Ben Johnson, The White House Watch
Have any of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Barack Obama ordered released gone on to commit other crimes? Congressional Republicans think you deserve to know the answer, Congressional Democrats think finding out violate illegal aliens’ rights, and the president is praying you’ll never find out.
The House Immigration Subcommittee voted to subpoena the names of all illegal immigrants referred to the government but not deported after the administration stonewalled releasing the records. The decision to authorize a subpoena passed on a 7-4 party-line vote.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said, “The American people have a right to know what crimes these 300,000 illegal immigrants committed after ICE intentionally chose not detain them.” Subcommittee chairman Elton Gallegly, R-CA, added he hoped to “uncover how many of these aliens committed additional crimes.” Meanwhile, Democrats on the committee insist subpoenas are unnecessary and do not respect illegals’ rights. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan claimed the administration is “acting in good faith,” and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California worries the subpoenas are an invasion of the illegal immigrants’ privacy.
The subpoena the vote authorizes Congressman Smith to make will demand the names of all illegal immigrants identified by the Secure Communities program but released. On August 22, Smith requested the identities of these released “harmless” illegals. When DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before Congress last week, Smith gave the department until October 31 to produce the names or face a subpoena.
Obama administration officials assumed Smith was bluffing. It assumed wrong.
Perhaps the most unremarked issue in the subpoena drama is the fact that the Obama administration has allowed 300,000 illegal immigrants to escape deportation. DHS admitted last week, of the 696,000 illegal immigrants local officials referred to immigration, it deported only 126,000 (although it says some turned out to be naturalized citizens).
Assuming the lower number is correct, that is the equivalent of a city the size of Pittsburgh circulating through the body politic. These illegals have already made contact with the law once, but the Left decided their infraction was insufficiently lethal to merit deportation (the penalty demanded by the law). By releasing them, the administration taught them the ease with which they may escape our legal strictures and bred contempt for their temporary homeland.
Tracking those several hundred thousand illegals may prove difficult. In a letter to Smith Wednesday, Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Nelson Peacock wrote….