In a way, it's a two part story.
In the first part, there's the story itself, with the not-so-news news is that the targets of fugitive raids by the Department of Homeland Security shifted from dangerous criminals into whatever illegal aliens they found, including those who had not been convicted of crimes.
In the second part, the question becomes, why are Bernstein and all the other not-so-fine people mentioned telling us this, and why does it dovetail so neatly with something that Janet Napolitano is doing?
Regarding the first part, here's the scoop :
But in fact, beginning in 2006, the program was no longer what was being advertised. Federal immigration officials had repeatedly told Congress that among more than half a million immigrants with outstanding deportation orders, they would concentrate on rounding up the most threatening — criminals and terrorism suspects... Internal directives by immigration officials in 2006 raised arrest quotas for each team in the National Fugitive Operations Program, eliminated a requirement that 75 percent of those arrested be criminals, and then allowed the teams to include nonfugitives in their count... In the next year, fugitives with criminal records dropped to 9 percent of those arrested, and nonfugitives picked up by chance — without a deportation order — rose to 40 percent. Many were sent to detention centers far from their homes, and deported.
On the one hand, that's a not-so-shocking example of the Bush administration putting politics ahead of the safety of U.S. citizens: they were attempting to show they were doing something in order to get comprehensive immigration reform. On the other hand, they were able to deport a fair number of illegal aliens whatever their criminal histories, and that probably had a deterrent effect.
Now on to the second part of the story:
The increased public attention comes as the new secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has ordered a review of the fugitive teams operation, which was set up in 2002 to find and deport noncitizens with outstanding orders of deportation, then rapidly expanded after 2003 with the mission of focusing on the most dangerous criminals.
That directive was released just four days ago, on January 31. Now, suddenly, something playing in to such a "review" appears in the NYT. And, the Migration Policy Institute will be releasing a report tomorrow critical of the program.  And, one of the authors of the MPI report is Michael Wishnie of Yale University; he was also involved in helping New Haven distribute ID cards to illegal aliens.
Why is all this happening now? Is it just something in the air, or something else? And, why isn't Nina Bernstein asking those questions? (Hint: because she's an agenda-driven hack).
 The figures and documentation were obtained via an FOIA request by Peter Markowitz and his students at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.
 The NYT continues to maintain that the MPI is "nonpartisan"; nonpartisan groups don't get free ads in the NYT.
Tue, 02/03/2009 - 22:32 · Importance: 9