell as one of eight commissioners, and "not on behalf of the Commissions as a whole." (Indeed, a notice at the top of the Commission's website says, "Any other documents or correspondence not listed on this website should not be considered as an official viewpoint of the Commission.")

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, at the request of 26 states, temporarily blocked President Obama's unilateral decision to let millions more illegal immigrants live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

When Judge Hanen later refused the Justice Department's request to suspend his injunction, the Justice Department turned to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is likely to rule in the "near future," Kirsanow said.

He noted that Lynch has indicated she supports the very actions blocked by the Texas judge: "It is respectfully submitted that such support would be contrary to an Attorney General’s obligation to support and defend the Constitution (as opposed to the policy preferences of a president) and faithfully discharge the duties of the office, including enforcing the immigration laws written by Congress.

"To countenance a usurpation by the executive branch of the legislative branch’s authority and support millions of people breaking the law should disqualify any nominee from being the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. Such support does profound and self-evident damage to the rule of law."

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