Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena DHS over deportations

The Republican Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday threatened to subpoena the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a list of illegal immigrants who the agency has declined to detain.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) requested a list in August of illegal immigrants who were not pursued by DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under new guidelines that allow the agencies to prioritize the deportation of undocumented aliens with criminal histories over those who are otherwise law-abiding.

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On Tuesday, DHS sent Smith a letter stating that it had arrested or booked into custody nearly half — 293,000 — of the 629,000 illegal immigrants referred to the department through the Secure Communities program as of July. Of those 293,000, the department has deported about 126,000 illegal aliens and issued a detainer on an additional 19,000 who have not been taken into custody, according to the letter.

At Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing, Smith told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the letter was a summary and he wanted a specific list delivered to him by next Monday or he would consider taking further action.

“It’s been two months since I requested this information,” said Smith.

“We’ve had a good relationship with your staff. I was told that the list was available, had to be cleared, and now suddenly the list has apparently disappeared. And if I am not given that list as I understood to be promised that list, I’ll have no choice but to issue a subpoena. So I hope we can get that list.”

Napolitano told Smith that she check where his requested list stood.

“I’ll look into that, Mr. Chairman,” she said.