houston: Page 1
Homeland Security officials misled the public and Congress last year in an effort to downplay a wave of immigration case dismissals in Houston and other cities amid accusations that they had created a "back-door amnesty," newly released records show.
The Department of Homeland Security is systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records, according to several sources familiar with the efforts.
Culling the immigration court system dockets of noncriminals started in earnest in Houston about a month ago and has stunned local immigration attorneys, who have reported coming to court anticipating clients' deportations only to learn that the government was dismissing their cases.
Richard Rocha, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said Tuesday that the review is part of the agency's broader, nationwide strategy to prioritize the deportations of illegal immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety. Rocha declined to provide further details.
Critics assailed the plan as another sign that the Obama administration is trying to create a kind of backdoor "amnesty" program.
This might be a test program that they'll be rolling out nationwide. Nine months ago I urged people to ask Janet Napolitano about the DHS refusing to deport those who were involved in immigration enforcement actions ("silent raids"). If you want to stop this apparent test program in its tracks, help promote plans like that. If you don't, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth isn't going to be effective: the Obama administration is just going to do whatever they want to do. Challenging them to their face on video with tough questions would definitely put a crimp in their plans.
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.
Jorge Mujica, one of the lead organizers for the March 10 protest in Chicago that drew up to 300,000 people. A former journalist and union organizer, Mujica has worked for La Raza, Univision, and Telemundo, and has been involved in union organizing in both the US and in Mexico.
...JORGE MUJICA: Thank you very much.
Like Los Angeles, New York, (reportedly) Denver, and several other major cities (and terrorist targets) Houston has a sanctuary policy that prevents their cops from asking about someone's immigration status.
HPD Captain Bruce Williams explains how this works:
"If the citizen can come to us and know that we're going to take the information that they give us without looking into their status as an immigrant, then they're more free to come to us and talk about crime issues."
Councilman Mark Ellis is trying to change the policy:
"I am in favor of supporting what the Bush administration has asked local government entities to do, and that is to assist in enforcing the criminal illegal immigration laws."
However, Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt says:
"That is our policy. At this time we do not have any intention of changing it."
Now, see "'Sanctuary' practice in Houston draws fire". Last year 9/11 Commission member John Lehman said:
"The terrorists know" which cities have such policies