Restoring Trust in Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents are hard at work, doing their part to keep Americans safe and delivering them the justice they deserve. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the dedicated law enforcement professionals who protect and serve our communities.
Unfortunately, over the past few years a series of scandals and failures have rocked the Secret Service, ranging from the agents’ use of prostitutes while on official presidential travel to Colombia, to the agency’s failure to initially apprehend a fence-jumper who later was arrested deep into the White House residence, to a recent incident where two agents allegedly drove while intoxicated into an active bomb investigation outside of the White House. Just a few weeks ago, it was also revealed that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents had engaged with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels while in Colombia.
This past week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing to further analyze the efforts of these agencies to deal with serious misconduct that has caused the public to forget the competent and professional service they expect from federal law enforcement professionals. I am pleased that, though they are quite late in doing so, the agencies that appeared before the Committee finally seem to be taking this seriously.
Additionally, in an effort to address many of the issues plaguing the Secret Service, I recently introduced the Secret Service Improvements Act to provide much-needed reforms. The bipartisan legislation strengthens the security of the President and the White House complex, enhances Secret Service agents’ training, and improves transparency and accountability at the agency. It also requires Senate confirmation of the Director of the Secret Service. It defies logic that the person we entrust to not just protect the President, but also head a $1.5 billion dollar federal law enforcement agency with over 6,000 employees, is not subject to the same process of advice and consent as his counterparts at comparable agencies.
It is an inescapable fact that the exposure of a rogue agent or unsavory incident stick in the collective memory more firmly than entire careers worth of effective, unblemished law enforcement work. That is why it is so important that we get to the bottom of these troubling revelations and put an end to the “agents gone wild” image. The House Judiciary Committee has conducted aggressive oversight over these agencies and will continue to do so. We must take the necessary steps to restore trust in our federal law enforcement agencies and ensure the safety of those they serve. Read my full weekly column here.
This week, I had several meetings with groups from the Sixth District, including folks from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Lung Cancer Alliance, and the Virginia State Firefighters Association. (Top left to right)
Troubling ICE Data Released
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on oversight of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). According to information provided by ICE, the agency released 30,558 criminal aliens with a total of 79,059 convictions in Fiscal Year 2014. Among the convictions of criminal aliens released are 86 homicide convictions, 186 kidnapping convictions, 373 sexual assault convictions, 449 commercialized sexual offenses, 1,194 battery convictions, 1,346 domestic violence convictions, and 13,636 driving under the influence of alcohol convictions. ICE’s first duty and highest obligation is public safety. The nonsensical actions of this Administration demonstrate its lack of desire to enforce the law even against unlawful aliens convicted of serious crimes. I can only hope that the new ICE Director, Sarah Saldana (who testified before the Committee) will reconsider these policies put in place by her predecessors and return ICE to an agency that puts public safety and the enforcement of our immigration laws as its number one concern. (Photo: Greeting Director Saldana)
Don’t Forget These Dates!
April 22 – This Wednesday is the deadline for all submissions to the Congressional Art Competition! All high school students in the Sixth District are invited to participate. The winner’s artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Visit my website for more information.
April 27 – The City of Roanoke will hold a Career, Lifestyle and Financial Fitness Fair in conjunction with my office as well as Congressman Morgan Griffith from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Berglund Center in the Special Events Hall located at 710 Williamson Rd.
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