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Six years of ignoring and unilaterally rewriting the nation's laws

Sessions: Obama Dismantling the Immigration System


By —— Bio and Archives--February 18, 2015

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Conservative champion Sen. Jeff Sessions is accusing President Obama of “systematically” dismantling the nation’s immigration enforcement system—and he’s got proof.

Obama’s attacks on America’s immigration laws are “undermining the very rule of law upon which our nation was founded and upon which its greatness depends,” said the Alabama Republican.

Sessions has put together an exhaustive 50-page report in the form of a detailed timeline that catalogs Obama’s specific assaults on the U.S. immigration system since becoming president. Some conservatives say Obama is deliberately flooding the U.S. with illegal aliens as a means of generating future Democratic Party voters.

The history lesson from Sessions comes as Republicans attempt to overcome a Democratic filibuster of a House-passed Department of Homeland Security bill that blocks President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty. Funding for DHS runs out at the end of the month. Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) support some kind of immigration amnesty but object to Obama’s unilateral approach that bypasses Congress.

The Sessions report also comes as a federal court slaps the Obama administration with a preliminary injunction preventing the government from moving forward with Obama’s extra-legal immigration amnesty. President Obama unveiled the unpopular plan late last year in the wake of his Democratic Party’s humiliating defeat in congressional elections.

Texas-based federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen found late Monday that Obama exceeded his authority in unilaterally granting benefits to more than 4 million illegal aliens. (Details of the injunction are available at Townhall.) The Department of Homeland Security had been planning to begin accepting applications for the amnesty and processing work permits for the affected illegal aliens today. The Obama administration plans to appeal the court decision.

Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the extreme-left National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), called the decision “judicial vigilantism” and implied the judge was racist and xenophobic. By contrast, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the court ruling a “major victory for the rule of law” and “a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama’s lawless amnesty.” Cruz noted that Texas is “leading a coalition of 26 states to block the illegal executive actions and to protect our states, cities, and communities.”

In his report Session notes pointedly that President Obama previously said he had no power to pursue the very amnesty he is now trying to implement.

“In September 2011, President Obama said, ‘We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.’ Yet, since that time, and indeed before then, he has systematically voided existing laws and unilaterally created new measures that Congress has refused to adopt under either Democratic or Republican control.”

These powers that Obama now claims are something that Obama previously said only an “emperor” could possess, according to Sessions. Among these powers Obama used to say he could not exercise are the granting of unilateral amnesty, work permits, and access to government benefits.

“This unprecedented action, combined with new ‘enforcement priorities’ for Department of Homeland Security personnel that exempt the vast majority of illegal immigrants from the threat of removal, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive,” memos detailing plans to cripple enforcement efforts, and various executive actions have “threatened not only our constitutional system, but our national sovereignty.”

“Indeed, the idea of national, sovereign borders is being daily eviscerated by the President’s determination to write his own immigration rules in defiance of Congress and the American people,” writes Sessions, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.

Some highlights from the senator’s report:

*President Obama and DHS Secretary Johnson both embrace the “rights” of illegal aliens.

Speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Jan. 24, 2014, newly sworn-in DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson endorsed a so-called path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and said: “It is also, frankly, in my judgment, a matter of who we are as Americans to offer those who want to be citizens, who’ve earned the right to be citizens ... to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become American citizens.”

President Obama echoed Johnson on Sept. 2, 2014, telling a Milwaukee audience that illegal immigration is a “right”:  “Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights, and workers’ rights, and civil rights, and voting rights, and gay rights, and immigration rights.”

*The Obama administration has lied repeatedly about how many people it has deported.

In early 2010 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) claimed the number of illegals removed shot up by 47 percent in Obama’s first year in office. Months later it was discovered the figure had risen by just 5 percent. In October 2010 officials claimed ICE had “removed more illegal aliens than in any other period in the history of our nation.” Two months later the Washington Post revealed ICE padded its deportation statistics.

On March 12 last year DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted in congressional testimony that “more than half of the 368,000 deportations reported by ICE for fiscal year 2013—touted as a record number of deportations—were actually due to arrests by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and would not have counted toward ICE’s removal totals under previous administrations.”

*The Obama administration has simply ceased processing the cases of many illegal aliens.

On Nov. 7, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would longer bother putting low-priority illegal aliens in removal proceedings. Unless illegals fall under administration criteria as deportation “priorities,” proceedings will no longer by initiated by issuing “Notice to Appear” in immigration court.

*The Obama administration is openly refusing to enforce border security.

In May 2010 ICE said it would no longer accept illegal aliens transferred to the agency by Arizona law enforcement “largely because the Obama Administration disagrees with Arizona’s immigration law, which made it a crime to be in the state illegally and required police to check suspects for immigration documents.” Earlier the same year DHS announced it would reallocate $50 million designated for virtual fence technology along the Southwest border because the system known “as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines.”

At a February 2011 congressional hearing lawmakers learned that according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintains operational control of only 69 of the approximately 4,000 miles along the northern border and only 873 of the nearly 2,000 miles along the southwestern border. This apparently violates the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which requires DHS to achieve and maintain operational control, which the law defines as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”

In October 2011 it was reported that Border Patrol field offices have been ordered to stop carrying out regular inspections at transportation hubs—both at the border and in the interior of the country—such as random stops and investigations of suspicious behavior, and instead that officers should act only based on actual intelligence indicating a threat. A news article notes that “halting the practice has baffled agents” who described it as “an effective way to catch unlawful immigrants, including smugglers and possible terrorists.”

*The Obama administration is unlawfully providing illegal aliens with generous government benefits including legal representation.

A Treasury Department Inspector General report in September 2011 found that the IRS paid out $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits to illegal immigrants via the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) in 2010. “Millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it.”

In October 2014 the Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to give $9.2 million to the Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Committee for Refugees and Immigrants for legal assistance for undocumented minors in deportation proceedings. Federal law prohibits government-funded representation in immigration proceedings. This past November the White House acknowledged that many of the illegal aliens who will benefit from the president’s executive amnesty will be eligible for Social Security, Medicare, and other taxpayer-financed benefits.

Worse still, the Obama administration is aggressively signing up illegal aliens for government benefits including welfare. Then-U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack admitted in 2012 that his agency’s personnel have met more than 30 times with Mexican government officials to encourage non-citizen enrollment in food stamps and 14 other welfare programs.

In August 2012 members of the Senate Budget, Judiciary, Finance, and Agriculture Committees learned that the government does not enforce a federal law designed to prevent aliens from relying on the public welfare system.

*The Obama administration assists smugglers in violating U.S. laws.

On Dec. 13, 2013, Andrew S. Hanen, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas, (the same judge who issued an injunction against Obama’s amnesty this week), issued an order stating: “This Court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security of completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.” According to the Sessions report, “Hanen details the practice of DHS immigration agents assisting human traffickers deliver illegal immigrants to their relatives in the United States—including relatives who are themselves illegal immigrants.”

*The Obama administration unilaterally changes federal law prohibiting admission of terrorists to the United States.

On Feb. 5, 2014 the Departments of Homeland Security and State published new regulations making it easier for some individuals who had provided “limited” material support to terrorists to enter the U.S. Individuals who had prepared or planned a terrorist activity or providing material support for such activity will henceforth be allowed to enter the U.S. but also to apply for immigration benefits including permanent resident status.

This is a small sample of the many egregious wrongdoings of the Obama administration in the field of immigration policy.

In six short years in office Obama has fundamentally transformed an immigration system that few people had good things to say about, turning it into a chaotic non-system that now seems designed to frustrate any effort at border security. Illegal aliens are finding their way onto voter rolls and efforts to remove their names are fought tooth and nail by the administration.

America’s immigration system barely functions at all today and Sessions has gone to some lengths to show how President Obama has consistently chipped away at it, reducing it to a confusing administrative mess that does not serve the interests of the United States.

Here is the complete timeline created by Sen. Sessions:

Timeline: How the Obama Administration Bypassed Congress to Dismantle Immigration Enforcement

In September 2011, President Obama said, “We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.” Yet, since that time, and indeed before then, he has systematically voided existing laws and unilaterally created new measures that Congress has refused to adopt under either Democratic or Republican control.

Most recently, the President announced he would do what he once said only an “emperor” could do ‚Äì grant unilateral amnesty, work permits, and access to government benefits to more than five million illegal immigrants. This unprecedented action, combined with new “enforcement priorities” for Department of Homeland Security personnel that exempt the vast majority of illegal immigrants from the threat of removal, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive, the “Morton” memos, and numerous other lesser-reported but far-reaching Executive actions, has threatened not only our constitutional system, but our national sovereignty. Indeed, the idea of national, sovereign borders is being daily eviscerated by the President’s determination to write his own immigration rules in defiance of Congress and the American people.

Below is a detailed timeline of how the Obama Administration systematically dismantled immigration enforcement, undermining the very rule of law upon which our nation was founded and upon which its greatness depends.

January 2009:  Obama Administration Ends Worksite Enforcement Actions

In early 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executes a raid (initiated and planned under the Bush Administration) on an engine machine shop in Bellingham, Washington, detaining 28 illegal immigrants who were using fake Social Security numbers and identity documents. Shortly thereafter, pro-amnesty groups criticized the Administration for enforcing the law. An unnamed DHS official is quoted in the Washington Times as saying, “the Secretary is not happy about it and this is not her policy.”  Instead of enforcing the law, the Secretary investigates the ICE agents for simply doing their duty. Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, says on a call with employers and pro-amnesty groups that “we’re not doing raids or audits under this administration.”

January 29, 2009:  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Delays E-Verify Deadline

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delays the original deadlines for federal contractors to use the E-Verify system, from January 15, 2009, and February 20, 2009, to May 21, 2009.

April 16, 2009:  Secretary Napolitano Delays E-Verify Deadline a Second Time

Secretary Napolitano again delays the deadline for federal contractors to use E-Verify, this time to June 30, 2009.

June 3, 2009:  Secretary Napolitano Delays E-Verify Deadline a Third Time

For the third time, Secretary Napolitano delays the deadline for federal contractors to use E-Verify to September 8, 2009.

March 8, 2010:  ICE Inflates Deportation Statistics

According to the Washington Post:  “Months after reporting that the number of illegal immigrants removed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement increased 47 percent during President Obama’s first year in office, the Department of Homeland Security on Monday corrected the record, saying the actual increase in those deported and ‘voluntary departures’ was 5 percent.”

March 16, 2010:  DHS Announces Termination of Funding for Virtual Fence along Southwestern Border

Secretary Napolitano announces that, effective immediately, DHS would redeploy $50 million of stimulus funding originally allocated for virtual fence technology because “the system of sensors and cameras along the Southwest border known as SBInet has been plagued with cost overruns and missed deadlines.”

May 19, 2010:  ICE Director John Morton Announces Termination of Cooperation with Arizona Law Enforcement

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the former Director of ICE, John Morton, states that ICE will not even process or accept illegal immigrants transferred to ICE custody by Arizona law enforcement, largely because the Obama Administration disagrees with Arizona’s immigration law, which made it a crime to be in the state illegally and required police to check suspects for immigration documents.

May 27, 2010:  Internal ICE Emails Reveal Relaxed Security and New Benefits for Detained Illegal Immigrants

Internal ICE emails reveal that “low-risk” immigration detainees will be able to have visitors stay for an unlimited amount of time during a 12-hour window, be given access to unmonitored phone lines, email, free internet calling, movie nights, bingo, arts and crafts, dance and cooking classes, tutoring, and computer training.

June 18, 2010:  Obama Administration Sues Arizona over Immigration Enforcement Law

The Obama Administration announces that it will sue Arizona to block the implementation of the state’s immigration enforcement law.

June 25, 2010:  ICE Union Casts Unanimous Vote of “No Confidence” in Agency Leadership

The National ICE Council, the union representing more than 7,000 agents and officers, casts a unanimous vote of “No Confidence” in ICE Director Morton and Assistant Director Phyllis Coven, citing “the growing dissatisfaction and concern among ICE employees and Union Leaders that Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven have abandoned the Agency’s core mission of enforcing United States Immigration Laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for programs and policies related to amnesty.” The union lists some of the policies that led to the vote of No Confidence:

“Senior ICE leadership dedicates more time to campaigning for immigration reforms aimed at large scale amnesty legislation, than advising the American public and Federal lawmakers on the severity of the illegal immigration problem . . . ICE [Enforcement and Removal Operations are] currently overwhelmed by the massive criminal alien problem in the United States resulting in the large-scale release of criminals back into local communities.”

“Criminal aliens openly brag to ICE officers that they are taking advantage of the broken immigration system and will be back in the United States within days to commit crimes, while United States citizens arrested for the same offenses serve prison sentences. . . . Thousands of other criminal aliens are released to ICE without being tried for their criminal charges. ICE senior leadership is aware that the system is broken, yet refuses to alert Congress to the severity of the situation . . . .”

“ICE is misleading the American public with regard to the effectiveness of criminal enforcement programs like the ICE ‘Secure Communities Program’ using it as a selling point to move forward with amnesty related legislation.”

“While ICE reports internally that more than 90 percent of ICE detainees are first encountered by ICE in jails after they are arrested by local police for criminal charges, ICE senior leadership misrepresents this information publicly in order to portray ICE detainees as being non-criminal in nature to support the Administration’s position on amnesty and relaxed security at ICE detention facilities.”

“The majority of ICE ERO Officers are prohibited from making street arrests or enforcing United States immigration laws outside of the institutional (jail) setting. This has effectively created ‘amnesty through policy’ for anyone illegally in the United States who has not been arrested by another agency for a criminal violation.”

“ICE Detention Reforms have transformed into a detention system aimed at providing resort like living conditions to criminal aliens. Senior ICE leadership excluded ICE officers and field managers (the technical experts on ICE detention) from the development of these reforms, and instead solicited recommendations from special interest groups. . . . Unlike any other agency in the nation, ICE officers will be prevented from searching detainees housed in ICE facilities allowing weapons, drugs and other contraband into detention centers putting detainees, ICE officers and contract guards at risk.”

July 14, 2010:  Obama Administration Ignores Dangerous Sanctuary City Policies

Less than a week after suing Arizona to block its immigration law, the Department of Justice announces that it will not take legal action against sanctuary cities, with a spokeswoman stating:  “There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law.”

July 30, 2010:  Leaked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Memo Reveals Obama Backdoor Amnesty Plan

A leaked USCIS memo to agency Director Alejandro Mayorkas details the Obama administration’s plan to bypass Congress and grant amnesty by executive fiat. The memo, entitled “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” suggests a number of unilateral actions to “reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without authorization” and “extend benefits and/or protections to many individuals and groups,” including many that Obama has since implemented and many that appeared in the Senate comprehensive immigration bill (S. 744, 113th Congress).

August 2010:  ICE Memo Stops Agents from Detaining Illegal Immigrants During Traffic Stops

In August 2010, ICE begins internally circulating a draft policy that would significantly limit the circumstances under which ICE could detain illegal immigrants. In effect, ICE agents are no longer authorized to stop/detain an illegal immigrant for illegally entering the country or for possessing false identification documents. Now, illegal immigrants can be detained only if another law enforcement agency makes an arrest for a criminal violation. 

August 24, 2010:  DHS Begins Closing and Dismissing Deportation Cases

The Houston Chronicle reports that DHS has begun “systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants without serious criminal records.”

September 8, 2010:  Obama Administration Files Supreme Court Brief Supporting Challenge to Arizona’s E-Verify Law

The Obama Administration argues that the Supreme Court should strike down Arizona’s 2007 E-Verify law—a law enacted by the state’s former Governor, and the current Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. The law required all employers in the state to use E-Verify and revoked business licenses of those who hired illegal workers. The Supreme Court upholds the law in May 2011, finding that it was not preempted, because “although Congress had made the program voluntary at the national level, it had expressed no intent to prevent States from mandating participation.”

September 16, 2010:  Leaked DHS Memo Reveals President Obama’s Long-Term Plan to Circumvent Congress and Grant “Broad Based” Amnesty

A leaked 10-page memo, dated February 26, 2010, details how the Obama administration had “long envisioned” a two-phase “broad based” amnesty plan “legalizing those who qualify and intend to stay here.” The memo states that “during Phase 1, eligible applicants would be registered, fingerprinted, screened and considered for an interim status that allows them to work in the U.S. . . . During Phase 2, applicants who had fulfilled additional statutory requirements would be permitted to become lawful permanent residents [i.e., obtain green cards].” The memo asserts that the Administration could proceed “in the absence of legislation,” e.g., deferred action; deferred enforced departure; waiver of inadmissibility for certain illegal immigrants; parole-in-place. Remarkably, the memo contemplates the pros and cons of such unprecedented executive action:

“A registration program can be messaged as a security measure to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows.”

“A bold administrative program would transform the political landscape by using administrative measures to sidestep the current state of Congressional gridlock and inertia.”

“The Secretary would face criticism that she is abdicating her charge to enforce the immigration laws. Internal complaints of this type from career DHS officers are likely and may also be used in the press to bolster criticism.”

“Even many who have supported a legislated legalization program may question the legitimacy of trying to accomplish the same end via administrative action, particularly after five years where the two parties have treated this as a matter to be decided in Congress.”

“A program that reaches the entire population targeted for legalization would represent use of deferred action far beyond its limited class-based uses in the past (e.g. for widows). Congress may react by amending the statute to bar or greatly trim back on deferred action authority, blocking its use even for its highly important current uses in limited cases.”

“Congress could also simply negate the grant of deferred action (which by its nature is temporary and revocable) to this population. If criticism about the legitimacy of the program gain[s] traction, many supporters of legalization may find it hard to vote against such a bill.”

“The proposed timeline would require a rapid expansion of USCIS’s current application intake capacity. Significant upfront resources would be needed for hiring, training, facilities expansion and technology acquisition, and the only realistic prospect of a source of funding may be a new appropriation.”

“Immigration reform is a lightning rod that many Members of Congress would rather avoid. An administrative solution could dampen future efforts for comprehensive reform and sideline the issue in Congress indefinitely.”

“Done right, a combination of benefit and enforcement-related administrative measures could provide the Administration with a clear-cut political win. If the Administration loses control of the message, however, an aggressive administrative proposal carries significant political risk.”

“More ambitious measures would have to be carefully timed. We would need to give the legislative process enough time to play out to deflect against charges of usurping congressional authority. . . . This is likely to mean that the right time for administrative action will be late summer or fall [2010]—when the midterm election is in full-swing.”

“The President could make the case that the nation’s economic and national security can wait no longer for Congress. Administrative action is necessary to restores [sic] rule of law by ending illegal hiring, requiring individuals who are unlawfully present to pass background checks or get deported, and guaranteeing that all employers and workers are paying their fair share of taxes. Clearing backlogs of family-based visas would be an added bonus.”

“If the American public reacts poorly to an administrative registration effort, Congress could be motivated to enact legislation tying the Administration’s hands. This could result, in the worst case scenario, in legislation that diminishes the Secretary’s discretion to use parole or deferred action in other contexts. A heated fight could also poison the atmosphere for any future legislative reform effort.”

October 17, 2010:  DHS Dismissals of Deportation Cases Up 700 Percent

The Houston Chronicle reports that the government dismissed, on its own motion, hundreds of deportation cases—up 700 percent between July and August 2010. The article states that “government attorneys in Houston were instructed to exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis for illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least two years and have no serious criminal history.”

December 2010:  Internal ICE Emails Reveal Padded Deportation Statistics

On October 8, 2010, Secretary Napolitano and ICE Director Morton announced that in 2010, ICE had “removed more illegal aliens than in any other period in the history of our nation.” On December 6, 2010, however, the Washington Post reports that internal ICE emails show that ICE padded its deportation statistics by including 19,422 removals from the previous fiscal year. The article also describes how ICE extended a Mexican repatriation program beyond its normal operation dates, adding 6,500 to its final removal numbers.

February 15, 2011:  DHS Ignores Mandate to Maintain Operational Control of Border

During a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, Chair Candice Miller announces that, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintains operational control of only 69 of the roughly 4,000 miles along the northern border and only 873 of the almost 2,000 miles along the southwestern border. Under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, Congress required DHS to achieve and maintain operational control, which is defined as “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.”

March 2, 2011:  Morton Amnesty Memo #1

In the first of a series of memos, ICE Director Morton outlines new enforcement “priorities”—convicted criminals, terrorists, gang members, recent illegal entrants, and fugitives. The memo encourages ICE employees to exercise prosecutorial discretion for illegal immigrants who do not meet these “priorities,” and directs ICE field office directors to not “expend detention resources” on certain illegal immigrants.

March 30, 2011:  9/11 Commission Chair Warns that Obama Administration’s Delay of Implementation of Biometric Exit System and REAL ID Act Risk National Security

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean warns that “border security remains a top national security priority, because there is an indisputable nexus between terrorist operations and terrorist travel. Foreign-born terrorists have continued to exploit our border vulnerabilities to gain access to the United States.” In his testimony, he highlights two programs that the Obama Administration has delayed: 

”[F]ull deployment of the biometric exit component of US-VISIT should be a high priority. If law enforcement and intelligence officials had known for certain in August and September 2001 that 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar remained in the U.S., the search for them might have taken on greater urgency.”

. . .

”[N]o further delay [in compliance with the REAL ID Act] should be authorized, rather compliance should be accelerated.”

May 10, 2011:  President Obama Declares Border Secure and Border Fence “Basically Complete”

In a speech in El Paso, Texas, Obama claims that his administration has “strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible” and that the border fence “is now basically complete,” despite the fact that only 33.7 miles of the 700 miles of fence mandated by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 had been completed by that time. Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul responds, stating “the border is not secure and it has never been more violent or dangerous. Anyone who lives down there will tell you that.”

June 1, 2011:  Obama Administration Ignores New York’s Refusal to Cooperate with Federal Immigration Agents

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces he is suspending New York’s participation in the Secure Communities program, which allows law enforcement agencies to run the fingerprints of those arrested against immigration databases, because of “its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York.” The Obama Administration takes no action.

June 17, 2011:  Morton Amnesty Memos #2 and #3

ICE Director Morton issues a second memo further directing ICE agents not to enforce the law against certain segments of the illegal immigrant population, including those who would qualify for the DREAM Act, despite having no legal authority to do so and despite the fact that Congress had explicitly rejected the legislation three times. On the same day, Morton also issues a third memoinstructing ICE personnel to refrain from enforcing the law against individuals engaging in “protected activity” related to civil or other rights (for example, union organizing or complaining to authorities about employment discrimination or housing conditions).

June 23, 2011:  ICE Union Outraged Over Morton Amnesty Memos

The ICE union issues a press release expressing outrage over Director Morton’s actions, stating:  “Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the Administration is now implementing it through agency policy.” The release further states that ICE leadership and the Administration “have excluded our union and our agents from the entire process of developing policies, it was all kept secret from us, we found out from the newspapers. ICE [leadership] worked hand-in-hand with immigrants rights groups, but excluded its own officers.” Describing ICE policy as a “law enforcement nightmare,” union president Chris Crane states “the result is a means for every person here illegally to avoid arrest or detention, as officers we will never know who we can or cannot arrest.” The release concludes:  “we are asking everyone to please email or call your Congressman and Senators immediately and ask them to help stop what’s happening at ICE, we desperately need your help.”

June 27, 2011:  DHS Cover-Up of Backdoor Amnesty Policy Revealed

The Houston Chronicle reports that internal ICE emails and memos show that DHS “officials misled the public and Congress in an effort to downplay a wave of immigration case dismissals in Houston and other cities that they had created a ‘back-door amnesty.’” These internal emails and memos revealed that this backdoor amnesty was instituted and encouraged at the direction of top ICE officials, including Riah Ramlogan, a high-ranking attorney at ICE subsequently named in a lawsuit by an award-winning ICE attorney in November 2014. In one instance, DHS Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Nelson Peacock wrote a letter to several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee denying the existence of a directive “instructing ICE attorneys to seek the dismissals of immigration proceedings involving certain classes of criminal aliens”—a directive which not only existed, but had been praised by senior ICE officials.

August 1, 2011:  Obama Administration Sues Alabama over Immigration Enforcement Law

The Obama Administration files a lawsuit to block implementation of Alabama’s immigration enforcement law, which authorizes state law enforcement to act when they reasonably suspect individuals are violating federal immigration laws.

August 18, 2011:  Obama Administration Begins Review of Deportation Cases for Purposes of Granting Executive Amnesty

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Secretary Napolitano announces that the Obama Administration had begun a review of all pending and incoming deportation cases and will stop proceedings against those illegal immigrants who do not meet administration “priorities.”

September 2, 2011:  Treasury Inspector General Reports Government Paying Billions in Tax Credits to Illegal Immigrants

A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reveals that the IRS paid out a staggering $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits to illegal immigrants via the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) in 2010. The inspector general states:  “Millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it. We have made recommendations to the IRS as to how they could address this, and they have not taken sufficient action in our view to solve this problem.” The report further states that “the payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.”

September 7, 2011:  Cook County (Chicago), Illinois Board of Commissioners Votes to Ignore Federal Immigration Law

The Cook County Board of Commissioners passes an ordinance directing local law enforcement to refuse ICE detainer requests and access to individuals or County facilities. While ICE Director Morton acknowledges that the ordinance poses a serious threat to public safety and likely violates federal law, the Administration’s only action is to offer to pay Cook County to honor the detainers and to set up a “working group,” both of which the Board rejects. ICE’s Executive Associate Director of Enforcement and Removal Operations says the policy presents a major problem for enforcement efforts and is an “accident waiting to happen.”

In June 2011, Saul Chavez, who had a prior DUI conviction, was driving with a blood-alcohol content of nearly four times the legal limit when he hits and kills 66-year-old William “Dennis” McCann. While attempting to escape, Chavez drove his car over McCann’s body, dragging him 200 yards before a witness stopped his vehicle. Chavez was charged with two felonies, and ICE issued a detainer asking Cook County to hold him until he could be taken into federal custody. But, pursuant to Cook County’s new anti-detainer law, he was released when he posted 10 percent of his $250,000 bail.  He has since disappeared and is believed to have fled the country.

September 28, 2011:  President Obama Admits Deportation Statistics are “Deceptive”

At a roundtable with amnesty advocates, President Obama admits that his deportation statistics are misleading:  “The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is . . . apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back.  That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours.”

October 18, 2011:  Obama Administration Ignores Santa Clara County’s Defiance of Federal Immigration Law

The Obama Administration refuses to take action when the Santa Clara County, California, Board of Supervisors votes to stop using county funds to honor ICE detainers, except in limited circumstances. Santa Clara County’s failure to cooperate with Secure Communities continues to this day.

In August 2013, illegal immigrant Mario Chavez was arrested after threatening his 6-year-old son with a knife. His wife obtained a protective order but Chavez made bail and was released from jail instead of being held for further investigation by ICE. A month later, Chavez went to his family’s new home where he then stabbed his wife to death. According to San Jose Mercury News, ICE officials “contend they could have kept Chavez off the streets,” but the county’s policy limits access that ICE has to inmates. The official reportedly said, “We’re not asking them to do our job. We’re asking them to let us do our job.”

October 18, 2011:  ICE Continues to Pad Deportation Statistics

ICE announces its year-end deportation statistics, which it described as “the largest number in the agency’s history.” However, according to the 2010 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, published by DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics, ICE is detaining far fewer illegal immigrants than ever before, locating fewer than half the number of deportable aliens in 2010 than it did in 2006.

October 19, 2011:  Obama Administration Ignores Washington, D.C.‘s Defiance of Federal Immigration Law

The Obama Administration refuses to act when District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray issues an order to prevent local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration laws. In June 2012, the D.C. Council unanimously votes to further restrict cooperation with ICE, requiring that suspected illegal immigrants can be detained only if they have prior convictions for violent crimes, among other things. According to the Washington Post, a spokeswoman for ICE states that “ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings. Jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks.”

October 28, 2011:  Obama Administration Stops Routine Border Searches

According to the Associated Press, Border Patrol field offices nationwide receive orders from DHS headquarters to stop regular inspections at transportation hubs—both at the border and in the interior of the country—such as random stops and investigations of suspicious behavior, and instead act only based on actual intelligence indicating a threat. The article notes that “halting the practice has baffled agents” who said it was “an effective way to catch unlawful immigrants, including smugglers and possible terrorists.” The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing Border Patrol agents, responds to the changes:  “Stated plainly, Border Patrol mangers are increasing the layers of bureaucracy and making it as difficult as possible for Border Patrol agents to conduct their core duties. The only risks being managed by this move are too many apprehensions, negative media attention and complaints generated by immigrant rights groups.”

October 31, 2011:  Obama Administration Sues South Carolina over Immigration Enforcement Law

The Justice Department files suit against South Carolina, challenging the state’s immigration enforcement law.

November 7, 2011:  USCIS Stops Issuing “Notices to Appear” in Immigration Court for “Non-Priority” Deportation Cases

Following ICE’s lead, USCIS Director Mayorkas issues a new Policy Memorandumstating that USCIS will no longer issue place illegal immigrants into removal proceedings by issuing “Notices to Appear” in immigration court for illegal immigrants who do not meet the Administration’s deportation “priorities.”

November 17, 2011:  ICE Announces Review of Entire Immigration Court Docket to Close More Deportation Cases

Although it had previously denied the existence of a program involving the dismissal and closure of cases in its Houston office, the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) issues a new policy memorandum instructing all agency attorneys to “begin a review of incoming cases and cases pending in immigration court” and identify the cases eligible for “prosecutorial discretion in the form of administrative closure,” i.e., executive amnesty.

November 22, 2011:  Obama Administration Sues Utah over Immigration Enforcement Law

The Obama Administration files a lawsuit to block provisions of Utah’s immigration enforcement law. This is the fourth lawsuit by the Administration against a state that enacted such a law.

November 22, 2011:  Obama Administration Ignores New York City’s Defiance of Federal Immigration Law

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signs a measure directing city jails to ignore certain requests by ICE to maintain custody of illegal immigrants, so as to give ICE the opportunity to assume custody. To date, the Obama Administration has taken no action against New York City to compel compliance.

December 11, 2011:  Reports Surface that President Obama to Reduce National Guard Presence on Border

According to several reports, the Obama Administration plans to reduce the 1,200 National Guard troops stationed along the southwestern border. From 2006 to 2008, under the Bush Administration, thousands of troops worked along the border as part of “Operation Jumpstart” to free up Border Patrol to focus on border security. On April 17, 2012, the Obama Administration implements its plan and reduces the number of National Guard to 300; there are currently about 130 stationed on the border.

December 15, 2011:  DHS Rescinds Maricopa County, Arizona’s 287(g) Agreement

DHS rescinds Maricopa County, Arizona’s 287(g) agreement—a cooperative agreement whereby local law enforcement receive training in identifying and apprehending illegal aliens. Director Morton told the Maricopa County Attorney that ICE will no longer respond to calls from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office involving traffic stops, civil infractions, or “other minor offenses,” even though federal law requires the federal government to respond to inquiries by law enforcement agencies to verify immigration status.

December 29, 2011:  ICE Creates 24-Hour Hotline for Illegal Immigrant Detainees

ICE announces a new 24-hour hotline for illegal immigrant detainees to ensure they “are made aware of their rights.” The hotline is to be staffed by the Law Enforcement Support Center, which ICE previously claimed was too understaffed to respond to local law enforcement trying to verify immigration status. ICE also revises its detainer form to include a new provision that says ICE should “consider this request for a detainer operative only upon the subject’s conviction”—a change in policy that explicitly ignores that illegal presence in the United States is a violation of federal law.

January 5, 2012:  DHS Stops Secure Communities in Alabama in Retaliation for State Immigration Enforcement Law

In an email from DHS to congressional offices, DHS reveals that it had stopped the roll-out of Secure Communities in Alabama because the Obama Administration disagreed with the state’s immigration enforcement law:  “Although the federal courts have enjoined several parts of H.B. 56, certain provisions were not enjoined and are currently in effect . . . While these provisions of Alabama’s state immigration enforcement law, which conflict with ICE’s immigration enforcement policies and programs, remain the subject of litigation, ICE does not believe it is appropriate to expand deployment of Secure Communities . . . in Alabama.”

January 6, 2012:  USCIS Announces Proposal to Permit Entire Segments of Illegal Immigrant Population to Remain in U.S.

USCIS announces a proposed rule to allow illegal immigrant relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for waivers to remain in U.S., thereby avoiding the provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that require them to return to their home countries and apply for a waiver to return to the United States. On January 3, 2013, USCIS issues the final rule.  During a stakeholder call, USCIS Director Mayorkas emphasizes that USCIS will also consider expanding the waiver to illegal immigrant relatives of green card holders and clarifies that even illegal immigrants in deportation proceedings who had their case administratively closed are eligible for these waivers.  On January 24, 2014, USCIS issues field guidance for the program, instructing USCIS officers that an applicant with a criminal history is still eligible for a waiver as long as the offense qualifies as a “petty offense” or “youthful offender” exception under the INA, and is not a crime involving moral turpitude.

January 9, 2012:  DHS Inspector General Reveals Rubberstamping of Immigration Applications

A report by the DHS Inspector General reveals that USCIS officials pressure employees to approve applications that should have been denied, and that employees believe they do not have enough time to complete interviews of applicants, “leav[ing] ample opportunities for critical information to be overlooked. One [adjudicator] said that an [adjudicator] is likely to ‘grant and just move on,’ rather than use information to make a better determination in certain cases.” Ninety percent of those surveyed felt they did not have enough time to complete interviews of applicants.

January 16, 2012:  ICE Prosecutors Suspend Deportation Proceedings

Due to the immigration court docket review ordered by the OPLA in November 2011, proceedings in immigration courts in Denver and Baltimore are stopped for six weeks. On January 19, 2012, ICE prosecutors recommend the voluntary closure of 1,667 deportation cases. On March 30, 2012, the Administration announces the expansion of the program to Detroit, Seattle, New Orleans, and Orlando, suspending the immigration court dockets in four large cities.

January 19, 2012:  President Obama Uses Executive Order to Eliminate Statutory Requirement for Visa Interviews for Certain Countries

President Obama issues an Executive Order attempting to nullify a longstanding statutory requirement that those applying for a nonimmigrant visa (in a foreign country) submit to an in-person interview with a consular officer. The President’s Executive Order waives these requirements for travelers from China and Brazil, increasing the potential for visa overstays and risking national security and law enforcement threats.

February 7, 2012:  ICE Creates “Public Advocate” for Illegal Immigrants

ICE announces the creation of the ICE Public Advocate, who is to serve as a point of contact for aliens in removal proceedings, community and advocacy groups, and others who have questions, recommendations, or other issues they would like to raise about the Administration’s enforcement and executive amnesty efforts.

February 13, 2012:  President Obama’s Budget Slashes 287(g) Program

The President’s FY2013 budget proposes a massive cut in funding for ICE and the 287(g) program, effectively gutting it.

April 25, 2012:  ICE Voluntarily Dismisses Over 16,500 Deportation Cases

ICE announces that it will voluntarily close over 16,500 deportation cases in connection with the Obama Administration’s larger review of 300,000 cases. The Administration also announces that the number of illegal immigrants whose deportation cases it has already dismissed is up to 2,700 from just over 1,500 the previous month.

April 25, 2012:  DHS Announces Another Delay of Biometric Exit System

In March 2012, DHS Principal Deputy Coordinator of Counterterrorism John Cohen had testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security that DHS’s plan to implement the statutorily-required biometric exit system will be completed in the next 30 days. However, on April 25, 2012, Secretary Napolitano testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that DHS will be able to deploy such a system “within four years” and then only if DHS determines that it is cost-effective. Dating back to 1996, Congress has mandated six times that this system be implemented and the 9/11 Commission recommended that DHS complete this system “as quickly as possible.”

April 27, 2012:  Obama Administration Undermines the Successful Secure Communities Program

ICE announces that it will no longer ask local jails to detain illegal immigrants stopped for “minor traffic offenses,” weakening the effective Secure Communities program. Instead, ICE will consider detaining an alien only if the alien is ultimately convicted of an offense. Also, despite claims of limited resources, ICE announces it plans to take action against jurisdictions with arrest rates the agency deems too high.

June 5, 2012:  ICE Deportation Dismissals Up to 20,000

ICE releases its latest statistics in its review of pending deportation cases. Of the 288,000 reviewed, 20,648 will be dismissed. ICE prosecutors in California also begin reviewing more than 18,000 pending deportation cases.

June 12, 2012: Obama Administration Sues Florida for its Effort to Remove Ineligible Voters

The Obama Administration files a lawsuit to prevent the State of Florida from removing ineligible voters, including illegal immigrants, from its voter registration rolls. On June 28, 2012, a federal court denies the Administration’s request, largely because Florida had abandoned its efforts, but also holds that a State is not prohibited from removing the names of noncitizens from its voter rolls, even within the 90-day “quiet” period before a federal election.

June 15, 2012:  President Obama Bypasses Congress and Unilaterally Implements His Version of Failed DREAM Act

President Obama unilaterally implements provisions of the DREAM Act, circumventing Congress under the guise of “prosecutorial discretion.”  By executive fiat, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or “DACA” program grants amnesty and work authorizations to illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who claim they arrived in the country before the age of 16. ICE officers later report that this amnesty is being granted to adult illegal aliens who have been arrested for criminal offenses. In an interview the same day, Secretary Napolitano admits that DHS “internally set it up so that the parents are not referred for immigration enforcement if the young person comes in for deferred action,” thereby further expanding the scope of the non-enforcement directive.

June 25, 2012:  Obama Administration Rescinds Arizona’s 287(g) Agreements in Retaliation for Supreme Court Upholding State Immigration Enforcement Law

Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision upholding most of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law—which required law enforcement officers to take reasonable steps to verify the immigration status of those lawfully stopped or detained where there is reasonable suspicion to believe they are in the country illegally—the Administration rescinds all of its 287(g) agreements in Arizona.

July 6, 2012: Obama Administration Announces Closure of Nine Border Patrol Stations

The Obama Administration announces the closure of nine Border Patrol stations throughout the country—Lubbock, Amarillo, Dallas, San Antonio, Abilene, and San Angelo, Texas; Billings, Montana; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Riverside, California. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman claims it is being done to more effectively use personnel.


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Matthew Vadum -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Matthew Vadum, Bombthrowers, and matthewvadum.blogspot.com, is an investigative reporter at a watchdog group in Washington, D.C.

His new book Subversion Inc. can be bought at Amazon.com (US), Amazon.ca (Canada), and as an e-book at Kobo (Canada).

Visit the Subversion Inc. Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

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