Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14022644 (posted Feb. 26, 2014)"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC — The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) was disappointed by the tone and content of today's House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Enforcing the President's Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws."
"I was frankly disheartened by the hearing today," said AILA President Doug Stump. He continued, "This hearing was intended to examine the president's duty to execute the law. Well, with respect to immigration law, President Obama and his predecessor President Bush, have gone beyond faithfully enforcing immigration law to dramatically increase enforcement over the past decade.
"The federal government is spending nearly $20 billion on immigration enforcement each year resulting in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people. Congress has even mandated a quota requiring that 34,000 immigration detention beds be maintained every day to hold immigrants. But the steady increase in the Department of Homeland Security's immigration enforcement practices has undermined basic due process and the protection of civil rights. When that happens, our government is compromising the fundamental values on which our country and constitution were built.
"We know that the American people are tired of enforcement-at-all-costs and the Administration has made some effort through prosecutorial discretion and the Deferred Action initiative to acknowledge that our immigration system needs to have a foundation of compassion and fairness. But those efforts, unevenly and inconsistently implemented, are no replacement for the real immigration reform our country desperately needs.
"Instead of much of the rhetoric we heard at this hearing, our lawmakers should turn their attention to smart enforcement strategies as part of a comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system. Criminalizing undocumented immigrants will not make us safer. Enforcement should focus on those who pose an actual danger to public safety or national security. We urge the House to move toward a strong bipartisan approach, one that will establish tough standards, protect our nation, and provide a path out of the shadows for the undocumented," he concluded.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.