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Zoe L.
Democrat CA 19

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  • Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015

    by Representative Zoe Lofgren

    Posted on 2015-01-13

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    LOFGREN. Mr. Chairman, some claim the President's actions are unconstitutional. That is not true.

    I submit for the Record a letter signed by 135 law professors and confirmed by four former chief counsels for Immigration about why his action was lawful.

    25 November 2014.

    We write as scholars and teachers of immigration law who have reviewed the executive actions announced by the President on November 20, 2014. It is our considered view that the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and establishment of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs are within the legal authority of the executive branch of the government of the United States. To explain, we cite federal statutes, regulations, and historical precedents. We do not express any views on the policy aspects of these two executive actions.

    This letter updates a letter transmitted by 136 law professors to the White House on September 3, 2014, on the role of executive action in immigration law. We focus on the legal basis for granting certain noncitizens in the United States ``deferred action'' status as a temporary reprieve from deportation. One of these programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was established by executive action in June 2012. On November 20, the President announced the expansion of eligibility criteria for DACA and the creation of a new program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

    prosecutorial discretion in immigration law enforcement Both November 20 executive actions relating to deferred action are exercises of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion refers to the authority of the Department of Homeland Security to decide how the immigration laws should be applied. Prosecutorial discretion is a long- accepted legal practice in practically every law enforcement context, unavoidable whenever the appropriated resources do not permit 100 percent enforcement. In immigration enforcement, prosecutorial discretion covers both agency decisions to refrain from acting on enforcement, like cancelling or not serving or filing a charging document or Notice to Appear with the immigration court, as well as decisions to provide a discretionary remedy like granting a stay of remova1, parole, or deferred action.

    Prosecutorial discretion provides a temporary reprieve from deportation. Some forms of prosecutorial discretion, like deferred action, confer ``lawful presence'' and the ability to apply for work authorization. However, the benefits of the deferred action programs announced on November 20 are not unlimited. The DACA and DAPA programs, like any other exercise of prosecutorial discretion do not provide an independent means to obtain permanent residence in the United States, nor do they allow a noncitizen to acquire eligibility to apply for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. As the President has emphasized, only Congress can prescribe the qualifications for permanent resident status or citizenship.

    statutory authority and long-standing agency practice Focusing first on statutes enacted by Congress, 103(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (``INA'' or the ``Act''), clearly empowers the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make choices about immigration enforcement. That section provides: ``The Secretary of Homeland Security shall be charged with the administration and enforcement of this Act and all other laws relating to the immigration and naturalization of aliens. . . .'' INA Sec. 242(g) recognizes the executive branch's legal authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion, specifically by barring judicial review of three particular types of prosecutorial discretion decisions: to commence removal proceedings, to adjudicate cases, and to execute removal orders. In other sections of the Act, Congress has explicitly recognized deferred action by name, as a tool that the executive branch may use, in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, to protect certain victims of abuse, crime or trafficking. Another statutory provision, INA Sec. 274A(h)(3), recognizes executive branch authority to authorize employment for noncitizens who do not otherwise receive it automatically by virtue of their particular immigration status. This provision (and the formal regulations noted below) confer the work authorization eligibility that is part of both the DACA and DAPA programs.

    Based on this statutory foundation, the application of prosecutorial discretion to individuals or groups has been part of the immigration system for many years. Longstanding provisions of the formal regulations promulgated under the Act (which have the force of law) reflect the prominence of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. Deferred action is expressly defined in one regulation as ``an act of administrative convenience to the government which gives some cases lower priority'' and goes on to authorize work permits for those who receive deferred action. Agency memoranda further reaffirm the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. In 1976, President Ford's [[Page H336]] Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) General Counsel Sam Bernsen stated in a legal opinion, ``The reasons for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion are both practical and humanitarian. There simply are not enough resources to enforce all of the rules and regulations presently on the books.'' In 2000, a memorandum on prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters issued by INS Commissioner Doris Meissner provided that ``[s]ervice officers are not only authorized by law but expected to exercise discretion in a judicious manner at all stages of the enforcement process,'' and spelled out the factors that should guide those decisions. In 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security published guidance known as the ``Morton Memo,'' outlining more than one dozen factors, including humanitarian factors, for employees to consider in deciding whether prosecutorial discretion should be exercised. These factors --now updated by the November 20 executive actions-- include tender or elderly age, long-time lawful permanent residence, and serious health conditions.

    Judicial recognition of executive branch prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases Federal courts have also explicitly recognized prosecutorial discretion in general and deferred action in particulary. Notably, the U.S. Supreme Court noted in its Arizona v. United States decision in 2012: ``A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials. . . . Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all. . . .'' In its 1999 decision in Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Supreme Court explicitly recognized deferred action by name. This affirmation of the role of discretion is consistent with congressional appropriations for immigration enforcement, which are at an annual level that would allow for the arrest, detention, and deportation of fewer than 4 percent of the noncitizens in the United States who lack lawfill immigration status.

    Based on statutory authority, U.S. immigration agencies have a long history of exercising prosecutorial discretion for a range of reasons that include economic or humanitarian considerations, especially--albeit not only--when the noncitizens involved have strong family ties or long-term residence in the United States. Prosecutorial discretion, including deferred action, has been made available on both a case-by-case basis and a group basis, as are true under DACA and DAPA. But even when a program like deferred action has been aimed at a particular group of people, individuals must apply, and the agency must exercise its discretion based on the facts of each individual case. Both DACA and DAPA explicitly incorporate that requirement.

    Historical precedents for deferred action and similar programs for individuals and groups As examples of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, numerous administrations have issued directives providing deferred action or functionally similar forms of prosecutorial discretion to groups of noncitizens, often to large groups. The administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush deferred the deportations of a then- predicted (though ultimately much lower) 1.5 million noncitizen spouses and children of immigrants who qualified for legalization under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, authorizing work permits for the spouses. Presidents Reagan and Bush took these actions, even though Congress had decided to exclude them from IRCA. Among the many other examples of significant deferred action or similar programs are two during the George W. Bush administration: a deferred action program in 2005 for foreign academic students affected by Hurricane Katrina, and ``Deferred Enforcement Departure'' for certain Liberians in 2007. Several decades earlier, the Reagan administration issued a form of prosecutorial discretion called ``Extended Voluntary Departure'' in 1981 to thousands of Polish nationals. The legal sources and historical examples of immigration prosecutorial discretion described above are by no means exhaustive, but they underscore the legal authority for an administration to apply prosecutorial discretion to both individuals and groups.

    Some have suggested that the size of the group who may ``benefit'' from an act of prosecutorial discretion is relevant to its legality. We are unaware of any legal authority for such an assumption. Notably, the Reagan-Bush programs of the late 1980s and early 1990s were based on an initial estimated percentage of the unauthorized population (about 40 percent) that is comparable to the initial estimated percentage for the November 20 executive actions. The President could conceivably decide to cap the number of people who can receive prosecutorial discretion or make the conditions restrictive enough to keep the numbers small, but this would be a policy choice, not a legal issue. For all of these reasons, the President is not ``re-writing'' the immigration laws, as some of his critics have suggested. He is doing precisely the opposite--exercising a discretion conferred by the immigration laws and settled general principles of enforcement discretion.

    The Constitution and immigration enforcement discretion Critics have also suggested that the deferred action programs announced on November 20 violate the President's constitutional duty to ``take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.'' A serious legal question would therefore arise if the executive branch were to halt all immigration enforcement, or even if the Administration were to refuse to substantially spend the resources appropriated by Congress. In either of those scenarios, the justification based on resource limitations would not apply. But the Obama administration has fully utilized all the enforcement resources Congress has appropriated. It has enforced the immigration law at record levels through apprehensions, investigations, and detentions that have resulted in over two million removals. At the same time that the President announced the November 20 executive actions that we discuss here, he also announced revised enforcement priorities to focus on removing the most serious criminal offenders and further shoring up the southern border. Nothing in the President's actions will prevent him from continuing to remove as many violators as the resources Congress has given him permit.

    Moreover, when prosecutorial discretion is exercised, particularly when the numbers are large, there is no legal barrier to formalizing that policy decision through sound procedures that include a formal application and dissemination of the relevant criteria to the officers charged with implementing the program and to the public. As DACA has shown, those kinds of procedures assure that important policy decisions are made at the leadership level, help officers to implement policy decisions fairly and consistently, and offer the public the transparency that government priority decisions require in a democracy.

    Hiroshi Motomura & Susan Westerberg Prager, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law; Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law; Stephen H. Legomsky, Washington University School of Law; David Abraham, University of Miami School of Law; Raquel Aldana, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; Farrin R. Anello, Seton Hall University School of Law; Deborah Anker, Harvard Law School; Sabrineh Ardalan, Harvard Law School; David C. Baluarte, Washington and Lee University School of Law; Melynda Barnhart, New York Law School; Jon Bauer, University of Connecticut School of Law; Lenni B. Benson, New York Law School; Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard Law School; Linda Bosniak, Rutgers University School of Law- Camden; Richard A. Boswell, U.C. Hastings College of the Law; Jason A. Cade, University of Georgia Law School; Janet Calvo, CUNY School of Law, New York; Kristina M. Campbell, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law; Stacy Caplow, Brooklyn Law School; Benjamin Casper, University of Minnesota Law School; Linus Chan, University of Minnesota; Howard F. Chang, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Michael J. Churgin, University of Texas at Austin; Marisa Cianciarulo, Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law; Evelyn Cruz, Arizona State University; Ingrid Eagly, UCLA School of Law; Philip Eichorn, Cleveland State-- Cleveland Marshall School of Law; Bram T. Elias, University of Iowa College of Law; Stella Burch Elias, University of Iowa College of Law; Jill E. Family, Widener University School of Law; Niels Frenzen, University of Southern California; Maryellen Fullerton, Brooklyn Law School; Cesar Cuauhtimoc Garcia Hernandez, University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Lauren Gilbert, St. Thomas University School of Law; Denise L. Gilman, University of Texas School of Law; John F. Gossart, Jr., University of Maryland School of Law; P. Gulasekaram, Santa Clara University; Anju Gupta, Rutgers School of Law--Newark; Susan R. Gzesh, University of Chicago; Jonathan Hafetz, Seton Hall University; Dina Francesca Haynes, New England Law, Boston; Susan Hazeldean, Cornell Law School; Ernesto Hernandez-Lopez, Chapman University; Laura A. Hernandez, Baylor Law School; Michael Heyman, John Marshall Law School; Barbara Hines, University of Texas School of Law; Laila L. Hlass, Boston University School of Law; Geoffrey Hoffman, University of Houston Law Center; Mary Holper, Boston College Law School; Alan Hyde, Rutgers University School of Law--Newark; Kate Jastram, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Kit Johnson, University of Oklahoma College of Law; Anil Kalhan, Drexel University Kline School of Law; Daniel Kanstroom, Boston College Law School; Elizabeth Keyes, University of Baltimore School of Law; Kathleen Kim, Loyola Law School Los Angeles; David C. Koelsch, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law; Jennifer Lee Koh, Western State College of Law; Kevin Lapp, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Christopher Lasch, University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Jennifer J. Lee, Temple University Beasley School of Law; Stephen Lee, University of California, Irvine; Christine Lin, University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Beth Lyon, Villanova University School of Law; Stephen Manning, Lewis & Clark College; Lynn Marcus, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law; Miriam H. Marton, University of Tulsa College of Law; Elizabeth McCormick, University of Tulsa College of Law; M. Isabel Medina, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; Stephen Meili, University of Minnesota Law School; Vanessa Merton, Pace University School of Law; Andrew Moore, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law; Jennifer Moore, University of New Mexico School of Law; Daniel [[Page H337]] I. Morales, DePaul University College of Law; Nancy Morawetz, NYU School of Law; Karen Musalo, U.C. Hastings College of the Law; Alizabeth Newman, CUNY School of Law; Noah Novogrodsky, University of Wyoming College of Law; Fernando A. Nunez, Charlotte School of Law; Mariela Olivares, Howard University School of Law; Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center; Patrick D. O'Neill, Esq., University of Puerto Rico School of Law; Sarah Paoletti, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Sunita Patel, American University, Washington College of Law; Huyen Pham, Texas A&M University School of Law; Michele R. Pistone, Villanova University School of Law; Luis F.B. Plascencia, Arizona State University; Polly J. Price, Emory University School of Law; Doris Marie Provine, Arizona State University; Nina Rabin, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona; Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Temple University, Beasley School of Law; Renee C. Redman, University of Connecticut School of Law; Ediberto Roman, Florida International University; Victor C. Romero, Penn State Law; Joseph H. Rosen, Atlanta's John Marshall Law School; Carrie Rosenbaum, Golden Gate University School of Law; Rachel E. Rosenbloom, Northeastern University School of Law; Ruben G. Rumbaut, University of California, Irvine; Ted Ruthizer, Columbia Law School; Leticia M. Saucedo, UC Davis School of Law; Heather Scavone, Elon University School of Law; Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Georgetown Law; Philip Schrag, Georgetown University Law Center; Bijal Shah, NYU School of Law; Ragini Shah, Suffolk University Law School; Careen Shannon, Yeshiva University, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Anna Williams Shavers, University of Nebraska College of Law; Bryn Siegel, Pacific Coast University School of Law; Anita Sinha, American University, Washington College of Law; Dan R. Smulian, Brooklyn Law School; Gemma Solimene, Fordham University School of Law; Jayashri Srikantiah, Stanford Law School; Juliet Stumpf, Lewis & Clark Law School; Maureen A. Sweeney, University of Maryland Carey School of Law; Barbara Szweda, Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law; Margaret H. Taylor, Wake Forest University School of Law; David Thronson, Michigan State University College of Law; Allison Brownell Tirres, DePaul University College of Law; Scott Titshaw, Mercer University School of Law; Phil Torrey, Harvard Law School; Enid Trucios-Haynes, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville; Diane Uchimiya, University of La Verne College of Law; Gloria Valencia-Weber, University of New Mexico School of Law; Sheila I. Velez Martinez, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; Alex Vernon, Ave Maria School of Law; Rose Cuison Villazor, University of California at Davis School of Law; Leti Volpp, University of California, Berkeley; Jonathan Weinberg, Wayne State University; Deborah M. Weissman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Lisa Weissman-Ward, Stanford Law School; Anna R. Welch, University of Maine School of Law; Virgil O. Wiebe, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis; Michael J. Wishnie, Yale Law School; Stephen Yale-Loehr, Cornell University Law School; Elizabeth Lee Young, University of Arkansas School of Law.

    * all institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only conclusion Our conclusion is that the expansion of the DACA program and the establishment of Deferred Action for Parental Accountability are legal exercises of prosecutorial discretion. Both executive actions are well within the legal authority of the executive branch of the government of the United States.

    November 29, 2014.

    Hon. Patrick Leahy, Hon. Chuck Grassley, Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Hon. John Conyers, Jr.

    We are writing as former General Counsels of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or former Chief Counsels of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. As you know, the President on November 20 announced a package of measures designed to deploy his limited immigration enforcement resources in the most effective way. These measures included an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the creation of Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). We take no positions on the policy judgments that those actions reflect, but we have all studied the relevant legal parameters and wish to express our collective view that the President's actions are well within his legal authority.

    Some 135 law professors who currently teach or write in the area of immigration law signed a November 25, 2014 letter to the same effect. Rather than repeat the points made in that letter, we simply attach it here and go on record as stating that we agree wholeheartedly with its legal analysis and its conclusions.

    Respectfully, Stephen Legomsky, The John S. Lehmann University Professor, Washington University School of Law, Former Chief Counsel, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Roxana Bacon, Former Chief Counsel, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    Paul W. Virtue, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP, Former General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Bo Cooper, Partner, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loew, Former General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Ms. LOFGREN. I note also that a lawsuit is currently pending to challenge the constitutionality.

    Why don't Republicans just wait and see what the judicial branch has to say, what they decide? The amendments being offered are poison pills and should be defeated. The first amendment is meant to block all but one of the President's actions on immigration. This includes the temporary protection from deportation for parents of U.S. citizens and the expansion of temporary relief for people brought to the country as kids.

    This would break apart families, hurt more communities, deport the parents of U.S. citizens, and send thousands of American children into foster care.

    {time} 1945 But the amendment does more damage. In the interest of time, I will touch on just a few examples. It prevents improving the provisional waiver of the 3-year and 10-year unlawful presence bars created by Congress in 1996 to prevent U.S. citizens from experiencing ``extreme hardship.'' Ironically, the changes the administration intends would actually make the waiver align more closely to what Congress enacted.

    It would stop actions to help capitalize on the innovation of job- creating entrepreneurs and increase job opportunities. It would block initiatives designed to promote the integration of immigrants and to promote citizenship. The only action not blocked is a pay raise for ICE agents.

    The second amendment would block further implementation of the 2012 DACA memo and any additional efforts to save DREAM Act kids from deportation. In the past, there was confusion about what amendments did. But this one is very clear. It is a straight up-or-down vote on whether to deport hundreds of thousands of young people who came forward, passed background checks, received DACA, and followed the rule. It would deport the DREAMers.

    The third amendment looks reasonable at first, as it requires that those convicted of sex offenses and domestic violence be the highest priority for enforcement. But the point is, the President's actions already make those criminals a priority for deportation, and they are prohibited from getting any deportation relief.

    The amendment is not only unnecessary, but it also endangers victims of domestic violence. How? It overturns the DHS policy of inquiry into whether a person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence was actually the victim, not the perpetrators of the crime. This amendment is opposed by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and law enforcement.

    I will now place into the Record a letter from 14 sheriffs and police chiefs asking that we oppose the DeSantis amendment.

    January 13, 2015.

    Re H.R. 240, The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015.

    Dear Representative: We, the undersigned law enforcement officers, write to express our opposition to various proposals under consideration in the House of Representatives that seek to override aspects of the Obama Administration's immigration policies.

    While acknowledging that there is good-faith disagreement over certain aspects of the administration's immigration policies, several of the proposals under consideration by the House of Representatives would represent a step backward, lead to uncertainty in our immigration enforcement system, and make it harder for state and local law enforcement to police our communities.

    The 114th Congress has a tremendous opportunity to fix our broken immigration system, advancing reforms that will help the economy and secure our borders. While we are encouraged by proposals that would secure our borders and reform outdated visa programs, we are concerned by reports of [[Page H338]] various proposals in the House that do not appear to have bipartisan support and could unnecessarily threaten a partial governmental shutdown affecting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As law enforcement officers, we regularly work with DHS and its component agencies and fear that an unfunded DHS will sow confusion and uncertainty.

    We are also concerned about proposed substantive changes that would undercut existing protections for victims of domestic violence, undermine law enforcement's ability to focus on catching and deporting dangerous criminals, compel state and local law enforcement to hold low-level offenders without probable cause, and threaten long-established and necessary federal programs and funding that have long aided state and local law enforcement. We oppose proposals that (1) make law-abiding immigrants feel less safe in our communities, (2) focus federal law enforcement away from catching serious criminals and security threats, (3) increase the state and local role in immigration enforcement, and (4) threaten needed federal resources and funding used by state and local law enforcement.

    1. When immigrants feel safe in their communities, we are all safer When immigrants feel safe in their communities, including immigrant victims of domestic violence, we are all safer. We oppose amendments that remove key protections from domestic violence victims and undermine the executive branch's ability to prioritize criminals over otherwise law abiding immigrants.

    One proposal under consideration by the House would scrap DHS's entire existing enforcement framework, because it does not treat ``any alien convicted of any offense involving domestic, violence, sexual abuse, child molestation, or child exploitation as within the categories of aliens subject to the Department of Homeland Security's highest civil immigration enforcement priorities.'' While the amendment is intuitively appealing and directed toward protecting domestic violence victims, it actually has the opposite effect in many cases. By guaranteeing ``highest'' priority treatment of all domestic violence cases, the amendment raises the stakes for any report of domestic violence--a single report of domestic violence could lead to removal proceedings and deportation.

    Immigrant victims are particularly vulnerable to being arrested and prosecuted for domestic violence, even when they are not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship, due to language and cultural barriers. Once in custody and/or facing trial, and desperate to be released and reunited with their children, these same factors--combined with poor legal counsel, may lead to deportation of wrongly accused victims who may have pled to or been unfairly convicted of domestic violence charges. Currently, federal authorities have flexibility in separating victims from perpetrators in dual arrest situations. The proposed amendment would remove this flexibly, leading to the deportation of victims of domestic violence.

    2. Law enforcement should refocus its priorities toward catching serious criminals and security threats Federal immigration agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), do not have the capacity or resources to remove all undocumented immigrants. Existing federal policies prioritize the removal of immigrants with criminal records over those who pose no threat to the community. We believe that law enforcement agencies should spend their limited time and resources focusing on pursuing truly dangerous criminals, not otherwise law-abiding members of the community.

    Various amendments would seek to override these longstanding priorities. We oppose such amendments.

    3. Immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility We believe that immigration enforcement on the state and local levels diverts limited resources away from public safety and undermines trust within immigrant communities. State and local law enforcement agencies face tight budgets and often do not have the capacity or resources to duplicate the federal government's work in enforcing federal immigration laws. Rather than apprehending and removing immigrants who have no criminal background or affiliation and are merely seeking to work or reunite with family, it is more important for state and local law enforcement to focus limited resources and funding on true threats to public safety and security.

    Various amendments would seek to foist additional enforcement responsibilities onto state and local law enforcement, including amendments that would reinstitute and codify the Secure Communities program. Some proposals also would impose a federal mandate on state and local law enforcement agencies to hold suspects even in the absence of probable cause, an action that raises serious constitutional and legal questions and would risk creating legal liability for state and local law enforcement agencies. We oppose such amendments.

    4. State and local law enforcement need adequate resources To the extent that state and local law enforcement play a role in immigration enforcement, the federal government must provide adequate funding in line with these responsibilities.

    Some proposals under consideration by the House would place needed federal funding to state and local law enforcement at risk. These proposals, including proposed amendments that would condition significant federal funding on holding suspects in the absence of probable cause, raise serious concerns. We oppose such amendments.

    Additionally, as referenced above, we call on Congress to fund DHS, including valuable DHS programs that provide needed funding to state and local law enforcement. We support legislation to fully fund this crucial agency for the entire 2015 fiscal year.

    Conclusion As law enforcement officers, we believe that the 114th Congress has a tremendous opportunity to fix our broken immigration system, advance reforms that will help the economy and secure our borders. Any executive actions taken by the executive branch are temporary and limited--by themselves they will not fix a broken system, nor will their repeal fix a broken system.

    We continue to recognize that what our broken system truly needs is a permanent legislative solution. It is our hope that DHS funding legislation passes promptly and without any of the shortcomings we flagged above. Passing such legislation opens the door for this Congress to work constructively towards necessary immigration reform legislation.

    Sincerely, Chief Richard Biehl, Dayton Police Department, Dayton, Ohio; Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff's Office, Pima County, Arizona; Sheriff Tony Estrada, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, Santa Cruz County, Arizona; Chief Randy Gaber, Madison Police Department, Madison, Wisconsin; Chief Ronald Haddad, Dearborn Police Department, Dearborn, Michigan; Chief James Hawkins, Garden City Police Department, Garden City, Kansas; Chief Mike Koval, City of Madison Police Department, Madison, Wisconsin; Chief Jose Lopez, Durham Police Department, Durham, North Carolina; Sheriff Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff's, Department Richland County, South Carolina; Chief Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County, Maryland; Sheriff William McCarthy, Polk County Sheriff's Office, Polk County, Iowa; Lt. Andy Norris, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama; Chief Mike Tupper, Marshalltown Police Department, Marshalltown, Iowa; Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Dallas County, Texas.

    Ms. LOFGREN. The final amendment also creates problems. It says that USCIS should adjudicate petitions of individuals in lawful status before adjudicating petitions of individuals in unlawful status. But that is too broad. There are many petitions filed by people in unlawful status that we would not want to delay: green cards for the wives and husbands of American citizens; requests for U visas and T visas from crime victims or sex-trafficking victims; immigrant visa petitions filed by domestic violence victims. These are all people who would be harmed by the amendment.

    I would note that the fourth amendment is based on the falsehood that the President's immigration actions created an incentive for employers to hire deferred action recipients instead of American workers. This is simply not true.

    Now, we need to have a serious conversation about immigration policy in the House, but threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security is not the way to do that. These amendments are foolish and a step backwards, and not funding DHS is dumb and dangerous.

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