Josh Hawley Grills Biden Judicial Nominee Kenly Kato On Illegal Immigration: ‘Are Those Crimes Or Not?’

February 01, 20225:02 PM ET

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley pressed Judge Kenly Kiya Kato, President Joe Biden’s judicial nominee for the Central District of California, on her stance regarding illegal immigration Tuesday.

“38 percent of your docket would be offenses like immigration and fraud and I’m worried, frankly, given your statements and record on this issue that something that’s going to make up a huge portion of your docket is an issue in which you have said that you’ve expressed concern about whether these things are really crimes, whether they should really be prosecuted,” Hawley said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, bringing up Kato’s stance on illegal immigration.

“And you just amply described your efforts to make sure that folks were not prosecuted. Is there anything you can say to convince us that you’d be able to do your job here with such a large portion of your docket in the midst of one of the worst crime waves in this country’s history?” he pressed.


“The statements and the advocacy that I engaged in were when I was serving in my role as a deputy federal public defender,” Kato responded.

“Have you changed your views since then?” Hawley asked.

“My role has changed,” Kato said. “For the past seven and a half years I have served as sitting United States magistrate judge. And my record demonstrates that I was able to put aside my advocacy role and now my role is solely one where my duty of loyalty is to the law and the law alone.”

Hawley again grilled Kato on her previous positions, asking if she would now disagree with her statement that “these people haven’t done anything wrong.” He asked Kato if she agreed that issues like fraud and illegal immigration were crimes.

Kato responded by saying that, as a former counsel to individuals Hawley described, it would be “inappropriate” for her to respond to his question.

Hawley pushed back, arguing that she made clear these positions to a newspaper, not in a courtroom. He then demanded to know whether the instances he described were “crimes or not,” or if they were “serious or not.”

“I’m just trying to understand where you’re actually coming down on this,” Hawley said.

Kato again argued that these positions were expressed during her time as an advocate and that she’d served as a United States magistrate for seven and a half years.

Josh Hawley Grills Biden Judicial Nominee Kenly Kato On Illegal Immigration: ‘Are Those Crimes Or Not?’ | The Daily Caller