Inhofe Statement on President Obama's Visit to Oklahoma

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released the following statement in advance of President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma, where he will be visiting Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma this afternoon and then a correction facility in El Reno, Oklahoma, on Thursday to film an interview for a VICE documentary about our nation’s criminal justice system:

"I hope President Obama enjoys his time in Oklahoma, a great state where we understand what it takes to create economic opportunity for our local businesses and residents. Oklahoma prides itself in our domestic energy investments, robust exports, strong interstate network, and community-supported military bases. Because of our values and minimal, efficient local regulations, our unemployment levels have remained well below the national average during the recession and the historically long recovery.   

"While President Obama is visiting the federal prison in El Reno, I hope he will address the most pressing issue in criminal justice reform, which is the 347,000 convicted criminal immigrants living in our communities today largely due to the president’s lax immigration policies. In 2013, more than 36,000 criminal immigrants were released back into our communities and neighborhoods and 1,000 of those went on to commit new crimes including rape, terroristic threats and various kinds of assault. In 2014, the Obama Administration released another 30,500 criminal immigrants with a combined 79,000 convictions. This is happening not only because of a porous border,  but also because current immigration policy simply releases into our neighborhoods criminal immigrants whose countries of origin will not accept their deportation. President Obama has done nothing in his six years in office to resolve – much less discuss — this alarming loop hole in the criminal justice system. My colleagues and I in the Senate have introduced legislation addressing the immigration policies that are corroding our criminal justice system, and we will be taking more steps in the coming weeks to push this critical issue before the president and the rest of Congress.” 

Background: 

On Jan 29, Inhofe introduced Keep Our Communities Safe Act (S.291), with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), David Vitter (R-La.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The legislation would close the legal loophole created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States any immigrant that has not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months. This practice is commonly referred to as “catch and release.”

Inhofe is also an original cosponsor of Sen. Sessions’ Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (S.1640). This bill addresses many aspects of immigration enforcement, including authorizing state and local governments to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, barring sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving certain federal grants, and providing additional resources and support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.