7 Republicans On Judicial Panel Demand Inquiry
Houston Chronicle: The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday called for an investigation into the dismissal of hundreds of immigration cases in Houston, accusing Homeland Security officials of selectively enforcing the law. Texas Sen. John Cornyn and six GOP colleagues on the powerful panel wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano demanding a full report on the dismissals by Nov. 15. In early August, Homeland Security trial attorneys started filing unsolicited motions to dismiss hundreds of cases on Houston's immigration court docket involving suspected illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than two years without committing serious crimes. News of the dismissals, first reported in the Houston Chronicle in late August, caused a national controversy amid allegations that the Obama administration was implementing a kind of "backdoor amnesty" — a charge officials strongly denied.
"It appears that your department is enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress," the senators wrote. "The repercussions of this decision extend beyond removal proceedings, because it discourages officers from even initiating new removal proceedings if they believe the case ultimately will be dismissed." According to data from the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the nation's immigration court system, the number of dismissals in Houston courts shot up from 27 in July to 271 in August, an increase of more than 700 percent. In September, judges dismissed 174 pending cases.