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House Judiciary Committee Hearing Today; Meet the Folks Testifying

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If you thought yesterday’s Homeland Security hearing on the children at the border was a long parade of Republican posture-taking, wait until today’s House Judiciary Committee spectacle, titled nothing less than  An Administration Made Disaster: The South Texas Border Surge of Unaccompanied Minors.”

Here are the witnesses:

  • Mr. Tom Homan, Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Mr. Ronald Vitiello, Deputy Chief, Border Patrol Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Mr. Chris Crane, President, National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council 118, American Federation of Government Employees
  • Mr. Brandon Judd, President, American Federation of Government Employees National Border Patrol Council
  • Most Reverand Mark J. Seitz, Bishop Diocese of El Paso, Texas

And here’s the stuff we need to remember about some of the majority witnesses — guys who oppose immigration reform and are all for more deportations, even if that means deporting DREAMers.  (h/t Center for New Community)

We’ll start with Chris Crane, the ICE president who makes Republicans forget that they hate unions.  Crane, represented by Kris Kobach and financially supported by NumbersUSA, was the main plaintiff in a 2012 lawsuit against DACA, making him the face of a judicial push to reinstate the deportation of DREAMers (something Steve King has attempted to do legislatively and Darrell Issa is now trying to do executively).  Crane has testified twice before the Senate Judiciary Committee (2/13/13 and 4/22/13) and seven times before the House Judiciary Committee or the Immigration Subcommittee, dating back to November 2011.  Crane opposed the Senate immigration bill, calling it a “dramatic step in the wrong direction,” but has never given any indication that he would support any kind of immigration reform.

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd apparently palls around with restrictionist group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), appearing in a 2010 video produced by them and discussing the need for greater border security.  In 2011, Judd blamed a spate of wildfires in southern Arizona on immigrants, telling told The Arizona Daily Star that “we definitely believe that the majority of these fires are started by illegal aliens.”  And more recently, he defended a controversial NBPC tweet that was taken down after immigration advocates called it racist (“New annual job rating areas: Babysitting, Diaper Changing, Burrito Wrapping, Cleaning cells. Law Enforcement? What’s that? #lowmorale”).

ICE Associate Director Tom Homan is apparently a big fan of Secure Communities and other programs that force local police officers to double as immigration authorities.  Earlier this year, a cascade of police departments and sheriff’s offices across the country announced that they would no longer automatically honor ICE holds, because the holds too often lead to the detention and deportation of immigrants who are not removal priorities.  Homan protested this development in his March testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee, saying:

I don’t know a specific reason why these counties choose not to honor detainers, but I do agree it’s becoming a public safety issue and criminal aliens are walking out of jail and the jurisdiction does not honor our detainer…Secure Communities was a great tool because it gives us a virtual presence over 4,000 jails.

That same testimony also saw Homan appearing to argue against alternative methods to immigration detention (such as ankle bracelets and check-ins), even though such alternatives are cheaper and more humane.  According to Homan’s logic (paraphrased by CIS), “the more ICE uses ATD, the more clogged the non-detained docket, the longer these illegal aliens get to stay.”