12.16.14

Leahy Urges Senate To Approve Nominee To Lead Key Immigration Office

“If Senators want our immigration laws enforced, they should focus on filling this key leadership position.”

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, December 16, 2014) –Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday urged Senators to confirm Sarah Saldaña to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, where she will lead the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The office is critical to border enforcement, and has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since last year. Leahy, who steered the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act through the Senate last year, said that Senate Republicans who say they want more border security should support Saldaña’s confirmation.

“Some want to use Ms. Saldaña’s nomination as an opportunity to attack President Obama’s executive action on immigration. But that is not the issue we are considering today,” Leahy said.  “There is no evidence that she was involved in either the House’s refusal to allow a vote on the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill or the President’s decision to take what steps he could in the wake of the House’s refusal to act.  The vote before us concerns Ms. Saldaña’s qualifications to lead ICE, and she has proved that she is more than capable of executing the duties of the position.”

Leahy added: “If Senators want our immigration laws enforced, they should focus on filling this key leadership position.”

Earlier this month, the Judiciary Committee approved Saldana’s nomination on a 10-8 vote. Her nomination was also considered and approved last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, where she earned strong bipartisan support. Saldaña currently serves as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, a position to which she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2011.

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