U.S. Sen. David Perdue yesterday killed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Dax Lopez to be a life-time federal judge for Georgia’s northern district by refusing to submit his “blue slip” to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee member said that he was especially disturbed by Lopez’s longtime board membership and speeches on behalf of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) lobbying organization. The senator’s statement also alluded to other colleagues on the Judiciary panel who shared his opposition to Lopez, a Dekalb County state court judge.
If just one home-state U.S. senator doesn’t return a “blue slip” approval, bipartisan tradition has it that the judicial nomination dies in committee.
GALEO has sought to overturn Georgia immigration control laws, opposes English as the state’s official language of government and is threatening to sue Gwinnett and Hall counties for having English-only ballots, materials and poll workers. (U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., issued a stinging rebuke to GALEO in a press release on Tuesday. The congressman from Hall County underscores that language is no barrier to any voter and that anyone can ask for an interpreter at a polling place if necessary.)
In another Perdue-related development yesterday, Georgia’s junior senator spoke out forcefully on the state of the nation’s broken exit-entry visa system. He said:
“A visa entry-exit tracking system has been required by law for 20 years, yet it still does not exist. That is unacceptable. Today, (the Department of Homeland Security) cannot even tell us how many people in our country have overstayed their visas. One of the first inquiries I made of the DHS was about its progress in collecting data on this very issue. Nearly eight months later, DHS finally released a shocking report that shows more than half a million individuals unlawfully overstayed their visas in 2015. Equally as shocking, the federal government is only investigating roughly 3,000 of those individuals who are here illegally. This number of overstayed visas includes hundreds of people from countries with significant Islamic extremist movements and confirms that our immigration system is broken and presents a dire threat to our national security.” During a Senate Judiciary hearing in April 2015, Senator Perdue asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to provide the committee with data on visa overstays. This week DHS released its visa overstay report that showed nearly 527,127 people overstayed their visas which expired in 2015, including: 1,435 individuals from Pakistan; 681 from Iraq; 564 from Iran; 440 from Syria; and 219 from Yemen.