department of homeland security
Department of Homeland Security: Page 2
See the summary for this topic on the main Department of Homeland Security page.
A group of senators  recently sent a letter to Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security pointing out that her version of immigration enforcement is selective and also noting that the DHS hasn't asked for more resources to do their job.
Here's part of the letter (link):
Recently, media reports have revealed that pending removal proceedings are being dismissed in record numbers. That sharp increase in dismissals is the result of a directive from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director (John Morton) to all ICE attorneys to review pending cases and seek dismissal if the cases do not involve [serious] offenders...
Though the reports focused only on cases pending before Houston immigration judges, our understanding is that the ICE directive applies nationwide. Numerous criminal aliens are being released into society and are having proceedings terminated simply because ICE has decided that such cases do not fit within the Department’s chosen enforcement priorities...
...The ICE directive, along with other recently announced detention and removal policies, raises serious questions about your Department’s commitment to enforce the immigration laws. It appears that your Department is enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress. The repercussions of this decision extend beyond removal proceedings, because it discourages officers from even initiating new removal proceedings if they believe the case ultimately will be dismissed based on the new directive.
Even more disturbing is the fact that your Department has chosen to dismiss cases against criminal aliens, including aliens who have committed crimes involving moral turpitude, crimes of violence, assault, theft, fraud, drug offenses, driving under the influence, and illegal entry.
To be sure, ICE has cited a lack of resources as one of the reasons for its prioritization of cases and for its selective enforcement. But to date, we have not seen any efforts by ICE, your Department, or the Administration to request an increase in ICE funding sufficient to address staffing shortages, detention capacity, and coordination of enforcement efforts nationwide to achieve a streamlined and robust immigration removal system...
They want a list of the cases that the DHS has dismissed, and they also want to know how much the DHS is going to need to do their job.
A DHS spokesman responds (link):
"The idea that DHS is engaged in 'selective enforcement' couldn't be further from the truth," [spokesman Matt Chandler] said. "In fact, this administration has fundamentally changed the way the federal government approaches immigration enforcement, doing more to keep criminal aliens who are threats to public safety - including murderers, rapists and child molesters - off our streets than ever before."
That's a good thing, but at the same time DHS is sending the message that illegal aliens are more or less home free as long as they avoid committing serious crimes.
DHS undercuts 287g immigration enforcement in Nashville (wants most screened to be serious offenders) - 10/24/10
Earlier this year, federal officials decided the Davidson County Sheriff's 287(g) program that screens the immigration status of incarcerated foreign nationals was targeting too many minor criminal offenders and not enough felons.
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall's controversial program is supposed to place a priority on screening foreign nationals who are accused of committing serious felonies, according to last year's revised 287(g) agreement between Metro and the federal government.
But internal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement memos obtained by The Tennessean show that Hall's program was screening more than twice as many people with minor offenses as those with crimes such as murder, robbery and rape. An ICE memo from April shows that 73 percent of those screened by 287(g) in Nashville during the latter part of 2009 were arrested for minor offenses, while just 13 percent had been arrested for serious crimes...
...A second audit by ICE of Nashville's program from January through March of this year showed the numbers of those screened for minor crimes dropped to 36 percent...
...The series of ICE memos suggest federal officials were satisfied with the corrective action and that the Nashville program received no additional scrutiny.
The unanswered question is whether they were ignoring some major offenders to go after minor offenders; that doesn't appear to be the case. There certainly are only a limited number of resources to go around, but not going after minor offenders as the Department of Homeland Security wants means letting those who are or who might become major offenders off the hook and it's a form of de facto amnesty.
In any case, it's clear that to the Obama administration their use of 287g was too effective: they want as many somewhat law-abiding illegal aliens to stick around in the hopes of getting amnesty and converting them into voters for the Democratic Party.
Note also this:
Since 287(g) was put into place in 2007, the Sheriff's office has screened the immigration status of 12,486 foreign nationals cited and arrested for everything from murder to fishing without a license, according to data obtained in an open records request by the newspaper.
Of those, more than 7,250 immigrants have been processed for removal because of Nashville's 287(g) program. The sheriff's office could not say how many of those processed for deportation came from misdemeanors or felony arrests.
From a Department of Homeland Security press release :
In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed - more than 195,000 - were convicted criminals. The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008 - a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration.
DHS has also expanded the Secure Communities initiative - which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails - from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 660 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border. DHS is on track to expand this program to all law enforcement jurisdictions nationwide by 2013. This year alone, Secure Communities has resulted in the arrest of more than 59,000 convicted criminal aliens, including more than 21,000 convicted of major violent offenses like murder, rape, and the sexual abuse of children.
Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions - more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.
The last isn't much of a surprise, but it should also be pointed out that some of the fines date back to Bush-era cases.
The Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program collects the fingerprints of those charged with crimes by localities and checks them for immigration violations. Now, a few illegal immigration-supporting communities are finding out that, despite a previous statement from DHS implying otherwise, there's no opt-out. Localities already send such fingerprints to the FBI and the DHS gets them from the latter source and not from the former.
A senior ICE official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the involuntary nature of the program, said: "Secure Communities is not based on state or local cooperation in federal law enforcement. The program's foundation is information sharing between FBI and ICE. State and local law enforcement agencies are going to continue to fingerprint people and those fingerprints are forwarded to FBI for criminal checks. ICE will take immigration action appropriately."
The only way a local jurisdiction could opt out of the program is if a state refused to send fingerprints to the FBI. Since police and prosecutors need to know the criminal histories of people they arrest, it is not realistic for states to withhold fingerprints from the FBI - which means it is impossible to withhold them from ICE.
Those who wanted to opt-out are: Santa Clara County, Arlington County, Washington DC, and, of course, San Francisco. The article also quotes Walter Tejada of Arlington County as being upset, which is a good thing. And, this will one of the few positive steps Janet Napolitano has taken, just as long as it is actually mandatory in practice.
The Department of Homeland Security - specifically their Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency headed by John Morton - has instituted new policies that amount to a form of a de facto amnesty. And, all of this has been done without anywhere near the outcry that would occur from an amnesty proposal in Congress. Granted, these policies don't include a "pathway to citizenship" and the other perks that would be included in comprehensive immigration reform. However, they'll let most illegal aliens off the hook for the indefinite future and - just like a real amnesty - that will probably encourage more people to come here illegally. The Obama administration probably considers this a stop-gap measure and after the next election they'll begin a push for a de jure amnesty.
* Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton ordered agency officials on Aug. 20 to begin dismissing deportation cases against people who haven't committed serious crimes and have credible immigration applications pending.
* A proposed directive from Morton posted on ICE's website for public comment last month would generally prohibit police from using misdemeanor traffic stops to send people to ICE. Traffic stops have led to increased deportations in recent years, according to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank whose research supports tighter enforcement.
The directive said exceptions would be made in certain cases, such as when immigrants have serious criminal records.
* ICE officers have been told to "exercise discretion" when deciding whether to detain "long-time lawful permanent residents, juveniles, the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, veterans, members of the armed forces and their families, and others with illnesses or special circumstances," Daniel Ragsdale, ICE executive associate director of management, testified July 1 in the administration's lawsuit to block Arizona's controversial immigration law. The law requires police officers to determine the immigration status of suspects stopped for another offense if there was a "reasonable suspicion" they are in the USA illegally. A U.S. district judge has held up the provision pending review.
* A draft memo from ICE's sister agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, to Morton discussed ways the administration could adjust regulations so certain groups, such as college students and the spouses of military personnel, could legalize their status or at least avoid deportation if Congress doesn't pass comprehensive immigration reform. USCIS rules on applications for visas, work permits and citizenship. USCIS spokesman Christopher Bentley said the memo was intended to stimulate brainstorming on how to legalize immigrants if new laws aren't passed.
If your question is what about the people who are not priorities for the agency, the answer is we're going to continue to enforce the law. We're not giving broad classes of people amnesty or a pass from law enforcement. But we are recognizing that, hey, we only have a limited ability to enforce the law in terms of resources and when we go about saying, 'How should we target enforcement resources?', we're going to focus on three areas overall. And those are criminal offenders, recent entrants and people who game the system.
And, instead of railing at Congress and demanding higher funding, he thinks they have all the money they need:
Our overall budget at the agency is at an all-time high. We are detaining large numbers of people. Our detention budget has not gone down. In fact, it's grown tremendously over the past couple of years... (Because of enormous deficits) there are hard choices that have to be wrestled with every day and ICE continues to be funded at a very high level by Congress.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) says that as of Sunday, Sept. 5, it had caught-and-released 506,232 illegal aliens who are now fugtives. That is more than the population of Sacramento, California, which currently numbers 486,189.
"Fugitive illegal alien" generally means someone who was caught as an illegal alien, who promised to appear in court to answer the charge, and then who never showed up or someone who was ordered deported but never showed up. That's distinct from a "criminal illegal alien", which is an illegal alien who's committed a non-immigration crime. And, it's important to note that the figure is for all time, including the Bush administration which trumpeted having stopped "catch and release", at least on the border.
Where the Obama administration differs from the Bush administration is in this:
“It is important to note that our fugitive operations teams now can spend up to 30 percent of their time arresting convicted criminals at-large,” (Brian Hale, director of public affairs at ICE) said. “Thus, their fugitive arrests don’t reflect all of their work.”
While obviously we want to deport as many criminals as possible, the flipside is that DHS's policy is a form of de facto amnesty.
Pew: illegal immigration inflow fell (Obama not involved; Bush responsible for 5 million; 60% from Mexico; 9.3% of CA's workforce) - 09/04/10
Pew Hispanic recently released a study entitled "U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Flows Are Down Sharply Since Mid-Decade" (link). There are links to two previous studies with similar findings by the Department of Homeland Security and the Center for Immigration Studies here.
According to Pew's study:
The annual inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the United States was nearly two-thirds smaller in the March 2007 to March 2009 period than it had been from March 2000 to March 2005...
...This sharp decline has contributed to an overall reduction of 8% in the number of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the U.S. - to 11.1 million in March 2009 from a peak of 12 million in March 2007, according to the estimates. The decrease represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades...
...Even though the size of the Mexican unauthorized population living in the United States has not changed significantly since 2007, the inflows from that country have fallen off sharply in recent years. According to the center’s estimates, an average of 150,000 unauthorized immigrants from Mexico arrived annually during the March 2007 to March 2009 period - 70% below the annual average of 500,000 that prevailed during the first half of the decade...
A few notes:
1. Only two months covered by their study were during the Obama administration; if you see someone claiming this has something to do with Obama immigration, leave a cite in comments.
3. However, the study notes that "Nearly half of unauthorized immigrants living in the country in 2009 - 47%, or 5.2 million people - arrived in 2000 or later." The responsibility for all of those illegal aliens lies with Bush; his proxies from Michael Chertoff to Michael Gerson; other "Bushies" such as his brother Jeb Bush; and his current and former supporters. Those who currently push the "Miss Me Yet" line should be constantly publicly reminded of that statistic.
4. The study notes that "Mexico accounted for 60% of unauthorized immigrants in 2009, or 6.7 million people. Other Latin American nations accounted for 20% of the total, or 2.2 million people. South and East Asia accounted for 11% of the total, or 1.2 million people." A minor talking point used by illegal immigration supporters is to claim that few on the pro-enforcement side talk about European illegal aliens; remind them of that statistic.
5. And: "In 2009, 59% of unauthorized immigrants resided in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and New Jersey. However, the share living in those states has declined from 80% in 1990, as unauthorized immigrants have dispersed to new settlement areas." That helps explain why politicians in non-border states attempt to pass pro-enforcement bills. Note that some illegal immigration supporters question why someone in, say, Massachusetts might be concerned about this issue; confront them with that statistic.
6. And, another statistic Bush and his unrepentant supporters are responsible for: "The number of children who are unauthorized, 1.1 million in 2009, declined slightly over the decade. By contrast, the population of U.S.-born children with at least one unauthorized parent nearly doubled from 2000 to 2009, when they numbered 4 million." The far-left and related groups work very hard to prevent illegal aliens in mixed-status families from being deported, and Bush made the situation far worse.
7. And: "States with the largest shares of immigrants in the labor force are Nevada (9.4%), California (9.3%), Texas (8.7%) and New Jersey (8.7%)... The unemployment rate for unauthorized immigrants of all ages in March 2009 was higher than that of U.S.-born workers or legal immigrants - 10.4%, 9.2% and 9.1%, respectively." If we deported all of them tomorrow, not every one of those jobs would be immediately filled by an unemployed American, and the economy would suffer further due to the loss of consumers. However, it would would free up jobs for Americans and if done over time wouldn't have as great an economic impact, offset by less spending. Make that argument to illegal immigration-supporting and -enabling politicians to their face on video and hold them responsible.
8. The study provides more evidence in support of attrition: the illegal alien population in the U.S. isn't fixed; with increased enforcement the numbers could be reduced even further.
Under the Bush administration, the Department of Homeland Security engaged in a small number of showy but not overly effective immigration raids. Under the Obama administration, the DHS switched to (in addition generally not doing its job) what are called "silent raids" where they audit a company's employment records and then request that the employees are fired if they can't prove they're here legally. That lets illegal aliens stay in the U.S. and simply go find work at another company. And, that helps the Democrats maintain a power base. (Over nine months ago I urged people to ask Janet Napolitano about this at one of her public appearances).
Not only does the Obama administration cause long-term difficulties for American workers with this policy, but they're also letting employers off the hook (link):
...ICE audit records obtained recently through a Freedom of Information Act request show that the agency has, in many instances, failed to punish companies found to have significant numbers or high percentages of workers with questionable documents... The records show inspectors identified more than 110 companies with suspect documents, with nearly half of those having questionable paperwork for 10 or more workers... In total, the agency ordered 14 companies to pay fines of nearly $150,000, but noted no employer arrests in connection with any of the cases...
ICE doesn't have much of a defense:
[ICE points] to the fact that this fiscal year the agency has ordered businesses to pay a record-setting $4.6 million in civil penalties and has arrested more than 150 employers, managers or supervisors. However, some of the arrests stem from investigations going back several years. And the fines reflect enforcement actions that date as far back as 2007, including $360,000 from the 2008 raid of a Houston rag factory and more than $536,000 from a 2007 Ohio chicken factory raid. ...ICE did not have a breakdown of how much of the $4.6 million or how many of the arrests stemmed directly from the audit initiative, which began in July 2009.
Note also that one of the components of comprehensive immigration reform is increased enforcement, including cracking down on employers of illegal aliens. Some Democrats even stress that they want to do that now. Are you willing to trust that "reform" would include stepped-up enforcement given the above?
"You have this drip, drip, drip of I-9 enforcement audits all over the country, and it has the same effect - people don’t come to work the next day."
Those she's referring to aren't supposed to be here in the first place; she's on their side and not on the side of American workers.
In a new and more lenient policy, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has instructed the agency's legal office to stop the deportation proceedings of foreign nationals who may now be eligible for a green card.
South Florida immigration attorneys and activists said the move is the first solid evidence of more tolerance by ICE toward some foreign nationals facing removal to their homelands.
Affected are possibly tens of thousands who are married or related to a U.S. citizen or a legal resident who has filed a petition for them. The immigrants who will benefit must also not have a criminal conviction.
This policy was disclosed via a memo from John Morton, head of ICE; in the memo he wrote: "Where there is an underlying application or petition and ICE determines . . . that a non-detained individual appears eligible for relief from removal, [its attorneys] should promptly move to dismiss proceedings." The new policy is cheered in the article by Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. In the past, some or most of those covered by the new policy would be deported, but with the new "backdoor amnesty" push from the DHS, they'll get to stay.
To a very, very small extent policies like this are reasonable: ICE says they want to concentrate on the criminals first and points out that they can only deport 400,000 people per year. To a far greater extent, this is indeed a backdoor amnesty and potential illegal aliens in foreign countries will no doubt rush to take advantage of it.
The way to block things like this would have been to do things like really press Janet Napolitano on such policies, as I suggested over nine months ago. No one in the mainstream media is going to really press Obama administration officials, and citizens aren't filling the gap.
DHS caught, released, can't find 481 illegal aliens from terrorist states, countries of interest - 08/12/10
In the three fiscal years from 2007-2009, the Department of Homeland Security caught and released 481 illegal aliens from nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism and “countries of interest,” and those 481 aliens are now fugitives, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement database obtained by CNSNews.com as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request.
The four state sponsors of terrorism, as determined by the State Department, are Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba. The “countries of interest” are those additional countries whose citizens have been subjected to enhanced screening on U.S.-bound flights by the Transportation Security Administration as a result of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253.
Note that all but about eight months of that three year period were under the George W Bush administration.
New guidance telling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to focus on apprehending terrorists and criminals has many of ICE's rank-and-file agents wondering who then is responsible for tracking down and detaining the millions of other illegal border-crossers and fugitive aliens now in the country.
The new guidelines are outlined in a June 29 memo from Assistant Secretary John Morton, who heads the agency, to all ICE employees regarding the apprehension, detention and removal of illegal immigrants, noting that the agency "only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal-alien population in the United States."
...More than a dozen veteran ICE agents told The Washington Times in the past week that the carefully worded memo had field agents wondering whether they would be detaining illegal border-crossers in the future and whether those apprehended by other law enforcement agencies would be turned over to ICE for eventual deportation.
The Obama administration, while deporting a record number of immigrants convicted of crimes, is sparing one group of illegal immigrants from expulsion: students who came to the United States without papers when they were children.
In case after case where immigrant students were identified by federal agents as being in the country illegally, the students were released from detention and their deportations were suspended or canceled, lawyers and immigrant advocates said. Officials have even declined to deport students who openly declared their illegal status in public protests...
"In a world of limited resources, our time is better spent on someone who is here unlawfully and is committing crimes in the neighborhood," John Morton, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview. "As opposed to someone who came to this country as a juvenile and spent the vast majority of their life here."
The article also claims that there are 700,000 illegal aliens who'd be covered by the DREAM Act, an amnesty that would allow current or former illegal aliens to take college educations away from needy American citizens. And, it shouldn't be necessary to point out that by refusing to deport illegal alien college students DHS is sending a very strong welcoming message to those in foreign countries who might otherwise think twice about bringing their children here illegally.
ICE agents issue "Vote of No Confidence" on John Morton, Phyllis Coven (politicizing ICE, pushing amnesty) - 08/06/10
In an unprecedented move within the Department of Homeland Security, the detention and removal officers and agents responsible for and sworn to enforcing our nation's immigration laws issued an exhaustive, scathing letter simply titled "VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN ICE DIRECTOR JOHN MORTON AND ODPP ASSISTANT DIRECTOR PHYLLIS COVEN" on June 11, 2010. The letter, acquired through sources, provides a litany of examples of how ICE's mission is being skewed towards supporting an unflinching goal of amnesty by refusing to allow agents to do their job; allowing criminal aliens to roam free; depleting resources for key enforcement initiatives that preceded this administration; and misrepresenting facts and programs, demeaning the extent of the criminal alien problem and geared to support amnesty.
PDF of the letter at the link.
[See the updates too]
Harold Hurtt, a former police chief in Houston and Phoenix, has been hired as the director for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of State and Local Coordination. Starting July 6, Hurtt will supervise outreach and communication between ICE, local law enforcement agencies, tribal leaders and representatives from non-governmental organizations...
...as a police chief, Hurtt was a supporter of (sanctuary cities) policies, by which illegal immigrants who don't commit crimes can live without fear of exposure or detainment because police don't check for immigration papers.
He also, during his tenure as Houston police chief, criticized ICE's key program (287g) that draws on local law enforcement's support.
Hurtt was mentioned here in 2005's "Houston reaffirms illegal aliens sanctuary policy". As I said in that post, 9/11 Commission member John Lehman said in 2004:
"The terrorists know" which cities have such policies.
The Department of Homeland Security is alerting Texas authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico, a security expert who has seen the memo tells FOXNews.com.
The warning follows an indictment unsealed this month in Texas federal court that accuses a Somali man in Texas of running a "large-scale smuggling enterprise" responsible for bringing hundreds of Somalis from Brazil through South America and eventually across the Mexican border. Many of the illegal immigrants, who court records say were given fake IDs, are alleged to have ties to other now-defunct Somalian terror organizations that have merged with active organizations like Al Shabaab, al-Barakat and Al-Ittihad Al-Islami.
...In a separate case, Anthony Joseph Tracy, of Virginia, who admitted to having ties to Al Shabaab, is currently being prosecuted for his alleged role in an international ring that illegally brought more than 200 Somalis across the Mexican border. Prosecutors say Tracy used his Kenya-based travel business as a cover to fraudulently obtain Cuban travel documents for the Somalis. The smuggled Somalis are believed to have spread out across the United States and remain mostly at large, court records show.
...In addition to the Somali immigration issue, Mexican smugglers are coaching some Middle Eastern immigrants before they cross the border – schooling them on how to dress and giving them phrases to help them look and sound like Latinos, law enforcement sources told FoxNews.com.
"There have been a number of certain communities that have noticed this, villages in northern Mexico where Middle Easterners try to move into town and learn Spanish," [Joan Neuhaus Schaan, the homeland security and terrorism fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute] said. “People were changing there names from Middle Eastern names to Hispanic names."
Security experts say the push by illegal immigrants to try to fit in also could be the realization of what officials have feared for years: Latin American drug cartels are helping jihadist groups bring terrorists across the Mexican border...
12/26/06's Terrorism, drugs, illegal immigration links; Middle Easterners masquerading as Mexicans; Reyes
1/22/06's "'Osama's People' Smuggled Into U.S.?"
See also all the other entries on the immigration terrorism page.
Echoing comments by President Barack Obama and others in the administration, Morton said that Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigration is not "good government." The law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork.
Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.
"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton said.
An illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet got a $145,000 parting gift from New York City taxpayers before he was deported, after city lawyers decided his civil rights had been violated when he was held too long on Rikers Island.
Federal rules allow local law enforcement to detain suspected illegal immigrants for 48 hours after their criminal cases are resolved, to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement a chance to pick them up and move them to federal facilities.
Former Brooklyn resident Cecil Harvey, 55 -- backed by an immigration-rights advocacy group -- argued that his rights were violated when he spent more than a month in a Rikers holding pen before being transferred to ICE. Harvey was shipped to his native Barbados in October 2007; the city settled his civil suit late last year.
The landmark settlement has prompted the Correction Department to dump scores of illegal immigrants on the streets, since federal officials often fail to pick them up within the required two-day window.
The "Secure Communities" program from the Department of Homeland Security is Janet Napolitano's kinder, gentler alternative to the 287g program. That's not good enough for the far-left (link). Yesterday they released the following:
[T]he National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (of Yeshiva University) filed a lawsuit demanding records related to the little-known United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) "Secure Communities" program that further involves local and state police in federal immigration enforcement. The filing also marks the launch of "Uncovering the Truth," a weeklong national campaign of coordinated actions and advocacy in more than ten cities to end ICE-police collaboration.
"The passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona should be proof enough of the dangerous and disastrous nature of ICE-police collaboration programs like the so-called Secure Communities program," said Pablo Alvarado, NDLON Executive Director. "The President should heed his own advice and act responsibly by reclaiming the federal government's exclusive authority over the nation's immigration laws. By terminating all police and ICE partnerships, the President can help restore community safety and protect civil rights and due process for all."
At the same time as the far-left opposes almost any form of immigration enforcement, they also push comprehensive immigration reform. The latter is sold as having... increased enforcement, and the far-left promotes it in completely bad faith: if it passes, they'll oppose its enforcement provisions just as they oppose enforcement now.
Far-left wants John Morton fired over immigration quotas memo (also want little or no enforcement) - 03/31/10
Yesterday, Frank Sharry of America's Voice offered "ICE Out of Control: Time to Rein in Rogue Agency and Pass Immigration Reform" , showing once again how little use those who support comprehensive immigration reform have for immigration enforcement. One of the selling features of "reform" is increased enforcement, yet "reform" would give even more power to those like Sharry who advocate against enforcement:
Today, a group of grassroots leaders are demanding that the Obama Administration fire John Morton, the head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security.
Deepak Bhargava of the (Center for Community Change), a lead organizer of the immigration rally in Washington, D.C. on March 21st and a leader of FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement), had this to say at today’s press conference:
"This agency has gone rogue and is operating in clear opposition to the direction President Obama has set."
What gives? It seems the stated priorities of President Obama may not be in sync with the cowboy tactics of ICE agents in the field.
Bear in mind that he said that based on a memo that ICE frantically walked back.
Sharry also states, "Look, we’re not against enforcing immigration laws" when his record and that of other "reform" supporters say otherwise.
DHS official: DHS not ready for amnesty for "a few years": "Clearly to us the systems could not handle it now" - 03/25/10
The federal government is not equipped to process the flood of applications from a proposed immigration legalization bill and the agency that would oversee that program won't be ready for "a few years," the office of the Homeland Security Department's inspector general told Congress on Tuesday.
The warning, from Assistant Inspector General Frank Deffer, could severely complicate President Obama's new push to pass an immigration bill this year.
Mr. Deffer said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, is in the midst of trying to move from being a paper-based system to having electronic records. He warned that adding millions of new applications, as the bill would do, would be a bad idea.
"Adding 12 million more people to the system would be the mother of all backlogs. Clearly to us the systems could not handle it now," Mr. Deffer told the House Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee. "It's going to take a few years, so it's something for Congress to consider that, when they implement this, they don't have a date too soon."
On the other hand, Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the USCIS, said they were prepared: "We will be ready for comprehensive immigration reform when it is enacted." I lean towards Deffer being the more credible source.
Recall that back in 2006, a previous head of the USCIS said that the Senate's amnesty timeline wasn't practical. Around the same time, the GAO said the DHS wasn't prepared and didn't have a fraud management system in place.
And, from this:
A report released Dec. 20  by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard L. Skinner [note: he's still the IG] cited a long list of setbacks and concurred with internal USCIS reviews that the bureau "lacks the processing capacity, systems integration and project management resources needed to manage a potential increase in workloads."
Also see this from early 2008.
A multibillion-dollar "virtual fence" along the southwestern border promised for completion in 2009 to protect the U.S. from terrorists, violent drug smugglers and a flood of illegal immigrants is a long way from becoming a reality, with government officials unable to say when, how or whether it will ever be completed.
More than three years after launching a major border security initiative and forking over more than $1 billion to the Boeing Co., the project's major contractor, Homeland Security Department officials are re-evaluating the high-tech component of the plan in the wake of a series of critical Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports warning lawmakers that the expensive undertaking is deeply flawed...
The online tool E-Verify, now used voluntarily by employers, wrongly clears illegal workers about 54 percent of the time, according to Westat, a research company that evaluated the system for the Homeland Security Department. E-Verify missed so many illegal workers mainly because it can't detect identity fraud, Westat said.
...E-Verify correctly identified legal workers 93 percent of the time, Westat said. However, previous studies have not quantified how many immigrants were fooling the E-Verify system. Much of the criticism of E-Verify has focused on whether U.S. citizens and legal immigrants with permission to work were falsely flagged as illegal workers.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is writing the Democrats' immigration bill and has fought expanding E-Verify because of its flaws, said Wednesday that the fact that E-Verify was inaccurate so often shows that it is not an adequate tool.
1. No doubt additional checks could be built into the system to increase its accuracy.
2. The MPI is only "non-partisan" in the New York Times sense.
3. The reasons why Schumer opposes expanding the system probably go a bit beyond just concerns about its flaws; he's never shown much interest in immigration enforcement.
John Morton of the Department of Homeland Security spoke at the Migration Policy Institute yesterday about reforms he's making concerning immigration detention. The Immigration Policy Center has a report here, and their summary of his upcoming reforms includes:
* [...centralizing] facilities [which] would be managed at the top by federal employees subject to clear, transparent, and fully implemented detention standards (though Morton told the crowd at MPI that they must be "patient" on revised detention standards, as ICE is trying to find something that works for both advocates and contractors, and is cost-effective).
* Reducing the number of detention facilities. ICE detains 32,000 people per day and around 380,000 per year. Morton stressed the importance of keeping the system compact and organized (ICE has already eliminated 50 facilities under Morton’s watch).
...* Finally, Morton talked about ICE’s preference to detain only criminal immigrants. He detailed ICE’s desire for smart, cost-effective alternatives to detention in order to ensure court appearances for non-criminal immigrants who pose a flight risk. Morton revealed that the Executive Office for Immigration Review is conducting a pilot program for alternatives to detention, and that after testing is complete there could be 16,000-17,000 slots available for immigrants to be placed in these programs.
Considering that - just like the Bush administration - the Obama administration has little use for immigration enforcement aside from as a way to get amnesty, and considering that a very large percentage of those released with a promise to appear never follow through, the last is more than a bit worrisome. While something like electronic monitoring makes sense as an alternative to detention in many cases, the question is whether they'd design the program to fail or whether they'd actually intend for it to work.
...During a large protest on Saturday in Phoenix that drew 10,000 people, immigrant-rights advocates called on the Department of Homeland Security to end (the 287g program), saying some Valley police officers are engaging in racial profiling by arresting Latinos for minor crimes in order to check their immigration status during the booking process.
But John Morton, the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (of the Department of Homeland Security), said that is "not in practice what we have seen in the program" known as 287 (g).
Furthermore, he said that while the agency places a priority on arresting illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes, it also cannot turn "a blind eye to people who are here unlawfully simply because they don't have a criminal record."
..."Sixty nine percent of the people we receive in Maricopa County have been convicted of Level 1 and Level 2 offenses, which are serious felony offenses, drug trafficking, assaults, rape," Morton said...
More than 90 percent of the cases presented to the U.S. Attorney in Arizona involving people who committed a felony crime of re-entering the U.S. after deportation from the Maricopa County jail, Morton added.
It was Morton who ended Arpaio's ability under 287g to perform proactive neighborhood sweeps, but he kept in place the jail checks under the same program.
Note also that the Department of Justice is currently conducting a witchhunt against Arpaio but, instead of trying to go after him for racial profiling, they've elected to try to go after him for abuse of powers unrelated to immigration enforcement.
Three days before the failed terrorist attack over Detroit, the Obama administration was briefed about the possibility of terror attacks over the holidays (link). This is of course similar to the infamous "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US" report that George W Bush received shortly before 911:
President Obama received a high-level briefing only three days before Christmas about possible holiday-period terrorist threats against the U.S., NEWSWEEK has learned. The briefing was centered on a written report, produced by U.S. intelligence agencies, titled "Key Homeland Threats," a senior U.S. official says... According to the [unnamed administration official], the holiday threat briefing—one in a series of regularly scheduled sessions with top counterterrorism officials—was held in the White House Situation Room on Dec. 22...
The senior official says that beginning in early December, based on reports coming in from intelligence agencies, policymakers had begun tracking a stream of information that alluded to a possible holiday-period plot against the U.S. orchestrated from somewhere in Pakistan. However, the official says, this reporting later turned out to be "garbled," and it was determined that the threat was probably a washout. The official denies that the White House received any report, representing the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies, warning that a holiday-period plot originating in Yemen and targeting the U.S. homeland could be in the works.
In a background briefing for reporters on Dec. 29, also attributed in an official White House transcript to a "senior administration official," that official asserted that in the wake of the attempted underpants attack, it had become clear to the president and top advisers that before Christmas the U.S. government was in possession of "bits and pieces" of information, which, if they had been properly knitted together, "could have ... allowed us to disrupt the attack or certainly to know much more about the alleged attacker in such a way as to ensure that he was on, as the president suggested in his statement, a no-fly list." In the briefing, the official identified three rough categories of information that the government had which could have been relevant to foiling the attack: information about Abdulmutallab and his plans, about Al Qaeda and its plans, and about "potential attacks during the holiday period."
Of this, Gateway Pundit says the expected: "Obama was warned about the threats to the homeland in a Christmas briefing before he flew off to his golfing and snorkling Hawaii holiday vacation." (link). Meanwhile, Spencer Ackerman spins it the administration's way here, even while admitting that this is "Not Nothing".
Immigration and Customs Enforcement have reached a non-prosecution agreement to resolve an investigation with respect to the hiring and employment of unauthorized aliens at Pilgrim's Pride's plants in the Eastern District of Texas... Under the terms of the agreement, Pilgrim's Pride agrees to pay $4.5 million [NOTE: over three years] and adopt more stringent immigration compliance practices to ensure that its work force is composed of employees legally entitled to work in the United States. In return, the U. S. Attorney's Office agrees to conclude its immigration-related investigation of Pilgrim's Pride and any current or former employees... "This case demonstrates that the government and business, working together, can go a long way to resolving the issue of employment of illegal aliens," said U.S. Attorney Bales. "Pilgrim's Pride has cooperated with the United States during this investigation and acknowledged the company's desire to implement rigorous standards to comply with immigration-related laws. With this agreement, Pilgrim's Pride sets itself up as an industry leader in adopting recommended immigration practices. I commend the thorough investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, without which this agreement would not have been possible," Bales said... "ICE's goal is to reduce the opportunity for illegal work in the United States," said John Morton, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "This settlement acknowledges that Pilgrim's Pride is committed to adopting a rigorous immigration compliance program."
For the backstory, see the other entries on the Pilgrims Pride page.
Speaking to Candy Crowley of CNN earlier today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked about the failed terror attack that occurred on Christmas Day aboard a jet bound from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Per Napolitano, "the system worked" (see the video, also at peekURL.com/vcmnigh ).
Obviously, the system didn't work; the only things that averted tragedy were a failed detonator (link) and an alert passenger who subdued the terrorist. The DHS clearly failed, but so too did the State Department and perhaps other agencies.
Rep. Peter King responds to Napolitano, saying (link) "The fact is the system did not work, and we have to find a bipartisan way to fix it. He made it on the plane with explosives and detonated the explosive." Rep. Pete Hoekstra says: "It's important for the president or the secretary to be more out there and reminding people just how real this threat was and how deadly it is... For the first three months of this administration, they refused to use the word terrorism."
UPDATE: This is titled "Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab onto plane without passport". According to the passenger, Mutallab's alleged accomplice used (or just tried to use) social engineering to get Mutallab on the plane. If true, Mutallab might not have appeared in the passenger manifest, and how DHS could prevent people from coming here if they aren't on the manifest isn't entirely clear.
12/28/09 UPDATE: Napolitano has re-spun her earlier remarks. And, a chorus of administration defenders appear to be helping the Obama administration throw her under the Obama bus, although whether she'll resign remains to be seen. When even Matt Lauer asks her tough questions, you know she's not in great shape (link):
In an interview Monday on NBC’s Today Show, Napolitano said her words in Sunday’s CNN interview had been “taken out of context.” She said the comment referred to the reaction in the 60-90 minutes after the suspect attempted to blow up the plane. Up until that point, did the system fail miserably, Matt Lauer asked. “It did,” she responded... Lauer pressed: How does a guy who’s on this general terror list, who buys a one-way transtlantic ticket with cash, who checks no luggage, and who’s own father has flagged him to authorities, get on the plane? Napolitano said that “our system did not work in this instance” and no one “is happy or satisfied with that.” She maintained “air travel is safe.”
And, from this:
CBS News has learned the State Department system designed to keep track of active U.S. visas twice failed to reveal Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been issued an active visa allowing him multiple entries into the United States.
12/28/09 UPDATE 2: Per this, Mutallab was added to a general list of those with possible links to terrorism based on his father's visit to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria. However, he wasn't added to more selective lists because there wasn't enough proof.
12/29/09 UPDATE: There's more on which agencies had access to what information here.
About 1,000 employers nationwide will be audited for possible immigration violations in an escalation of the Obama administration's effort to increase pressure on business owners not to hire illegal immigrants.
The businesses will get a notice that the government intends to audit their compliance with immigration laws, the Department of Homeland Security said. The sweep follows a similar action in July during which authorities audited 654 employers. Agents will check the eligibility of workers at each firm, with violations potentially leading to fines, as well as civil or criminal charges.
As the article points out, this happens at the same time as the Obama administration is pushing comprehensive immigration reform. To whatever extent this is a crackdown, they're trying to appear that they're doing something in order to make amnesty more likely, just as the Bush administration did.
Criminal arrests, administrative arrests, indictments and convictions of illegal immigrants at work sites all fell by more than 50 percent from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2009... Fiscal 2008 ran from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008. Fiscal 2009 began Oct. 1, 2008, and ran through Sept. 30 of this year.
The exact figures are:
* Criminal arrests: down 60%
* Criminal indictments: down 58%
* Convictions: down 63%
* Administrative arrests: down 68%
The DHS is a bit defensive:
Janet Napolitano falsely says she needs immigration "reform" to do her job; says border more secure; sounds like Chertoff - 11/13/09
Speaking at the Center for American Progress earlier today (prepared remarks: www.dhs.gov/ynews/speeches/sp_1258123461050.shtm NYT article: link full video: americanprogress.org/events/2009/11/Napolitano.html), Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said that she needs comprehensive immigration reform (downsides at the link) to do her job and that such "reform" (aka amnesty) is more attainable due both to supposed increased border security and due to fewer people trying to cross because of the economic downturn. In her speech, she sounded almost exactly like Michael Chertoff and used several of the stock talking points such as secure the border and living in the shadows. She also gave a shout-out to John Podesta of CAP and specifically mentioned the National Association of Evangelicals as one of the groups supporting "reform"; most of that group's member organizations are actually neutral or opposed to "reform".
It's extremely unfortunate that I was unable to get anyone else that I know of to help with my plan to ask her a question at today's event. People are willing to stand on street corners and wave loopy signs, but getting them to do things that could be devastatingly effective is incredibly difficult. Because of the flaws in her comments, someone who's familiar with this issue and who's familiar with "cross-examining" people could have undercut her argument and made her look very bad. That would help reduce the chances of "reform". If people aren't willing to confront politicians, they'll just keep on doing the bad things they're doing.
One of her remarks was this Chertoff-like bit:
When it comes to immigration, I took an oath as Secretary of Homeland Security to secure the nation by enforcing the law and managing legal flows across the border. Let me be clear: to do this job as effectively as possible, DHS needs immigration reform.
She is, of course, lying. Doing her job would involve enforcing the laws and trying to reduce the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. As a recent enforcement action shows, she is not interested in doing that. Every illegal alien who stays in the U.S. is a potential Democratic voter if she can get the amnesty that she and Obama want.
She said that "immigration reform will be a boon to American workers" which is completely false; see the immigration wage floor page.
She also supported chain migration, saying that "Community and faith leaders have also emphasized to me that we need reform because of how difficult the current laws can be on families, especially families of mixed legal status. Our immigration system is outdated where families are concerned, and we need to modernize and streamline the laws governing this process."
And, she supported increasing high-tech visa limits (aka the H1B program). That was after she "held a forum where [she] heard from technology executives in Silicon Valley". Obviously, Napolitano is great at only hearing one side of the story: she also referenced meetings she's held across the U.S. with "stakeholders", saying that "all [at the meetings] reach[ed] the same conclusion: we need reform". Napolitano, someone supposedly working for all of us, is ignoring the input of a majority of Americans and viewpoints that disagree with her.
Some of her remarks follow:
Toothless Obama admin immigration enforcement: 100s janitors fired, not deported (+how many SEIU members are illegal aliens?) - 11/09/09
In Minneapolis, Minnesota earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security sent no match letters or a variant to around 1200 janitors employed by the major corporation ABM informing those employees that there was a mismatch between their Social Security numbers and other information. They were required to provide documentation by October, and when all or almost all didn't, ABM fired them; presumably all or virtually all are illegal aliens (link). However, rather than trying to deport them, DHS simply concentrated on the company. Needless to say, that makes it easy for a fired illegal alien to go to work down the street, while waiting for the Obama administration to push for amnesty:
John Keller of the Immigrant Law Center says of the 1,200 fired janitors, about 10 might have a path to citizenship under existing laws. The rest, he says, will probably try to wait it out, hoping for the laws to change so they can work herelegally.
The article also says that "ABM janitor jobs make up one-quarter of SEIU's membership"; whether "membership" means just the number in Minneapolis or of the Local involved or is a national figure isn't known, but in any case a large number of SEIU members are here illegally; that means that a portion of the money that the SEIU receives in dues is earned illegally. That would be a good thing to ask them.
And, as with other cases, Americans or legal foreign workers have filled the jobs previously taken by the illegal aliens. It would also be a good thing to ask Democrats, Republicans, pundits, major bloggers, and the like why they aren't calling for more enforcement in order to free up jobs for Americans (and take them off unemployment insurance).
Napolitano of DHS: "al-Qaeda-type" terrorists inside U.S.; difficult to track visa exits; supposed border enforcement will lead to "reform" - 10/12/09
"It is fair to say there are individuals in the United States who ascribe to al-Qaeda-type beliefs... And so it makes information-sharing, it makes effective law enforcement and it makes the shared responsibility of law enforcement ever so important."
If she's telling the truth and has accurate information, very few of those she's discussing will probably be native-born Americans; most or all will have come here legally or illegally due in part to intentionally lax standards and enforcement.