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Lawmaker rips DHS for ignoring questions on illegal immigrant transfers to Arizona

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FILE - This Aug. 2, 2014 file photo shows demonstrators protesting at Freedom Plaza in Washington asking President Barack Obama to modify his deportations policies. The White House is crafting a blame-it-on-Congress legal justification to back up President Barack Obama's impending executive actions on immigration. Facing an expect onslaught of opposition, the administration plans to argue that by failing to provide enough resources to fully enforce U.S. laws, lawmakers have ceded wide latitude to White House to prioritize deportations, administration officials and legal experts said. But Republicans, too, are exploring their legal options for stopping Obama from what they’ve deemed an egregious presidential overstep. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File\n

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Thursday accused the Department of Homeland Security for ignoring his questions about what authority the department has to transfer illegal immigrants to Arizona and other states, often without giving any notice to those states.

Gosar's staff asked this question of DHS staff more than three months ago, and even followed up with a letter to DHS after being told Gosar himself needed to ask them himself. But even after that second attempt, DHS has not replied, which Gosar said is an "insult."

Demonstrators in Washington this month called on President Barack Obama to modify his deportations policies. But Republicans say that move would flout the law, and that the Obama administration is already going too far by transferring illegal immigrant detainees around the country. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

"I am appalled at the department's response, or lack thereof, to these legitimate questions," he wrote in a new letter to DHS. Gosar said the only response he has received from DHS was a July 21 letter saying his questions were "very important" and were being given a "high priority."

"Respectfully, I find these statements to be disingenuous at best," he wrote.

He said his most important question is what authority DHS has to transfer illegal immigrants around the country, and said that question needs to be answered immediately. "It should not take DHS lawyers or policy personnel 80-90 days to respond with an answer to this question," Gosar wrote.

He said the lack of response is "both a disappointment and an insult" that will force some in Congress to question whether DHS is competent at all.

"The lack of will or ability to respond does not help members of Congress believe that DHS is a competent government agency," he wrote. "To the contrary, members believe that DHS — like many other departments and agencies in this administration — only wishes to stonewall congressional inquiry and perform end-runs around the laws of this nation."

Gosar says the administration has been transferring illegal immigrants around the country at taxpayer expense, and says DHS has said those flights cost $53,000 each.

Some attempts to move immigrants to different states have been met by protestors who say the government needs to detain them near the border for a short period of time, and then deported.

Gosar and others have complained that DHS is not notifying the governors of states where they are housing illegal immigrants. Gosar's office said after immigrants are screened, they are released and told to report to a government office within 15 days, but said that by DHS's own admission, "most will never report."

Read Gosar's latest letter here:

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