Press Releases

“Your failure to respond to our oversight request is deeply troubling, and suggests that your Department is attempting to conceal information from the American people.”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, was joined today by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary, Finance, and Agriculture Committees, respectively, in releasing the following letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano regarding her department’s failure to respond to an oversight request for information on visa applications, which should be readily providable:  

“Dear Secretary Napolitano:

On August 6, 2012, you received a letter from us that posed several questions regarding your Department’s apparent waiver of the legal requirement that those seeking citizenship and residency in the United States not be welfare reliant.

Your failure to respond to our oversight request is deeply troubling, and suggests that your Department is attempting to conceal information from the American people. We request that you provide us with all data requested by October 1, and stress the importance of responding to every item in the letter, and of breaking down the data in questions 2, 3, and 4 for each year, including total applications received. Congress and the American people have the right to a serious, prompt, and complete response to our questions.

Sincerely,

Jeff Sessions
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Budget

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Orrin Hatch
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Finance

Pat Roberts
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry”


BACKGROUND:
On August 6, the Senators wrote to Sec. Napolitano and State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton regarding the apparent waiver of a U.S. law that requires that potential immigrants and visa applicants not be welfare reliant. That law specifically states:

“An alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”

In their letter, the Senators said that they were “shocked to discover that both the State Department and DHS exclude reliance on almost all governmental welfare programs when evaluating whether an alien is likely to become a public charge.” In fact, the Departments consider “reliance on only two of nearly 80 federal welfare programs as evidence of likelihood of becoming a public charge.” The Senators went on: “under your interpretation, an able-bodied immigrant of working age could receive the bulk of his or her income in the form of federal welfare and still not be deemed a ‘public charge.’”

To view the August 6 letter, please click here.