Homeland Security Chairman: How Many 'Special-Interest Aliens' Have Gotten Into Country?

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the list of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s potential Supreme Court justices.

“I am very encouraged by the list of Supreme Court nominees that the candidate that you refer to, Mr. Trump, has put forward as potential replacements for Justice Antonin Scalia. And his death was a tremendous loss, from my standpoint, in terms of somebody who respects the United States Constitution and the rule of law, and I believe those are 10 potential nominees who reflect that,” Goodlatte said during a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington focused on improving national security.

“I am encouraged by a candidate who says that he wants a vice presidential nominee who understands the legislative process so that he — meaning Mr. Trump — can work better with the Congress, something that would be a vast improvement over the current circumstance that we find. So these are things that you have to look to, to determine who would make the best president of the United States,” he added.

Goodlatte said many of the current problems in the Middle East are linked to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s “track record” as secretary of State.

“I think a lot of the problems that we have now exacerbated during her leadership or lack of leadership in working in the Obama administration,” he said.

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) shared a similar perspective.

“I think the administration and Mrs. Clinton and the foreign policy — she’s the architect of much of this after the Arab spring —it has created, my concern, from a homeland standpoint, is so many terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens from which they can operate out of to attack Americans in the homeland. That’s one of my biggest concerns. We want to change that course,” he said.

During the event, McCaul was asked what measures need to be taken to fully secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Well, it’s when we can gain operational control and you can define that in many ways, but right now we’re catching less than half of what’s coming in and, you know, what Bob and I worry about is what’s coming in that we don’t know about. We do know we’re apprehending, other than Mexicans, special-interest aliens from countries of interest that concern us,” he said. “We’re apprehending them, but how many have already gotten into this country? And I think that’s one of the biggest concerns.”

McCaul referenced a bill that passed out of his committee that would take “a multi-layered approach to basically create a barrier to prevent illegal aliens, but also potential terrorists, from coming into the United States.”

“That involves not just fencing, although fencing is important, and infrastructure, but also technology and aviation assets and manpower, boots on the ground, to respond. One important program we passed was the Department of Defense transferring excess surplus property, like aerostats, from Afghanistan to the Southwest border so we have that visibility,” he said. “Right now we can’t see 100 percent what’s happening on the ground. If you can’t see what’s happening, it’s very difficult to respond to it. So I think the answer is when we achieve operational control. We’re far from that right now.”

Goodlatte said Border Patrol agents and ICE agents are “on a very frequent basis complaining about instructions from their superiors to not turn people away” after illegally crossing the border.

“To not detain people, to let people in even without documentation, that part of people being admitted to the country not because they evaded detection but because they said here I am, I want in, and an administration finding more and more reasons to let them in, as opposed to turn them away, and not enforce the law once they have overstayed their presence in the country, is an equally important component of that,” he said. “The 9/11 hijackers and the San Bernardino killing all took place with people who were at least initially lawfully present in the United States.”