Barletta Praises Trump’s Creation of Office to Aid Victims of Illegal Alien Crimes
Rep. Barletta (left) questions retired Gen. John Kelly, the new Secretary of Homeland Security, during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on February 7, 2017.
Click here or on image for video of Barletta’s Q&A with Gen. Kelly.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) is applauding the creation of an office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will provide services to people who have been victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens. The office was established by President Donald J. Trump’s executive order of January 25, 2017 (found here), which dealt with enforcing immigration laws in the interior of the country. This is a separate executive order from the one that addressed the refugee program and travel restrictions for nationals of seven specific terrorist-laden countries. Barletta highlighted the creation of the office during a February 7, 2017 House Homeland Security Committee hearing featuring testimony from the new DHS Secretary, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly.
“One of the principal reasons I ran for Congress was my frustration with the federal government over refusing to enforce our existing immigration laws,” Barletta said to Gen. Kelly. “My City of Hazleton … was overrun by illegal aliens who brought with them gangs, drugs, identify theft, fraud, other crimes that I had to deal with. No one was speaking for the victims of these crimes. I always heard that we have to have compassion for the person who comes here illegally. But I had to sit with people who lost loved ones who were victims, and I have compassion for them. So I commend the Trump Administration for recognizing these crime victims.”
Among other provisions, the executive order created the Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens:
Sec. 13. Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. The Secretary shall direct the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take all appropriate and lawful action to establish within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement an office to provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims. This office shall provide quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.
Gen. Kelly said the creation of the office is already underway, and though it was originally intended to be housed within the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, he has directed that it be elevated to answer directly to him as secretary of DHS. He described the office as a clearinghouse for information pertaining to crimes committed by illegal aliens.
“Generally speaking, these criminals who are here illegally are generally going through a criminal justice system in the states, for the most part,” said Gen. Kelly. “First of all, our view would be that those people can expect from us, if they call and say, ‘How’s the case going? The person that murdered by daughter with a gun, or ran over my son with an automobile, or killed a police officer on the side of the road … how’s that going?’ We will be able to say it’s in court, give them a description of what it is. But further down the line, that office will be able to tell those people, ‘Okay, the convicted person that killed your daughter, murdered your son, killed a cop, he’s got ten years, nine years, eight years, seven years … okay, he’s going to be paroled.’ You can bet that my people will be standing there when he is paroled to take him into custody and send him back to wherever he came from. That’s what I see that office doing.”
Another section of the same executive order cut off federal grants to sanctuary cities, an issue long championed by the congressman.
“One of the principal duties of the government is to protects its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs completely counter to that responsibility,” Barletta said. “Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents. I commend President Trump for taking this action, as our local elected officials must know that there will be consequences for thumbing their noses at federal law.”
Barletta has authored legislation that would go even farther than the president’s executive orders. Barletta has introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials. The bill prohibits any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) lists about 300 such localities in the United States. Barletta’s bill directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress. A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration statutes. This is the third time he has introduced the legislation.
Barletta introduced the bill as his first piece of legislation as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton. In 2006, a 29-year-old local father of three, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York. Additionally, Barletta was spurred to reintroduce the bill in 2015 following the San Francisco murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.