As the new Secretary goes before the House Judiciary, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network submits the following questions for him:
1. A Senate Oversight Committee revealed shortly after the announcement of your deportation review that former ICE director John Sandweg was in close collaboration with the Inspector General charged with producing an independent review of the controversial Se Communities deportation quota program, and he tampered with the report. Rep. Roybal-Allard has called for a new OIG report to uncover the truth about the program.
When can we expect a new Inspector General investigation to be announced? How can we trust the current review, if a former Inspector General review- precisely about DHS misrepresentations– was itself tampered with?
2. A New York Times article earlier this year referenced “a goal of 400,000 deportations a year — a number that was scrawled on a whiteboard at their Washington headquarters” and ICE union leader Chris Crane had previously told the Washington Post that “For ICE leadership, it’s not about keeping the community safe. It’s all about chasing this 400,000 number.” Upon taking the office of DHS Secretary, Johnson wrote in a letter to Senator Durbin that “I do not believe that deportation quotas or numeric goals are a good idea.”
Can you confirm that ICE policy was previously driven by accomplishing a deportation quota? Where did that policy come from and have you since ended it?
3. One bright spot of the Obama administration’s immigration record is the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that offered temporary relief from deportation and access to work authorization for a segment of undocumented youth. In February of this year, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network submitted a formal rulemaking petition providing the legal rationale for an expansion of the program and requesting a change in DHS policy to halt deportations.
Has your department reviewed the petition and when can we expect the response, as required by law?
4. In instructing the Secretary to review deportation policy to “make them more humane,” many saw an opportunity to reverse the Arizonification that was emblematic of Johnson’s predecessor at DHS. However, earlier this week, White House officials announced that the unknown results of that review will be delayed at least until August when the legislative session ends indicating that its approach to immigration policy is being crafted by political considerations.
How are decisions on immigration policy within the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement being made? Is it your assessment that the record deportations preceding your tenure were politically motivated as a “down payment” attempt to court anti-immigrant Republicans for reform and establish the President’s enforcement credentials, or has the Administration’s approach been triangulation for political gain on the wedge issue?
Having planned to produce results from your review this month, what is your own explanation for delaying action and continuing practices and programs, such as Se Communities, that you have identified for reform and whose unjust and inhumane impact is clear and open to the public?
5. “Se Communities” is widely recognized as a failure, having caused gross civil rights violations and undermining public safety. A growing consensus of lawmakers, civil rights advocates, and law enforcement have called for its complete termination. A movement has emerged with more than 60 state and local jurisdictions attempting to “opt out” of S-Comm by refusing to submit to unconstitutional ICE Holds. Recently, Secretary Johnson said to law enforcement that he was taking a “fresh look” at SCOMM in order to prepare for a “reboot.”
Why not just end the program?