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Patrick L.
Democrat VT

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  • Nomination of Sarah R. Saldana to Be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security—Continued

    by Senator Patrick J. Leahy

    Posted on 2014-12-16

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    Read More about Nomination of Sarah R. Saldana to Be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security--Continued

    LEAHY. Madam President, today, we will vote on the nomination of Ms. Sarah Saldana to serve as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, where she will lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, office. Ms. Saldana has been considered and favorably reported by both the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.



    A native of South Texas, Ms. Saldana is the youngest of seven children. Inspired by her mother's emphasis on education, Ms. Saldana went to college and graduated from law school. She established a successful career as an attorney in private practice before becoming a Federal prosecutor. In 2011, with the support of her home State Senators from Texas, the Senate unanimously confirmed her as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and she became the first Latina U.S. attorney in the State's history. In this position, Ms. Saldana has earned a reputation as a tough but fair prosecutor. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a firm and unequivocal commitment to enforcing the law, and she has pledged that she will maintain that commitment if confirmed to lead ICE.

    At her hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in September, Senator Cornyn introduced Ms. Saldana and vouched for her qualifications, stating: ``If respect for the rule of law is our standard . . . we would be hard-pressed to find a person more qualified to enforce the law than Ms. Saldana.'' I agree. Ms. Saldana has made clear that, if confirmed, she will ``faithfully execute all immigration laws, including those laws that [she] or the President disagree with.'' Some want to use Ms. Saldana's nomination as an opportunity to attack President Obama's Executive action on immigration, but that is not the issue we are considering today. There is no evidence that she was involved in either the House's refusal to allow a vote on the Senate- passed comprehensive immigration reform bill or the President's decision to take what steps he could in the wake of the House's refusal to act. The vote before us concerns Ms. Saldana's qualifications to lead ICE, and she has proved that she is more than capable of executing the duties of the position. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been without a Senate-confirmed leader for more than a year. If Senators want our immigration laws enforced, they should focus on filling this key leadership position.

    There is no question that Sarah Saldana is qualified to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. I urge Senators to vote to confirm her to this important law enforcement position at the Department of Homeland Security without further delay.

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