U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week announced the appointment of a public advocate to handle complaints and questions about the administration’s immigration enforcement policies.
This new position will serve as a point of contact for illegal and criminal immigrants in deportation proceedings as well as NGOs and other community and advocacy groups. However, not everyone is celebrating this latest announcement.
"The [Obama] administration all too often acts more like a lobbying firm for illegal [aliens] than as an advocate for the American people," said Republican Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX).
"As our first Public Advocate, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community," said ICE Director John Morton. "We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized, and I'm confident Andrew will serve the community well in this capacity."
Lorenzen-Strait has served with ICE since 2008, first as an advisor and analyst on policies related to immigration enforcement, detention and juveniles and most recently, as the senior advisor for Enforcement and Removal Operation's (ERO) detention management division.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith loudly criticized the creation of this new position, another "czar" that doesn't require the U.S. Senate requirement of "Advise and Consent."
“It’s outrageous that the Obama administration has appointed a taxpayer-funded activist for illegal and criminal immigrants who are detained or ordered deported," said Chairman Smith.
“This is just further proof that the Obama administration puts illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of Americans. The Obama administration’s lack of immigration enforcement allows illegal immigrants to steal jobs away from American workers and now their in-house lobbyist for illegal immigrants costs U.S. taxpayers more money. Illegal immigration already costs U.S. taxpayers billions each year," Rep. Smith pointed out.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the advocate will "serve as a point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, NGOs and other community and advocacy groups, who have concerns, questions, recommendations or other issues they would like to raise," according to officials.
ICE, which part of the Homeland Security Department, announced that Andrew Lorenz-Strait will be the first advocate.
“This is also another example of the Obama administration sidestepping Congress to fulfill its campaign wish list. When Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, it created an ombudsman for immigrants in the legal immigration process but declined to create one for illegal immigrants. The President cannot continue to willfully ignore the laws and intent of Congress," said Lamar.
“Who will advocate for American taxpayers and workers? And who will advocate for the victims of crimes these illegal immigrants have committed? Based on their record, it seems this administration won’t,” added Lamar.