AG Nominee Barr: ‘As We Open Our Front Door … We Cannot Allow Others’ to Crash ‘Through the Back Doors’

By Melanie Arter | January 15, 2019 | 11:36am EST
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush, was confronted about his views on the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - During his Senate confirmation hearing, Attorney General nominee William Barr said Tuesday that the U.S. must secure its borders and ensure that its laws “allow us to process, hold, and remove those who unlawfully enter.”

Barr outlined what his priorities would be if confirmed to the top post at the Department of Justice (DOJ), saying that under his leadership, the DOJ “will continue to prioritize enforcing and improving our immigration laws.”

“As a nation, we have the most liberal and expansive immigration laws in the world. Legal immigration has historically been a huge benefit to this country. However, as we open our front door and try to admit people in an orderly way, we cannot allow others to flout our legal system by crashing in through the back doors,” he said.

“In order to ensure that our immigration system works properly, we must secure our nation’s borders, and we must ensure that our laws allow us to process, hold, and remove those who unlawfully enter,” Barr said.

Barr pledged to “diligently implement” the First Step Act, the criminal justice reform measure which was signed into law recently. He said the new law “recognizes the progress we’ve made over the past three decades in fighting violent crime.”

“As attorney general, I will ensure that we will continue our efforts to combat violent crime,” he said. “In the past, I was focused on predatory violence, but today, I am also concerned about another type of violence.

“We can only survive and thrive as a nation if we are mutually tolerant of each other’s differences whether they be differences based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or political thinking, and yet, we see some people violently attacking others simply because of their differences. We must have zero tolerance for such crimes, and I will make this a priority as attorney general if confirmed,” Barr said.

The attorney general nominee also pledged to combat election interference.

“Finally, in a democracy like ours, the right to vote is paramount. In a period of great political division, one of the foundations of our nation is our enduring commitment to the peaceful transition of power through elections. If confirmed, I will ensure that the full might of our resources are brought to bear against foreign persons, who unlawfully interfere in our elections,” he said.

“Fostering confidence in the outcome of elections also means ensuring that the right to vote is fully protected as well as ensuring the integrity of elections. Let me conclude by making the point that over the long run, the course of justice in this country has more to do with the character of the Department of Justice as an enduring institution than with the tenure of any particular attorney general,” Barr said.

“Above all else, if confirmed, I will work diligently to protect the professionalism and integrity of the department as an institution, and I will strive to leave it and the nation a stronger and better place,” he said.


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