DHS Secretary Gives Barletta Update on Office to Aid Victims of Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants
Click here to view Barletta’s questioning.
WASHINGTON – In response to questioning by Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly provided an update on the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office to assist victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. The exchange highlights the need to enforce our immigration laws and crack down on dangerous sanctuary cities.
President Trump signed an executive order on January 25, 2017 establishing the VOICE Office within DHS to provide services and support to people and families who have been victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens. The office officially opened on April 26.
Barletta spoke about meeting the families of Derek Kichline, a 29-year-old father of three who in 2006 was murdered while working on his truck in Hazleton by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York, and 20-year-old murder victim Carly Snyder of Northumberland County, who was stabbed 37 times by an illegal immigrant from Honduras in 2005. Barletta applauded the Trump Administration for standing up and speaking for these families and other victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
“I understand that there’s nothing we can do to bring these people back,” Barletta said. “I know there’s nothing we can do to relieve the pain their families still feel. But I understand that the budget request includes funding within ICE to support the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement Office, also called VOICE.”
Secretary Kelly stated that the VOICE Office has successfully provided a number of services to victims and their families, ranging from informing them about the status of perpetrators’ criminal cases to lending counseling support. He also pushed back against opponents’ criticism that the VOICE Office is “anti-immigrant,” emphasizing that the office is “anti-illegal immigrant.”
“The point is that the VOICE Office has worked well as a way to outreach to people who felt that they were all alone,” Kelly said. “For every one of you as a mayor who was wrapping their arms around people, there are other mayors, with all due respect, that take the other view of illegal aliens.”
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. 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.
“As a former mayor, I know that no mayor has the right to pick and choose which federal laws to follow, just like American citizens do not have the right to pick and choose which section of the criminal code they want to follow,” Barletta said. “Sanctuary cities are dangerous to public safety and we should stop supporting them with federal tax dollars.”