Garland said he would “assume” the DOJ would prosecute it because it is now illegal but nothing was certain
Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland, in his confirmation hearing on Monday, brushed aside a series of questions about how the Department of Justice would implement immigration law at the border crossing if it is confirmed as a top official.
Sen. Josh Holley, R-Mo., Pressed Garland on his stand on immigration policy at the end of the first day of hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At the beginning of his five-minute window for questions, Hawley asked Garland what he believed should be an “illegal entry” crime in the United States.
“I haven’t thought about that question. I haven’t thought about that question,” Garland said in response. “I think the president has made it clear that we are a country with borders and with national security concerns. I don’t know whether to decriminalize a motion, but it is illegal to re-file it anyway. I Don’t know right now. Answer to that question. I haven’t thought about it. “
Upon entering office, President Biden signed a series of executive orders to repeal immigration policies to be implemented under former President Donald Trump, including an action that led to the cancellation of funds for the border wall It was done. And last week, Congressional Democrats introduced a Biden-backed immigration bill that includes an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, among other measures.
Hawley pressured Garland after his admission, asking Nominee if he would “continue to prosecute illegal border crossings” if confirmed as Attorney General.
“This, again, is a question of allocation of resources,” Garland said. “The department will prevent illegal crossings. I don’t know. I have to admit, I just don’t know what the conditions are and how it’s done. I don’t know what the current program is with respect either. I think the answer. Yes, but I don’t know what the issues are around it. “
Earlier in the hearing, Garland had harsh words for a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy adopted under then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the early days of the Trump administration. The policy, which was later discontinued, resulted in hundreds of parents being separated from their children.
Garland said the Department of Justice would cooperate with any investigation into the policy.
“I think the policy was embarrassing. I can’t think of anything worse than tearing the parents out of my children, and we’ll all provide the support we possibly can,” Garland said.