Black Letter to ICE Demands Answers on the Defunded “Public Advocate” Position

Sep 23, 2013 Issues: Immigration

Washington – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director John Sandweg demanding answers about reports that ICE has ignored current law by not defunding the position of “Public Advocate.” The language defunding this position was signed into law by the President on March 26, 2013 (Sec. 567 here). Congressman Black’s legislation defunding this position was passed unopposed in the House before being inserted into the final Continuing Resolution. Copied below is the letter sent by Congressman Black:

September 23, 2013

Acting Director John Sandweg
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20536-5003

Dear Acting Director Sandweg:

I write with serious concern that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has ignored current law that prohibits your agency from funding the position of “Public Advocate”.

According to ICE’s Office of Congressional Relations, Public Advocate Andrew Lorenzen-Strait did not receive a title change until April 1, 2013. President Barack Obama signed into law on March 26, 2013, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013.

Additionally, it appears that Mr. Lorenzen-Strait was retained and assigned a new title with no substantive changes to his job function.  If true, this represents a serious violation of the public trust. ICE has a moral and legal responsibility to comply with the law and the will of Congress.

The sudden creation of a new position within your agency for Mr. Lorenzen-Strait casts further doubt on the idea that ICE has acted in good faith to comply with the law.

In order to better understand how ICE is working to follow the law and the will of the American people, I respectfully request that you provide detailed answers to the following questions no later than October 7, 2013:

  1. What was the employment status of Andrew Lorenzen-Strait between March 26, 2013 and April 1, 2013?
    2. What substantive differences, if any, exist between Mr. Lorenzen-Strait’s current position and his previous one as Public Advocate?


Diane Black
Member of Congress

Judicial Watch: DHS Rebrands Illegal Alien Advocate to Avoid Congressional Ax
Fox News: Administration rebrands controversial immigration post to skirt funding cut-off



Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.