Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold a hearing on “Interior Immigration Enforcement Legislation,” where it will discuss failed bills like the incredibly anti-immigrant SAFE Act.
But the real story is who will be testifying at the hearing — namely, yet another contingent of extremist witnesses from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Republicans have long given groups like CIS and FAIR outsized influence in Congressional hearings, by inviting witnesses from these organizations to testify over and over again. Just check out last week’s House Judiciary Committee witness list, which included Sheriff Paul Babeu who once appeared on a white nationalist talk radio show.
One of the witnesses appearing today is Dan Cadman, a disgraced and scandal-plagued former Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) official who is now a fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies. Cadman is famous for a little thing called “Kromegate,” where he and others were majorly busted for deceiving Congress over what was happening at Florida’s Krome Detention Center. You can read about the whole thing at the New-Times Broward Palm Beach.
In 1996, a seven-member Congressional fact-finding team visited Krome, and Cadman was among several high-ranking INS officials who attempted to deceive them into believing that everything at Krome was managed well. Their attempts at deception involved:
- Releasing 58 immigrants from the “critically overcrowded” detention center two days before the Congressional visit
- Hiding 100 immigrants in the facility
- Bulking up staffing
- Allowing detainees to wait in an unsecured lobby rather than a less hospitable holding cell
- Ordering officers to remove gun holsters and handcuffs to present a kinder picture of INS
The scandal broke when more than 45 employees blew the whistle on their bosses. In the subsequent investigation, Cadman was found to be a willing participant in efforts to mislead Congress, as well as efforts to delay the investigation itself. Cadman had presided over meetings where the conspiracy was planned and on the day of the Congressional inspection had threatened to arrest two INS officials who tried to alert the visitors about the deception. Cadman also forced the Justice Department to issue subpoenas rather than cooperate with investigators, and deleted all emails relating to the Congressional visit.
Rather than fire Cadman, INS demoted him to an investigator’s position. But two years later, they handed him an even more important job: director of the INS National Security Unit, where he directed criminal investigations across the country around the time of the 9/11 attacks.
Cadman eventually became ICE Regional Coordinator for Secure Communities, where he was later fired for writing “unacceptable emails” indicating that the program was voluntary. Since 2013 he has been a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Cadman isn’t the only extremist testifying at today’s House hearing. There’s also Sam Page, Sheriff of North Carolina’s Rockingham County and one of the anti-immigrant movement’s most reliable law enforcement allies. Page has frequently participated in Congressional briefings organized by the Center for Immigration Studies and events like FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” media gathering.
And there’s Frank Morris, a board member for both FAIR and CIS and chair of the Black American Leadership Alliance, which attempts to drive wedges between immigrants and black Americans — despite the fact that groups like the NAACP and the Leadership Conference support immigration reform.
But Dan Cadman is someone who became famous not for his anti-immigrant credentials but for actually lying to Congress. So why is the House Immigration Subcommittee inviting him to testify now?
That’s certainly no way to “govern responsibly.”