WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Challenged by Republicans, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Wednesday defended President Barack Obama’s decision to shelter millions of immigrants from deportation though they live in the country illegally. But she said they have no right to citizenship under the law.
She said that under the administration’s policy, the Department of Homeland Security focuses its efforts on the removal of “the most dangerous of the undocumented immigrants among us. It seems to be a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem” of illegal immigration, she said.
Lynch made her remarks in the opening moments of a hearing into her appointment as the nation’s first black female attorney general. It is the first confirmation proceeding since Republicans took control of the Senate this month.
Lynch, a daughter of the segregated South, was accompanied at the hearing by about 30 family members and friends. Among them were her father, her husband and several members of her college sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, wearing their trademark red.
Settling into the witness chair for what promised to be a long day of questioning, Lynch promised a fresh relationship with law enforcement and Congress.
“I pledge to all of you and to the American people that I will fulfill my responsibilities with integrity and independence,” she said in remarks prepared for the panel led by Republicans who say Attorney General Eric Holder has been too willing to follow Obama’s political agenda.
“You’re not Eric Holder, are you?” said Texas Republican John Cornyn, one of the current attorney general’s most persistent critics.
“No, senator,” she responded with a smile.