doris meissner

Doris Meissner

Former Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) during the Bill Clinton administration. Now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and an occasional quote source for reporters. Not a strong supporter of immigration enforcement or of citizens who support such enforcement. An opponent of the border fence.

Last modified Dec 16, 2008
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Dozens of pro-illegal immigration groups were invited to Obama's mini-amnesty rollout and you weren't - 08/25/11

On August 18, Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security announced an administrative amnesty that could cover 300,000 or more illegal aliens.

Meissner wants your immigration questions (Monday, May 3, 2010, 11 AM Eastern) - 05/02/10

Here's an assignment: submit immigration questions for Doris Meissner, formerly INS commissioner and now with the Migration Policy Institute. She'll be answering questions in a live chat tomorrow, Monday May 3, 2010 at 11 Eastern.

Doris Meissner misleads, downplays border security's role in terrorism, uses bogus talking points - 05/02/10

Doris Meissner - former INS commissioner and now working for the Migration Policy Institute - takes to the pages of the Washington Post to offer "5 Myths about immigration" (link).

4/30/09: Chuck Schumer holding immigration "reform" hearing (Alan Greenspan, Joel Hunter, Doris Meissner) - 04/28/09

On April 30, Chuck Schumer and the Senate Judiciary Committee/Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship will be holding a hearing called "Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009, Can We Do It and How?" ( It would be a tough debate about the issue if not for the fact that all five witnesses are on the same basic side:

* Alan Greenspan

Rahm Emanuel helped legalize criminal immigrants to get Bill Clinton voters - 12/16/08

From this:
A former INS official who attended meetings with Rahm Emanuel when Emanuel was a White House aide says the hard-charging Democrat relaxed rules to naturalize even criminal immigrants and secure their votes for President Clinton ahead of the 1996 presidential election.

...Emanuel coordinated with Hispanic community organizers in Chicago to rubberstamp immigrants for citizenship, the INS official said in an exclusive interview with WND...
The program in question was Citizenship USA, run out of Al Gore's office and involving former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner. One of the organizations involved was the Chicago-based United Neighborhood Organization, run by Danny Solis, brother of the former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Patty Solis Doyle.

Federal, state investigations of Agriprocessors (maybe the left will stop playing games) - 07/11/08

Neither Alternet nor New America Media are reputable sources, but, for what it's worth, Wendy Feliz Sefsaf of NAM offers "Meat-Packing Giant Raided by ICE Faces Criminal Investigation" ( Discussing the Agriprocessors raid from May, she says:
No fewer than seven federal and state agencies are coordinating on investigations of Agriprocessors.

The Iowa Division of Labor Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Equal Employment and Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Iowa Attorney General's Office are all either conducting or cooperating on investigations into the plant.

Doris Meissner, a former Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute said, "From everything we hear about this, it sounds like the federal government is marshalling all of the authorities that it has in order to bring the broadest set of charges -- and that's what it should be doing. It's a positive sign that they seem to be working with the state attorney general...

...According to lawyers in the case and agency representatives, there are likely to be civil charges related to immigration, wage enforcement, safety and other labor issues which usually result in fines, however, criminal charges related to immigration, child labor and sexual harassment and assault are far more serious and potentially wide reaching. Anyone with "knowledge or intent" of child laborers for instance is subject to criminal prosecution -- in theory this could include management, human resources representatives and owners alike...
One of the dodges some on the left use to support illegal immigration is to demand that those who employ illegal aliens should be arrested. They want the illegal aliens themselves to stay in the U.S. for various reasons. What they fail to understand (or state) is that by blocking enforcement against illegal aliens that keeps a pool of illegal labor in the U.S., and they'll just go to work for someone else. But, hopefully if Agriprocessors' management is actually prosecuted they'll stop trying that dodge at least temporarily.

Jason DeParle/NYT gives full page ad to Migration Policy Institute - 02/04/08

Jason DeParle of the New York Times gives a "big warm hug" to the Migration Policy Institute and their online journal Migration Information Source ( in "A Tiny Staff, Tracking People Across the Globe". It's essentially an ad not just for that group but also an ad in support of migration and globalism in general. It also falls into the "little 'nonpartisan' organization that could" category, in the same sense that the ACLU is "nonpartisan".

The MPI would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for an ad of the same length, yet they apparently got this for free. The online version includes a link to their site, which is at least somewhat valuable.

It has an editorial staff of one and annual advertising revenues of less than $2,000. It charges its subscribers nothing and pays most contributors the same. Mapping the settlement of Latino poultry workers is its idea of a sexy piece... At the site's helm is an American-born editor, Kirin Kalia, 32, who describes herself as "half Dutch, half Indian, 100 percent American and total migration geek." Ms. Kalia thrives on hybridity โ€” devouring Indian-American novels and Dutch-Moroccan films... [...she plays world music for the NYT "reporter", she a Citizen of the World, etc., etc...] ...With conflicts rising over immigration to the United States, interest in the Source has surged. Readership has doubled in the past three years, Ms. Kalia said, to about 140,000 unique visits each month. To stroll through the archives is to see the American debate freshly, as part of a global phenomenon.

The NYT is painting how great globalism is and trying to encourage Americans - the vast majority of their readers - to just lie back and think of immigration as a "global phenomenon". Only in the 14th paragraph do we get this:

The magazine is published by a Washington research group, the Migration Policy Institute, that was started six years ago (with assistance from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund) to help fill the knowledge gap.

The little "nonpartisan" organization that could, chugging along as the caboose on the MPI's annual budget of just $3.5 million from two of the largest foundations in the U.S.

DeParle lists some of the MPI's staff, without mentioning that one of their helpers is former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner, someone who can always be counted on to provide quotes in support of massive immigration, even opposing groups that lawfully protest illegal immigration (as well as opposing the border fence). The MPI was also involved in the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, which included a Mexican citizen and Mexican government officials helping current U.S. lawmakers navigate policy. And, their recommendations were not in the national interest. And, per this, the MPI "seeks the dissolution of U.S. borders, and the legalization of illegal immigrants currently in America... Works closely with the National Council of La Raza and the American Civil Liberties Union".

Just a little nonpartisan group, chugging along and trying to make the world a better place.

I get over half their visitors, and I'm hobbled by not getting any money from the Ford Foundation. Where's my ad, NYT?

Less than 100 supervisors arrested on immigration charges in 2007 (+Spencer Hsu's pro-Dem spin) - 12/26/07

Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post offers "Immigrant Crackdown Falls Short/Despite Tough Rhetoric, Few Employers of Illegal Workers Face Criminal Charges". While we should be thankful for that news, he also offers some pro-Democratic Party spin.

Despite Bush administration blather (Michael Chertoff: "The days of treating employers who violate these laws by giving them the equivalent of a corporate parking ticket -- those days are gone. It's now felonies, jail time, fines and forfeitures."):

Fewer than 100 owners, supervisors or hiring officials were arrested in fiscal 2007, compared with nearly 4,900 arrests that involved illegal workers, providers of fake documents and others, the figures show... Late in the Clinton administration and early in the current administration, the number of illegal immigrants arrested in work-site cases fell -- from 2,849 in 1999 to a low of 445 in 2003 -- although there has since been a rebound. The number of criminal cases brought against employers during that period fell from 182 to four... ICE reported that the 92 criminal arrests made in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 included 59 owners and 33 corporate officials, human resources workers, crew chiefs and others in the "supervisory chain."

Doris Meissner comes by to sideways promote "immigration reform" by refering to the "chronic failure of employer enforcement under current laws".

As for the spin, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is quoted throughout as a supporter of enforcement, which she might just be. However, Hsu fails to note that the Democratic Party takes various steps to block enforcement, as do groups to which they're linked:

The Bush administration has said it is trying to improve its Internet-based E-Verify program, through which less than 1 percent of U.S. employers now voluntarily check new hires' Social Security numbers. It is also fighting major business, farm and labor groups in federal court to use Social Security data generated when suspect numbers are submitted to the government as a sweeping nationwide enforcement tool.

What that fails to mention is that one of the lead parties to the suit is the ACLU, and many people might miss the "labor" part; another plaintiff is the AFL-CIO. Both have degrees of influence over the Democratic Party.

Secret Bush plan to deal with Bush/Rove "import Democrats" plan? (citizenship backlog) - 11/21/07

Mark Kleiman - someone who is shockingly a UCLA professor - writes [1]:

The Bush Administration plans to steal hundreds of thousands of votes, most of them Democratic votes, in the 2008 elections by the simple expedient of sitting on new citizenship applications until after the elections.

He links to his site, which mostly just links to the WaPo article "Immigrant Paperwork Backs Up At DHS" (li

James Pinkerton, Mark Potok, Doris Meissner oppose citizen action against illegal immigration - 11/05/07

James Pinkerton of the Houston Chronicle offers "Taking border battle to the streets" about a local group (U.S. Border Watch) that protests in front of day laborer sites. While it's not as bad as other similar articles, he takes his lead from LBJ: he doesn't call them racists, he just makes them deny it. [see the update]
Far from the halls of Congress and the front lines of the Southwest border, the divisive immigration debate is being played out in local neighborhoods, including the Houston area. A number of groups have upped the ante by moving from debate to confrontation, attempting to take immigration duties into their own hands.
The latter is somewhat of a questionable statement: if they were unlawfully trying to enforce the laws they probably still wouldn't be doing what they're doing.

Then, it's time to roll in Mark Potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group indirectly linked to the Mexican government. His group "monitors such organizations."
[The head of USBW]... repeats claims that 25 Americans citizens are killed each day by undocumented immigrants. Islamic terrorists are slipping across the Southwest border, he says, camouflaged as illegal immigrants.

''There have been reports of Spanish-speaking schools popping up in the Middle East and teaching people in that part of the world to speak Spanish so they can blend in easily," Collier said.

Potok, with the poverty center, said those claims are common to this new breed of anti-illegal immigration activists. ''These are the paranoid fantasies of people with difficulty handling reality," he said.
First, the 25 per day claim would have illegal aliens committing more than half of all murders, so that's obviously too high. Rep. Steve King says it's 12 per day, however an article I put more faith in says it's somewhere between about 4 and 6 ( See also this. As for the Mideast schools, I haven't heard anything about that, but I certainly have heard about terrorists - or at least those from "Special Interest" countries learning Spanish in order to masquerade as Latin Americans. And, there are several reports about those from such countries - including at least two Hezbollah members - coming across our borders on the immigration terrorism page. And, both Democratic and Republican House members have warned about terrorists infiltrating over the borders, including disguised as Mexicans and others from Latin America.

Adding everything together, I'd have to say that the head of USBW - despite his incorrect figures - is more credible than Potok. Perhaps if Pinkerton wanted to do a better report he would have called both of them on their statements.

Then, we're treated to this:
Doris Meissner, who headed the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton era [and is now with the Migration Policy Institute when not attending secret NAU meetings], said groups such as Border Watch have proliferated due to frustration over the government's inability to control illegal immigration. And while Meissner characterized the groups as ''spot outbreaks," she considers them a threat.
I'm not going to suggest reflexively considering what she considers to be a threat to be a blessing, but given her extremely poor history that's something to consider. See "Meissner's Gift to Criminal Aliens" ( and "Thwarting Homeland Security" (

Then, Pinkerton tries to portray citizens doing their duty as a bad thing:
[After local religious leaders tried to start a day laborer hangout] Border Watch volunteers marched on the Chamber of Commerce, and scores of members dominated a September meeting on the proposed center.
Oh, the horror of U.S. citizens - rather than citizens of other countries - protesting.
"All we wanted to do was get a place for day laborers to be safe, to get out of the sun and rain, to get a drink and go to the bathroom," [pastor Franklin Moore] said.
Aww. Of course, he doesn't mention that most day laborers are illegal aliens, and the church is facilitating illegal activity.

Then, Pinkerton quotes one of the opponents; at least he mentions that he's worked with the "International Socialist Organization and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee, among others".

MINOR UPDATE: According to this, what I refered to above about LBJ was actually an anti-LBJ satire from Paul Krassner.

Mexican citizens helping Kennedy, McCain, Flake, Berman set immigration policy - 01/16/07

In September of last year, the "Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future" - "convened by the Migration Policy Institute in partnership with Manhattan Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars" - released their report called "Immigration and America's Future: A New Chapter".

Two members of the "task force" are former elected officials (Spencer Abraham and Lee Hamilton), but four of them are currently supposedly working for us: Howard Berman, Jeff Flake, Edward Kennedy, and John McCain.

Another member is Fernando Garcia, executive director of the El Paso-based Border Network for Human Rights. He's also a Mexican citizen with a green card. The article "D.C. hears El Pasoan's ideas about reforms" by Louie Gilot has a profile of him and his work, which includes organizing pro-illegal immigration marches in El Paso. Most of his organization's funding comes from a $375,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.

Two other Mexican officials were involved in this report: Geronimo Gutierrez and Carlos de Icaza, their ambassador to the U.S.

The MPI is a private organization, and it's not completely questionable that former elected officials might want to seek out foreign input. However, when current elected officials do it, and they have views more to the open borders side of things than not, it seems quite unseemly. One wonders exactly how many minutes McCain, Kennedy, Flake, and Berman have spent seeking out the opinion of pro-borders Americans versus the time they've spent hobnobbing with open-borders Mexicans.

Even the MPI seems to have realized this whole scheme is borderline, offering this footnote on their page:

Because of their legislative roles, currently serving members of Congress were not asked to endorse the Task Force recommendations.

A full list of those involved in the "task force" reads like the cast of a horror movie with the U.S. as the unlucky teen campers. It includes Doris Meissner, Thomas J. Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tamar Jacoby, Janet Murguia of the National Council of La Raza, and Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum among many others.

Independent Task Force on Immigration - 01/15/07

A group convened by the Migration Policy Institute in partnership with Manhattan Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars which published "Immigration and America's Future:A New Chapter" ( link) in [[September, 2006]]. Supports a "new, secure Social Security card" (possibly a national ID card) and "path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants" (a massive amnesty for illegal aliens).

As of creation time, this is the list of those involved:

El Paso Times BNHR article - 01/15/07

"D.C. hears El Pasoan's ideas about reforms"
January 15, 2007
by Louie Gilot
El Paso Times

Will Rod Blagojevich pro-illegal immigration scheme violate law? - 12/13/06

In November 2005, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich - a very strong supporter of illegal immigration - created the "New Americans Immigrant Policy Council" (press release link) to come up with ways to deal with immigrants in his state. The report from the NAIPC has been released, as has a report from a similar panel. Blago has endorsed their findings, but has not committed any money. And, whether any money will be found is still to be determined.

As even the WaPo discloses ("Ill. Governor To Announce New Benefits For Immigrants" by Kari Lydersen), these benefits would be for both legal and illegal immigrants:

Key points of the New Americans program include increasing the number of dual-language schools, English-as-a-second-language programs and bilingual staff members at state agencies, as well as providing job training for skilled and unskilled immigrants. The program is described as the first of its kind nationwide.

Tom Vilsack and Mike Huckabee might beg to differ; the "welcoming centers" proposed in one of the reports matches those offered in Iowa. There are only two points worth noting in the WaPo coverage: that one of the members of one of the panels is "former Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner Doris Meissner", and this:

Susan Tully, national field director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the program will put Blagojevich in violation of U.S. immigration law... "He does not have the right under the Constitution, even as governor of Illinois, to grant benefits to people who haven't been cleared by immigration and customs agents," she said.

The article "Aid for immigrants proposed" by Oscar Avila has more on the proposals, but like the WaPo report it doesn't offer much backstory.

Now, let's look at the seamy underbelly of Blago's scheme.

The 11/2005 press release doesn't differentiate between illegal and legal immigrants. And:

The Governor shall appoint a 15-person New Americans Immigrant Policy Council comprised of the chairs of the Joint Legislative Immigrant and Refugee Policy Task Force, a representative of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and other appropriate parties.

Like Blago, the ICIRR is a strong supporter of illegal immigration. They were involved in the Jim Oberweis smear. And, they helped organize some of the Chicago illegal immigration marches; Blago spoke at at least one of those. Not only that, but after the first march their president Juan Salgado spoke at Los Pinos, the Mexican White House. And, their president is Josh Hoyt.

I look forward to the WaPo and the Chicago Tribune disclosing who Blago is affiliated with.

Immigration: What's next? - 10/07/06

Kristin Markway/Medill News Service(in the NWITimes)/[[October 1, 2006]]/ link

Immigration experts from across the nation met Wednesday ([[September 27, 2006]]) in Chicago and praised Illinois as one of the "most progressive" states for immigration policies.

However, they said, there are serious problems with other state and national immigration laws.

Tim Gaynor/Reuters, "experts", say fence is "impractical" - 10/03/06

Tim Gaynor of Reuters offers "Experts see U.S. border fence plan as impractical". Three such "experts" are quoted, only two of them being named.

The first is "veteran agent Lee Morgan".

"US Task Force Urges Sweeping Immigration Reform" - 09/21/06

The Independent Task Force on Immigration argues that America's immigration system is dysfunctional to the growing detriment of the nation. Task force co-chairman Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic U.S. congressman from Indiana ["who also served as vice chairman of the U.S.

Secret NAU meeting in Canada - 09/20/06

From this:
...from Sept. 12 to 14, in Banff Springs, [Canadian] Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and [Canadian] Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor met with U.S. and Mexican government officials and business leaders to discuss North American integration at the second North American Forum.

According to leaked documents, the guest list included such prominent figures as U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mexican Secretary of Public Security Eduardo Medina Mora and Canadian Forces chief General Rick Hillier, although we have no final confirmation of attendees.

The event was chaired by former U.S. secretary of state George Schultz, former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe.

Despite the involvement of senior North American politicians, organizers did not alert the media about the event. To make it worse, our government will not be issuing a public statement and refuses to release any information about the content of the discussions or the actors involved...

...The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives - the elite club of Canada's richest CEOs - and the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta think-tank that promotes, among other things, closer economic integration with the United States.

The focus of the event was on North American security and prosperity. Not surprisingly, this included topics such as "A North American Energy Strategy," "Demographic and Social Dimensions of North American Integration" and "Opportunities for Security Co-operation" โ€” all topics where the public interest is at odds with that of big business elites...
Much more at the link.

UPDATE: In addition to those above, WND has more participants:
former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey, former Immigration and Naturalization Services Director Doris Meissner, North American Union guru Robert Pastor, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former Energy Secretary and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger ... The only media member scheduled to appear at the event, according to documents obtained by WND, was the Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady.
...In June, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America made one of its most visible and public moves since it was first announced last year. In Washington, June 15, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia de Alba and Canadian Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier joined North American business leaders to launch the North American Competitiveness Council. It was a major development that showed the March 2005 meeting was no fluke โ€“ and that the plans announced by the three national leaders then were continuing to take shape. The NACC was first announced by Bush, Harper and Fox.

The U.S. executives involved in the NACC include: United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman Michael Eskew; Frederick Smith, chairman of FedEx Corp.; Lou Schorsh, chief executive of Mittal Steel USA; Joseph Gilmour, president of New York Life Insurance Co.; William Clay Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co.; Rick Wagoner, chairman of General Motors Corp.; Raymond Gilmartin, CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.; David O'Reilly, chief executive of Chevron Corp.; Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of General Electric Co.; Lee Scott, president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Robert Stevens, chairman of Lockheed Martin Corp.; Michael Haverty, chairman of Kansas City Southern; Douglas Conant, president of Campbell's Soup Co. and James Kilt, vice-chairman of Gillette Inc...

The losing battle to deport criminal aliens - 09/19/04

The AP has an article about the attempts to catch "the nearly half-million immigrants who have ducked deportation orders or are targets for removal because they were convicted of a crime."

The article is by Elliot Spagat and Laura Wides: "Drive to deport illegal fugitives 'a losing battle'":

Even as the government pours millions into enforcement, each year the number of new fugitives far exceeds the number of immigrants removed...

Federal agents will have detained nearly