Hatch, Senate Colleagues Push for Enforcement of Immigration Laws

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wednesday joined Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and four more Republican colleagues in urging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop trying to “grant administrative amnesty to millions of illegal aliens” and to start enforcing immigration laws.

In their, July 13, 2011, letter to ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton, Hatch and the other senators took issue with the memoranda Morton issued last month that directed ICE agents to use prosecutorial discretion and consider a variety of other factors when arresting, detaining and removing illegal aliens.

“We believe these memoranda attempt to grant administrative amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and create an utterly unprincipled enforcement strategy that is an affront to the rule of law and to the authority of the United States Congress,” the senators told Morton in the letter.

Morton’s memoranda to ICE agents and attorneys directed them to use “prosecutorial discretion” in enforcing the law and to take into account a variety of factors when exercising that discretion, including aliens’ age, ties to the community, length of time in the U.S., criminal history, educational pursuits and circumstances of arrival, among other things.

“These items, while representing only some of the considerations outlined in your memorandum, are almost identical to the provisions allowing for amnesty under the DREAM Act. As you recall, the DREAM Act failed last December due to bipartisan opposition. By including these elements as “considerations” for prosecutorial discretion, we believe you have expressly flaunted Congress’s Constitutional authority and the will of the American people,” the senators continued in their letter to Morton.

Hatch’s immigration bill, introduced in two consecutive Congresses, contains a provision that would ban the Obama administration from abusing the parole and deferral process to grant mass amnesty to illegal aliens.

Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also signed the letter to Morton.

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