Latino Democratic Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois and Norma Torres, a Latina Democrat of California reported that Republican leaders made them leave the meeting with ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan about deportation raids because they were not invited.
This occurred after, Thomas D. Homan, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, canceled a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Democrats have attributed this to avoiding what would have likely been a tense summit as explanations for the recent raids would have been demanded.
ICE officials had another story, though. They claim to have canceled the meeting because the Hispanic Caucus attempted to invite too many people and this would break Congressional rules of making the meeting bipartisan.
Democrats can’t find the rule that they are implying supports the cancellation of appointments, and I have only found attempts to make it a rule, but none are successful at the time of this writing.
Of course, I.C.E asked for backup from President Trump. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen confirmed this by stating:
“DHS reached out to the House leadership staff to arrange a bipartisan, in-depth briefing, which the Speaker’s office arranged and scheduled for Thursday of this week..”
The same meeting they were not allowed to attend.
In response, Democrats wrote a letter to ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan that reads:
Dear Mr. Homan,
We have serious concerns about the recent nationwide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that resulted in the detention and possible deportation of several individuals. These raids have struck fear in the hearts of the immigrant community as many fear that President Trump’s promised “deportation force” is now in full-swing.
It is critical that we meet with you in person immediately to discuss the impact these raids have had on our communities as well as obtain clarifying guidance on how ICE policies will differ from the last Administration. Please contact our offices to set up a time to meet at a location of your convenience on or before COB on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.
Our constituents have contacted us requesting information and clarity regarding these enforcement activities as well as ICE’s interpretation of the enforcement priorities as listed in the Executive Order. As you are well aware, these priorities are vast enough to label any undocumented individual as a “priority” for removal. We understand that ICE has provided clarifying guidance on this Order in the form of a memo. It is critical that our constituents have clarity on ICE operations and we request a copy of this memo. Without this guidance, our communities will be paralyzed as students will remain home from school, parents will be afraid to leave children alone and our local economies will be irreparably damaged.
Immediately after hearing about the enforcement activities occurring in California, Member offices contacted Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE to get information regarding the individuals that were detained and the number of families affected. However, neither ICE nor DHS has yet to provide our offices with any concrete data pertaining to these enforcement activities. In advance of this meeting, we would like to request specific information about this targeted operation, the location of the raids, the number of individuals detained and deported, the number of parents of minor children that were apprehended, the reason for the apprehension as well as the number of people apprehended with criminal convictions and the types of criminal convictions.
We look forward to meeting with you in short order so that we can have an open and candid discussion regarding changes ICE has made regarding enforcement and removal activities and how this may impact immigrant communities.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important matter.
Michelle Lujan Grisham
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
House Judiciary Committee
Task Force Chair on Immigration and Border Issues
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Congressional Asian Pacific Americans Caucus
Member of Congress
Paul Ryan has a LOT of explaining to do, because this is absolutely unacceptable.
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