Courtney Grills The Departments Of Homeland Security And State During Jean Jacques Hearing On Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) joined a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on ‘Recalcitrant Countries Denying Visas to Countries that Refuse to Take Back their Deported Nationals’. The hearing was called to examine Department of Homeland Security and Department of State policies and procedures for denying visas to countries that refuse to take back their deported nationals.
“The Connecticut delegation did just send a letter to Director Saldaña about the fact that this is something she does not need Congress to act on – and frankly the fact that anybody who manages an agency or a department wasn’t aware of that kind of caseload disparity just screams out dysfunction when you look at those numbers,” said Courtney.
“…Frankly, I will just tell both of you that the testimony that you delivered here today, in the wake of the I.G.’s report, in my district where we saw the horrific consequences of a system that clearly didn’t do its job – it’s almost offensive to listen to it because it’s so divorced from the reality of what the IG found, and those consequences are being felt by this family to this day.
“And frankly your department Mr. Ragsdale, I don’t mean you personally, but you have got to do a better job of getting your game up on understanding what the rules are, and put some metrics in place about the people who deserve to be prioritized in terms of their dangerous criminal records – because that clearly did not happen.”
ADDITIONAL REMARKS DELIVERED BY COURTNEY:
“As mentioned at the outset, I come from the district where Casey Chadwick lived when she was murdered in a case that falls squarely in the purview of today’s proceedings. And it’s obviously something in Connecticut that people are watching intently, where people are still very frustrated about the unfolding facts that have emerged since that horrific incident occurred. The case of Jacques, is a case where the state of Connecticut did everything right. They convicted this individual for attempted murder back in 1996. He served 16 years and was released into the custody of ICE.
“So as the Inspector General determined, there clearly is a real problem in terms of the policy level of awareness in terms of deportation officers and people making decisions at DHS about whether to move [these cases] up the food chain. Whatever the memorandum of understanding between the two Departments is, what this report shows is just a totally dysfunctional implementation of the two Departments working together in these very difficult cases.
“The other point that they made is that the caseload of the deportation officers in Newark which is where Mr. Jacques was being supervised, was that there were three or four deportation officers responsible for approximately 37,000 released aliens. A number of us have worked in the Court systems, and understand what that means in terms of being a probation officer, or a parole officer, or a public defender – the notion that four deportation officers could manage that number of cases both in terms of supervision in the community as well as following up on repartition – there is clearly Mr. Ragsdale a management problem in terms of creating a situation that was mission impossible. I don’t care how smart or capable a deportation officer is, they can’t manage a caseload like that.”
More information about this morning’s hearing can be found on the committee website here.
The witnesses that appeared before the committee this morning to deliver testimony and answer questions were:
Michele Thorn Bond
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Mr. Daniel Ragsdale
Deputy Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
You can find the full Department of Homeland Security inspector General’s report requested by Courtney and Senator’s Blumenthal and Murphy by clicking here.