Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) interrogated the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director in a contentious exchange during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration policy on Tuesday.
One particularly interesting back-and-forth occurred when ICE Director Sarah Saldana disputed Cruz’s assertion that the Obama administration released 104,000 “criminal illegal aliens.”
“When I asked you how many criminals ICE released in 2013, you were off by a factor of three,” Cruz said. “You said 30,000 — the correct answer is 104,000.”
Saldana argued she thought she was asked about 2014 and claimed the number was actually 30,558 released illegal aliens that were not prosecuted. The “good news is,” she continued, “at least that went down from 2013.”
“But you’re omitting the 68,000 criminal illegal aliens that ICE did not begin deportation proceedings against at all,” Cruz shot back. “You’ve got to add both of those together — it’s over 100,000.”
Saldana then admitted, “Yes sir, that’s absolutely right.”
She added, “All done pursuant to this statute that Congress has outlined.”
Watch the exchange below:
During the hearing, Cruz also stated that of the 88,000 convictions against illegal immigrants released in 2013, 193 had homicide convictions, 426 had sexual assault convictions and over 16,000 had drunk or drugged driving convictions.
He delivered a passionate statement about the victims who have been murdered by illegal immigrants in the U.S., including Kate Steinle.
“There are too many politicians in Washington that talk a good game but don’t act. If you want to honor Josh [Wilkerson], if you want to honor Kate Steinle, start enforcing the law and stop releasing murderers, and rapists, and drunk drivers,” he said. “I don’t want to hear from the Obama administration they're sorry while they continue to do the exact same thing because what we know – more people will be murdered, more people will be raped, more people will be killed by drunk drivers because this Administration refuses to enforce the law. That is wrong. No man is above the law, and that includes President Obama.”
He concluded with the following statement: "It is within your power to follow federal law. And this administration refuses to do so, and that is altogether unacceptable."