WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee made the following remarks regarding his opposition to the confirmation of Sarah Saldaña, President Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Mr./Madam President, I rise in opposition to the nomination of Sarah Saldaña to be in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Department of Homeland Security.
“As we know, the President has recently announced that he will take unilateral executive action on immigration. In so doing he has circumvented the democratic process, broken the law, and subverted the constitutional order. It is incumbent on every member of this body — no matter what their politics, or what immigration policies they would prefer to enact — to oppose that usurpation of legislative power and to defend the rule of law.
“Fulfilling that duty leads me to oppose Ms. Saldaña’s nomination to be ICE director. Although I respect her and her record of public service, including an admirable independent streak as United States Attorney, she has also demonstrated that her commitment to the rule of law may falter when it comes to faithfully enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act. In response to a question asked by several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including me, Ms. Saldaña said she agreed with the position of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson that immigrants who entered the country illegally, and have now been targeted for so-called deferred action, have “earned the right to be citizens.”
“That’s quite a bold claim. No doubt Congress could, and many people think it should, ease the path the citizenship for some aliens here unlawfully. But to assert that citizenship is a matter of right, and that it has been earned by the very act of breaking our immigration laws, is an unacceptable view for a person nominated to be head of immigration enforcement. …
“We have passed through the looking glass. And to see how far we’ve gone inside, observe: Today the President asks the Senate to install, as custodian of our border, a person who evidently believes that crossing our border illegally earns you the right to vote. The Constitution gives the Senate the responsibility to give the President advice about his executive nominations, and ultimately its consent. My advice is this: The President should not proffer a nominee for the job of executing our immigration laws who affirmatively supports subverting them. But that is exactly what he has done, so I cannot and will not give my consent.”