Lankford Wants Answers on Why Biden Administration is “Handcuffing” ICE from Enforcing the Law

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A from YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to consider the nominations of Robert Santos to be Director of the US Census Bureau and Ed Gonzalez to be Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Lankford’s questions for Mr. Santos centered on why the Bureau is not saving taxpayers upwards of $8 billion by combining the Census during the year it is taken with American’s tax submissions to make the process more efficient for the majority of Americans and save money on Census collection. Lankford asked Mr. Gonzalez why ICE is currently not able to enforce the law.

Lankford has stated he plans to hold every nominee for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until the crisis at the southern border is handled and until the southern border wall is complete.


On ICE being “handcuffed” to enforce the law by the Biden Administration

Lankford: In the past, ICE, when they’ve gone to be able to make an arrest of an individual they were aware—there was a criminal alien, met the criteria there—when they arrived. If they happened to be with three other people, two other people, one other person that was not legally present in the United States, those individuals were also detained as well. Should that be continued as a policy, or should it only be—literally if you encounter four people that are in this place that are not legally present, you only actually detain the one person and the other you just ignore?

Gonzalez: Senator, for me, I think it’s again a matter of prioritization. I think that any agency that has limited resources, man power, and other considerations, I think it’s appropriate to have priorities. I think we could always assess if those are effective. It doesn’t preclude any of the others from being potentially up for enforcement removal, but again I think that I would trust that our personnel on the field could make those judgment decisions, look at the totality of circumstances and see if it’s a good use of resources because it is a matter of trade off. If we are pursuing multiple individuals in the scenario that you gave, then there’s others that perhaps we’re not focusing on. So I think that we should be strategic and smart in our enforcement.

Lankford: I understand. Last May, because we’ve not been able to get from ICE the statistics for June, we have 6,000 ICE agents, and they did 3,000 deportations in a month. It is a record low for them. So, clearly they’re not overworked at this point. In fact, the ICE agents that we interact with say that they’re the ones being handcuffed currently, not able to actually do law enforcement. Or they’re being told by regional leadership, ‘No, that doesn’t meet the standard. You need to stand down, even though you know this person has multiple DUIs, sexual battery of a child, assault on a police officer,’ whatever it may be. They’re requesting to be able to go and actually interdict, and they’re being told, ‘No, they cannot do that.’ So the challenge is, obviously that sends a signal to people that are here that are not legally present that ICE is not really going to enforce the law…