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Homeland Security Oversight Hearing with DHS Sec. Napolitano

Washington, DC
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies Thursday at a full House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of DHS.

Sec. Napolitano, in her opening statement, praised her department's recent decision to suspend deportation for certain children brought to the country illegally. She was questioned about this program, and how many people it would affect. Republican members accuse the program of overstepping the bounds of the executive branch. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested that he would sue the Department over the program.

The Secretary countered that this wasn't an amnesty program, but more of a reallocation of resources towards immigrants that had committed crimes, or repeatedly violated immigration rules. She said she had the full backing of the President, as evidenced by his holding a press conference the day the policy change was announced, and did not intend to rescind the order.

The secretary was also questioned about a recent Washington Post report that suggested that as few as 1 percent of shipping containers were being scanned at foreign ports, despite a Congressional mandate that 100 percent of containers were to be scanned before leaving foreign ports. She responded that the Department of Homeland Security had a multifaceted approach to shipping container security.

Sec. Napolitano was scolded by members of the committee for not responding to questions in writing submitted following hearings in a timely fashion. The Secretary responded that her department received questions from over 100 committees and subcommittees and that they responded as soon as was possible, and that they would try to improve their response time.

In an appearance this year before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she discussed DHS' approach to people who have overstayed their visas in the U.S. and the best way to track them.  DHS is currently doing a review and will have figures by end of the year.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) chairs the hearing.

Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 1pm (ET)

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