President Barack Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, was questioned today by conservatives on the Senate Judiciary Committee about the legality of administrative relief. New York’s Chuck Schumer criticized the Republicans for turning a confirmation hearing for the Attorney General into a debate over immigration policy. “Now, they can sue and let the courts decide, the confirmation of America’s highest law enforcement official is not the time nor place to vent frustration,” he said.
Lynch told the Senators that she agreed with the president’s policy allowing undocumented immigrants to get right with the law. She said, “I certainly think that people who come to this country in a variety of ways can rehabilitate themselves. I think the citizenship is a privilege that has to be earned.”
Lynch said that while she had no part in the issuance of President Obama’s administrative relief program, she had reviewed the order and the legal analysis it was based on. She testified that she believed the order to be Constitutional and that she could enforce it as it applied to her department. According to Lynch, the program “seemed to be a reasonable way to marshal limited resources.”
Lynch explained the need to direct enforcement away from immigrants who have become part of the community. “The Department of Homeland Security was seeking legal guidance on the most effective way to prioritize the removal of groups of large numbers of individuals given that their resources would not permit removal of everyone who fell within the respective category,” she said.