In February 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released over 2,000 detained illegal aliens, under the façade of budgetary cuts that had yet to occur. (see FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 4, 2013) Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) along with four other Republican Members of the Georgia delegation, Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves, and Paul Broun, sent DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano a letter requesting an explanation and more detail about the releases.
While news outlets and congressional testimony over the subsequent weeks uncovered that DHS released at least 2,226 illegal aliens instead of the several hundred claimed by administration officials, Congressman Collins’ letter went unanswered. Undeterred, the five Georgian signatories sent a follow-up letter signed by an additional three GOP Representatives from the State, Jack Kingston, Tom Price, and Austin Scott. This letter included five additional questions concerning details specific to Georgia detention facilities.
On May 7, a full five weeks beyond the March 31 deadline to reply, DHS sent a generic response to the Georgia Republicans that lacked conclusive answers to all of the original letter’s questions. Audaciously, on May 16 Rep. Collins received an identical letter from DHS that claimed to be a response to the second letter, with the only changes being the date and the underling who signed the letter.
DHS’s use of generic and systematic responses to tough questions clearly demonstrates that the decision to release thousands of illegal aliens was an inherently political move. Instead of taking accountability for this overt disregard of DHS’s mission of enforcing immigration laws and protecting the public, the Department has dismissed the concerns of the Congressmen and the American public.