WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing last week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) questioned Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to file a lawsuit against the state over its recently enacted immigration enforcement law. Dent also pressed James A. Dinkins, Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on the disparaging impact American ‘sanctuary cities’ have on the federal government’s ability to address the criminal activities of illegal aliens.

Video of the Congressman’s questioning is available at:

In response to the hearing, Dent sent a letter [attached] to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of State Secretary Hillary Clinton explaining his disappointment in the Administration's troubling approach to addressing illegal immigration.

Dent expresses frustration over the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona and the Administration’s disturbing refusal to address the growing problem of ‘sanctuary cities’. These cities, located across the U.S., defy national immigration policies and stand in the way of efforts to properly handle criminal aliens according to federal procedures.

Dent, who has been a vocal critic of ‘sanctuary cities’, introduced legislation in 2009 to require local law enforcement authorities to notify ICE officials of the arrest of an illegal alien on state felony charges, and modify federal policy to require detention of any illegal alien arrested on a state felony charge through the completion of federal deportation proceedings.

In the letter, Dent also rebukes the Administration for its failure to secure the nation’s borders and enforce existing federal immigration laws. Officials in Arizona have indicated the federal government’s lack of concern for the plight of border communities ultimately forced the state to implement its immigration enforcement policy.

“Sadly, the federal government has failed to meet its obligations to secure the southern border and stop drug smugglers and human traffickers from wreaking havoc on residents of border states,” Dent explains in the letter. “Many American citizens feel they are under siege with little hope of support from their government.”