Crenshaw Opening Statement at ICE Facilities Oversight Hearing
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Oversight and Management Accountability Subcommittee ranking member, today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing entitled, “Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Is DHS Doing Enough?”
Thank you, Chairwoman Torres Small and thank you to all of our witnesses on both panels for being here today.
I am pleased we are holding this hearing today regarding oversight of ICE detention facilities.
I am pleased we were able to work together and resolve some of the problems coordinating witnesses and panels to have the key stake holders necessary for the productive hearing this issue deserves. I am hopeful the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will still provide their testimony prepared for this hearing, even though they were disinvited earlier this week.
This is an important issue to examine. I share the majority’s concern regarding the necessity of enforcing the standards for safety and security of ICE detainees.
The health and well-being of those detained in the United States is not a partisan issue.
I have been very public in my praise for the Department of Homeland Security and the individuals who work each day to keep our country safe. The men and women of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have some of the toughest jobs in the Department. ICE is tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration law and removing individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety, or seek to exploit our immigration system.
Their job is made ever more difficult when they are publicly and fairly vilified by public figures. The false narratives spread about ICE are utterly reprehensible.
Individuals primarily targeted for removal by ICE include convicted criminals, gang members, repeat immigration violators, and those ordered to be removed by an immigration judge. As the flow of immigrants increases, the job of ICE becomes even more difficult. They must devote their resources to rooting out those that pose the biggest threat. However, those resources are stretched thin.
The safe and secure detention of individuals prior to removal from the country is one of the most important duties that ICE devotes resources to.
Although detention is primarily done through contractors, as the agency responsible for these individuals, ICE must ensure that proper care is provided. ICE must use its oversight authorities, as well as its contracting authorities to ensure its detention standards are met.
ICE does its own inspections every three years and hires private contractors to do inspections annually.
Additionally, ICE has individuals in a number of facilities who are tasked with onsite review of the daily operations.
All this seems like the recipe for conducting vigorous oversight. Unfortunately, however, it seems, as is frequently the case with government agencies, there was a lack of communication and coordination among the divisions within ICE.
It is my understanding that ICE has agreed with the recommendations of the Inspector General’s office and is working to address these issues.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on how we can ensure ICE detention standards are met in the future.
I yield back the balance of my time.