Dem warns US immigration officials who are 'just following' Trump's orders on reported passport crackdown

Dem warns US immigration officials who are 'just following' Trump's orders on reported passport crackdown
© Getty Images

Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoGrassley to administration: You must consult Congress on refugee cap Arizona voters like Kyl but few think he'll stick around Mattis-Trump relationship put to the test by Woodward book MORE (D-Ariz.) on Thursday issued a warning to U.S. government officials who are following President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE's orders to double down on authenticating the citizenship of hundreds of Hispanics along the U.S.–Mexico border.

"If you are a US government official and you are deporting Americans be warned," Gallego comment along with a tweet from MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes, which linked to a Washington Post story about the crackdowns. "When the worm turns you will not be safe because you were just following orders. You do not have to take part in illegal acts ordered by this President's administration." 

Gallego's tweet came in response to the Post's Wednesday report, which said the Trump administration is reportedly accusing hundreds — and possibly thousands — of Hispanics living along the southern border of having fraudulent birth certificates. The Post reported that some passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in detention facilities as they await immigration proceedings, while others have had their passports stripped from them as they tried to reenter the U.S.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It should be frightening to every American that a sitting member of Congress would threaten the safety of any person and their family, and incite the public to take acts of violence against them," the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council wrote in a statement to Fox News reporter Alex Pappas, following Gallego's tweet.

ICE did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. 

The Arizona Democrat later doubled down on his statement, writing in a statement to The Hill, "Government officials who violate the law or the constitution will not be immune to legal consequences. They will eventually be held accountable for their actions, even if the Trump administration is refusing to do so." 

The Post reported that the U.S. increasingly is denying passports to people it accuses of having fraudulent birth certificates. The State Department said such cases have been common under multiple administrations and indicated that the Trump administration has not increased passport denials.

A State Department official told The Hill in a statement that the agency "has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications."

Attorneys who spoke to the Post said the number of these types of cases have "skyrocketed" since Trump's election. 

-Updated 7:42 p.m.