Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas said during a House Rules Committee hearing Thursday that illegal immigrants granted deportation relief by President Barack Obama are “murdering” U.S. citizens. Sessions, who leads the committee, blamed Obama and Democrats for the murders, which he said are being committed by undocumented immigrants in the United States “every day.”
“Every day, all along border states -- maybe other places -- there are murders by people who’ve been arrested coming into this country who’ve been released by the Obama administration -- I believe in violation of the law -- who are murdering Americans all over our cities,” Sessions said. “We hold the Democratic Party and the president personally accountable for this action.”
Obama announced in November he would act unilaterally to extend deferred action to as many as 4.7 million illegal immigrants in the United States. However, a Texas judge ruled last week to temporarily block implementation of Obama’s immigration policies, which would allow eligible unauthorized immigrants to stay and obtain legal status, driver’s licenses, work permits and other government benefits.
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled in favor of a coalition of 26 states that filed suit against the federal government in December, asserting the president’s actions were illegal. Obama said during a town hall discussion Wednesday that the Department of Justice has “very aggressively” appealed the court ruling and he is “confident” his administration will win as the case goes through higher courts. “We believe that the law is clearly on our side,” he said during the televised meeting at Florida International University in Miami.
The Homeland Security budget has also been shackled as GOP lawmakers sought to block the department’s funding unless Democrats agreed to reverse Obama’s executive orders on immigration. The agency faces a partial shutdown Friday night, unless lawmakers act. Obama accused Republicans Wednesday of holding the Department of Homeland Security “hostage” over immigration policy and has vowed to veto any bills declaring his actions illegal.
Speaker of the House John Boehner reportedly wants to pass a stopgap measure to avoid a shutdown but only funds the department for three weeks -- a move that could shift the blame on Democrats if the agency tasked with overseeing national security shuts down.
Ginger Gibson in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.