ICE Director Sarah Saldena confirmed to Rep. Louie Gohmert this week in a congressional hearing that a sister agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, was responsible for guidance allowing 108,081 illegal aliens who should have been deported to stay in the United States.
Gohmert issued the following statement regarding a letter sent to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 22 Members of Congress demanding a comprehensive audit on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
“There have been enough revelations about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its failures that many Americans have become gravely concerned with their actions and performance causing many to lose faith in its representations. It is critically important that we have a complete investigation into this government entity for potential waste, fraud and any type of corruption fueled by a political agenda. The American people deserve to be protected, not spied on, lied to and forced to pay for DHS ignoring the law and Constitution.
According to its own FY16 Budget Request, 96.8% of the USCIS $4 billion annual operating budget will come from fees collected from applicants for most types of immigration benefits, naturalization, or replacement green cards, along with fees from petitioners sponsoring relatives or employees. These fee-based revenues are considered ‘permanently appropriated’ mandatory funds and are not subject to the annual discretionary appropriations process—which applies to most federal agencies.
This arrangement creates the potential for USCIS to, in effect, create slush funds and skim off congressionally authorized fees imposed on legal immigrants and their sponsors in order to fund programs that may not be specifically authorized by Congress, such as DHS’s November 2014 memos on immigration establishing a new program that provides work authorization permits to an estimated five million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.
That is why I, along with 21 other Members of Congress, are asking the GAO to audit the USCIS and find out the critically needed answers. DHS agencies continue to be hindered by leadership who break the law and ignore the Constitution while using highly suspect spending practices. They must be held accountable for any misconduct.”
To read the full letter sent to the GAO, click here.
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