A group representing more than 3,000 sheriffs around the country told the Senate Wednesday that President Obama's executive actions on immigration have created confusion among local law enforcement officers, and called on the federal government to rule on the constitutionality of those actions, reports the Washington Examiner.
National Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jonathan Thompson testified at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing and said sheriffs continue to be confused by the Obama administration's Priority Enforcement Program, also known as PEP.
That program called for the priority removal of aliens who are suspected of terrorism or espionage, those caught crossing the border and those convicted of a felony. But it created two other groups of lesser priority that include aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanors, or one "significant" misdemeanor, such as sexual abuse, drug trafficking or other crimes.
Thompson said the new program doesn't square with existing law, and said sheriffs shouldn't be asked to comply with either the Obama administration or existing law.
"Our request is simple: The president should instruct the attorney general to put forth a legal opinion on the constitutional questions surrounding the Priority Enforcement Program," he said.
"To continue ignoring the questions simply furthers the view of some that the president does not support state and local law enforcement," he added. "In the absence of a legal opinion, however, it is imperative that Congress pass meaningful legislation pertaining to criminal aliens."