AG Merrick Garland Says He Does Not Know How Many Illegal Aliens are Being Prosecuted for Crossing Border

by JOHN BINDER 21 Oct 2021

Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers that he does not know how many illegal aliens are being prosecuted for crossing United States borders despite a surge in illegal immigration.

During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Garland admitted during an exchange with Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) that he is unaware of how many illegal aliens are being prosecuted for illegal immigration.

ďI donít know the answer to that,Ē Garland said when asked for the figure.

Likewise, Garland said he did not know how many employers the Department of Justice (DOJ) is prosecuting for hiring illegal aliens, even though at least eight million illegal aliens are illegally employed in the U.S.

The full exchange went as follows:

MCCLINTOCK: Weíve seen the highest number of arrests of people illegally crossing our border in the history of our country ó 1.7 million arrests this year. It is a federal crime to cross the border outside a port of entry, is it not?

GARLAND: Yes itís a misdemeanor, thatís true.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, your job is to prosecute federal crimes. How many have you actually prosecuted of that 1.7 million?

GARLAND: So the Justice Department doesnít make those arrests, those are made by HomelandÖ

MCCLINTOCK: No, no, but the Justice Department is responsible for prosecuting them. How many are you prosecuting?

GARLAND: I donít know the answer to that. But Ö referred by theÖ

MCCLINTOCK: Wait, wait a second. You know exactly how many people youíre prosecuting for the riot on January 6, but you canít even give me a ballpark guess of how many people youíre prosecuting of the 1.7 million who have illegally crossed our border, committed a federal crime in doing so?

GARLAND: I donít have that number on the top of my head but Iíd be happy to have our staff get back to you.

MCCLINTOCK: Do you think that the failure to prosecute illegal border crossings might have something to do with the fact that our border is now being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants, who tell reporters that they wouldnít have considered making that trip under the Donald Trump administration?

GARLAND: I think there are a substantial number of issues driving migration towards the United States, to the pandemicÖ

MCCLINTOCK: Well, if you ask the migrants, theyíll tell you specifically whatís driving it. They can do it now, they can get in Ö Gallup tells us that there are about 42 million people living just in Latin America and the Caribbean who intend to come to the United States if they can based upon their polling. A lot of people come on temporary visas and then they fail to leave when those visas expire, again, in violation of federal law. Do you believe those who illegally overstay their visas should respect our laws and return to their home countries?

GARLAND: I think that they should respect our laws. Itís up to the Department of Homeland Security to make determinationsÖ

MCCLINTOCK: And yet, the administration is proposing amnesty to most visa overstays Ö including those who have visas that have yet to expire. So what youíre telling us and what you are doing are two very different things. Let me go on, itís unlawful for an employer to unknowingly hire an illegal alien. How many prosecutions are you pursuing under this law?

GARLAND: Again, I donít know the number off the top of my head but Iíd be happy to have staff to try to get back to you.

MCCLINTOCK: It shocks me, given the fact that this is now a historic high on illegal border crossings, youíre the chief law enforcement officer for our country, you come here before this committee, you devote not a word in your spoken remarks to this issue, you devote in a 10-page written statement, one paragraph simply saying we need to expedite the immigration proceedings for asylum claims. I find that astonishing.

Let me ask you this, do you agree that an alien who has received proper notice of his or her immigration court hearing who fails to appear at that hearing Ö and is ordered removed in absentia should be removed from this country?

GARLAND: Iím not really familiar with the exact circumstance youíre talking about. There are rules about removalÖ

MCCLINTOCK: When someone Ö if someone is ordered deported by a court, should they be removed?

GARLAND: Theyíre ordered deported by a court, then we have an obligation to follow the courtís order.

MCCLINTOCK: And yet the presidentís order opening day in office instructed Ö Immigration and Customs Enforcement not to conduct such deportations.

GARLAND: Iím not familiar with the specific thing youíre talking about. Iím sorry.

Garlandís admission comes after reports that the number of illegal aliens arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year hit a record-breaking 1.7 million ó the highest in the nationís history. The overwhelming majority occurred after President Joe Biden took office in late January and gutted border controls and interior immigration enforcement.