Washington, DC – Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement today in response to a news report regarding illegal immigrants who were caught-and-released en route to work at Gillette Stadium last week.  According to the story, dozens of illegal immigrants said they were detained and processed then driven back to the stadium by federal agents.  According to one of the illegal immigrants quoted in the story, “They told us if you want to go to work, you can go to work.” 

Ranking Member Smith:  “The Obama administration’s latest refusal to enforce the nation’s immigration laws is an insult to every out-of-work citizen and legal immigrant.  The Obama administration has reinstated the failed catch-and-release policies of the past and has even gone so far as to turn federal law enforcement officers into taxi drivers to get illegal immigrants back to their illegal jobs! 

“These jobs rightfully belong to citizens and legal immigrants.  With a 10 percent unemployment rate, now is the time for the President to enforce immigration laws and return stolen jobs to the people.  When the jobs stolen by illegal immigrants are recovered for citizens and legal workers, American workers benefit.

“President Obama could create eight million jobs for citizens and legal workers simply by enforcing immigration laws.  Instead, weak immigration enforcement policies hurt citizens and legal immigrants.  It is hard to conceive of a worse time to implement such policies, but that is exactly what the administration has done.”

It is a violation of federal law for an illegal immigrant to work without authorization.  Eight million illegal immigrants currently work in the U.S. 

The release and return-to-work of these illegal immigrants follows the implementation of a new fugitive policy by the Obama administration that federal agents should only detain illegal immigrants who have removal orders or criminal histories.  The policy ignores the data that shows caught-and-released illegal immigrants rarely show up for later court dates.