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Senator Lankford Presses Obama on Recent Immigration Enforcement Comments

WASHINGTON, DC— Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today pressed President Obama on his recent comments suggesting there would be “consequences” for federal immigration officials who continue deportations in violation of the President’s executive actions, the same actions a federal court ruled against. Earlier this month, a federal district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the president’s immigration executive overreach.

During an Immigration Town Hall at Miami’s Florida International University on Wednesday, President Obama responded to a question about potential deportations in light of the U.S. District court ruling, and said, “…if somebody is working for ICE and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it. …In the U.S. military, when you get an order, you’re expected to follow it.  It doesn’t mean that everybody follows the order. If they don’t, they’ve got a problem. And the same is going to be true with respect to the policies that we’re putting forward.”

In the letter, Lankford wrote, “Earlier this month, a federal district court judge found that the executive action – the very policies you mentioned in your statement during the Miami town hall meeting – violated the Administrative Procedure Act and enjoined implementation. In response to the injunction, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement saying the Department ‘must comply with it;’ however, your statements during the town hall meeting convey the opposite and even threaten consequences for failing to carry out the policies.”

Among several questions, Senator Lankford requests answers to the following questions:

  • What are the specific consequences an ICE agent will face if he or she respects the judge’s ruling and fails to follow your policies? How will the threat and implementation of such consequences impact the already low morale within the Homeland Security Department?
  • How should agents balance their oath to defend the Constitution with your order to follow policies that a federal court deemed in violation of federal law?
  • Will consequences also ensue for our nations’ servicemembers or other federal employees who fail to follow one of your announced policies, whether it’s constitutional or not?

Lankford is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management within the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Management of the federal agencies and its workforce falls under Lankford’s Subcommittee jurisdiction.

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.