Photo: Bill Hagerty Pushes Merrick Garland For Answers To His Stance On Illegal Immigration
Photo Credit: Senator Bill Hagerty / YouTube
Published June 11, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on Wednesday pressed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, on the Biden Administration’s messaging to cartels and would-be immigrants seeking to cross the border.
While there has been no change to the Biden Administration’s policy of effectively open borders and its practice of catch-and-release, this week Vice President Harris issued a statement adopting a new rhetorical position, telling would-be migrants “Do Not Come”.
Yet within 48 hours of the Vice President’s press conference debuting this new rhetorical position, the Administration has now reversed itself again. When Hagerty asked Garland if he would echo Vice President Kamala Harris’ “Do Not Come” message to would-be migrants, the Attorney General declined to do so.
“Just this week in Guatemala, Vice-President Harris sent a message to those that were perhaps contemplating coming to our country illegally: do not come. Is that a message that you can deliver, Attorney General, sitting right there, a message to these people do not come to our country?” Hagerty asked.
“I think that Vice President Harris has been very deeply involved in the kind of law enforcement and other requirements that we’re looking to set up,” Garland said. “She was instrumental in moving us to establish this joint task force to de-incentivize and to reduce traffic from the Northern Triangle countries, down through Mexico, into the United States. So there are a lot of different messaging kind of issues involved, and some of them involve getting at the root causes of why people are leaving in those countries.”
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Hagerty asked to hear Garland say migrants should not come to America to cross the border, and wanted to know if someone who is found to have an invalid claim during the asylum process would be deported. However, Garland said that would be something for Homeland Security to decide.
“Because of the large numbers that you’re talking about, they, I understand, have a series of priorities,” he told Hagerty. “First and most important, deportation of people who are at risk for national security to the United States and for public safety. And lastly, they’re trying to deport recent arrivals in order to send the message that you’re talking about, that people should not come.”
According to the Senator, the number of people crossing the border illegally has gone up, while deportation has gone down.
“What I would love to hear you say as our nation’s top law enforcement official… is that: ‘it is illegal to cross the border into this country; that if somebody is found to have failed in their claim for asylum, which 90% of the people do, that they will be deported.’ That’s the message that people in these countries need to hear—not, ‘Well, don’t come, but if you do, there’s nothing going to happen to you,” Hagerty said.
It’s currently a misdemeanor for someone to cross the border without the required documentation, but the process of deportation is up to the Department of Homeland Security.
“I would hope for a clear determination that when someone is found to be applying for asylum here in an invalid fashion, that they should leave this country and that they will be deported,” Hagerty said. “The fact that you’re not able to say that clearly today and send that message to the Department of Homeland Security is shocking.”
Garland added, “If they’ve been adjudicated to not be entitled to asylum, then they should be deported.”
Hagerty noted that the chief law enforcement officer’s reluctance and hesitancy to state unequivocally that there are repercussions for violating our laws and assert that our immigration laws will be enforced is indicative of why we are witnessing record high illegal immigration.
Guatemala President Giammattei has attributed the surge in illegal immigration north to the new open door message coming from the new Administration in Washington, which Giammattei also told Hagerty during the Senator’s recent CODEL to Guatemala and Mexico in May.