UNITED STATES - June 10: Congressman James Lankford, R-OK, is interviewed by Roll Call. Lankford is currently running for Senator. (Photo By Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Congressman James Lankford, R-OK

Sen. James Lankford will send a letter to the White House on Thursday asking the president to clarify his remarks that there will be “consequences” for government officials who do not comply with his executive order on immigration.

This is the second attempt Lankford, R-Okla., has made to have President Barack Obama explain his statement.

During remarks at a town hall at Florida International University in February, the president was asked about his executive order in light of a ruling by a U.S. District Court allowing deportations to continue.

“Look, the bottom line is, is that if somebody is working for ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it,” he said.

Lankford asked the president a series of questions about his remarks in a letter in February. On Aug. 27, Lankford received a reply from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Director, Sarah R. Saldaña.

Lankford decided to send another letter to the president.

In his letter to the president, Lankford wrote:

  • Not only was the response sent six months after my initial letter, it failed to answer any of the five questions asked. As such, I am asking these questions again.
  • What are the specific consequences an ICE agent will face if he or she respects the judge’s ruling and fails to follow your policies?
  • How will the threat and implementation of such consequences impact the already low morale within the Homeland Security Department?
  • How should agents balance their oath to defend the Constitution with your order to follow policies that a federal court deemed in violation of federal law?
  • Since you specifically mentioned the U.S. military in your town hall statement, will consequences also ensue for our nations’ servicemembers or other federal employees who fail to follow one of your announced policies, regardless of whether it’s constitutional or not?
  • What written or verbal direction have you given to Secretary Johnson to implement and enforce these consequences? If written communications exist, please provide a copy.

The Daily Signal previously reported that Lankford sent his initial letter to the president shortly after the town hall in February.

“Immigration enforcement is not a political issue—it is an important national security issue that requires clear direction,” Lankford said in a statement at the time. “Our ICE and DHS families face tremendous pressure; comments like this create more confusion and stress about their responsibilities. Federal law enforcement officials should not constantly second-guess their task as they face dangerous split-second decisions every day. Despite no response from the White House, we will continue to press this matter.”

“Please be assured that the Department takes its obligations to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws very seriously,” Saldaña wrote in her reply. “Our immigration system is broken. The priorities established by Secretary Johnson, as part of the executive action, provide direction that enables officers to focus their enforcement efforts on public safety and national security threats.”


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