In The News

Gohmert Questions Panel on Immigration Laws

Marshall News Messenger, By Robin Y. Richardson

In a House Judiciary Hearing this week, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) questioned a panel of distinguished experts on enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, sharing his experience as a former state district judge.

“I know the testimony earlier that about 50 percent of those illegally here, after being released without being deported, commit crimes against other Americans,” Gohmert said to the panel in a five-minute address, referring to a statistic mentioned earlier in the hearing. “I know as judge, when I was considering bail or bond, that was a primary consideration, the likelihood of them returning and the public safety.

“I can’t imagine releasing somebody on a (makeable) job, if both sides agree the defendant had a 50 percent chance of reoffending, committing a further crime if I let him go,” Gohmert said, calling it unconscionable.

“When we talk about the children and the women and the people across American and protection of families, my gosh, we’re releasing criminals to go after them? That is outrageous,” he said.

Gohmert said, right now, the nation is in a cycle of letting criminals go.

“The criminal law in America is something that concerns me at the federal level because of something called the Anti-deficiency Act,” he said, referring to legislation enacted by Congress to prevent the incurring of obligations or the making of expenditures (outlays) in excess of amounts available in appropriations or funds.

Gohmert said the law’s very clear that if Congress appropriates money for one purpose, it’s not to be used for another purpose unless proper steps are utilized.

He asked the panel of witnesses if they knew where the money came from to award more than 5 million work permits in Crystal City.

“I know we heard through the news there was a facility built over in Crystal City for awarding these amnesty work permits. Some of us are wondering where that money came from,” he said. “We are clamoring that they need more money but where did that money come from because I know Congress certainly was not notified that they were shifting funds from one appropriated purpose to Crystal City and to awarding these five million or so work permits that basically amount to amnesty. Do any of the witnesses know where that money came from?”

Responding to his question, witness Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center of Immigration Studies, said that is a legitimate question.

“I think that’s something that Congress should be asking because USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the agency that’s responsible for issuing these benefits, has not collected a single dime in fees from any future applicants for the new deferred action work permit program so, it certainly appears that they have perhaps been hoarding money skimmed from the fees paid by legal immigrants,” Vaughan said. “USCIS is funded by fees paid by legal immigrants and their sponsors for a service that they get.”

Gohmert said the issue is a problem. “We have seen reports that people, my office is helping, that came here legally as immigrants, we welcomed, trying to get a spouse in,” he said. “They have paid higher fees to try to expedite those and it turns out, this administration is illegally moving that money over to give priority to people that came in illegally; thus, putting people that are trying to do the legal immigration process a terrible disservice by putting them at the back of the line.”

Since Vaughan is in the business of investigating such i ssues, Gohmert asked her to assist his office. He also encouraged another witness on the panel, Jan C. Ting, professor of law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law, to review the Anti-deficiency Act.

“I encourage you as a law professor if you would to look at that,” he said.

Addressing Paul Babeu, sheriff of Panal County in Florence, Arizona, Gohmert informed him that Congress has the power to help law enforcement do their job without the interference of CIS.

“I hear you say, sheriff, 30 to 50 criminals per day are being released in your county alone by CIS. That’s the very people the president has called bad actors and yet his policies are responsible for letting him go upon the families of America,” Gohmert said. “I’m very concerned about the way the money is being spent.

“Congress has the power even after the Supreme Court decision in the Arizona case, to ask for help and appropriate money. Sheriff would you have any problem if we block granted money from CIS to local law enforcement to get local law enforcement to help do the job that CIS is not being allowed to do?” Gohmert asked.

The sheriff responded, “No problem, what so ever.”