ACLU controlling Obama policy? ("Transition Recommendations" wants most immigration enforcement halted, + much more)

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In November, the American Civil Liberties Union released "Actions For Restoring America: Transition Recommendations for President‐Elect Barack Obama" (aclu.org/transition) listing things they wanted him to do the first day, within the first 100 days, and within the first year. Several of their proposals would halt immigration enforcement to a great extent, pending "review". That "review" would necessarily involve far-left Representatives such as Zoe Lofgren and would most likely break on the side of those who support massive illegal immigration rather than on the side of those who support our laws.

The PDF contains dozens of recommendations, including those that should be non-controversial such as ending "free speech zones". The rest are, of course, quite far-left and the immigration ones are quite supportive of illegal activity. And, Obama seems to have already done what they want in a few cases; whether that was because of the ACLU's efforts or not isn't known. Looking into all their recommendations and the Obama administration position on them is left to the reader.

The non-immigration issues where Obama has already taken action include at least Guantanamo and the abortion gag rule ("Mexico City policy"). The ACLU also wanted him to "repeal Executive Order 13279, which allows churches and religious organizations to engage directly in government funded religious discrimination in hiring, and repeal Executive Orders 13198, 13199, 13280, and 13397, which created new offices of Faith-Based Initiatives at the White House and other federal agencies". Comparing that to what he did is left to the reader. They also want him to "[u]rge the FCC to address the growing problem of media consolidation, and to suspend and reverse its rule loosening cross-media ownership (73 Fed. Reg. 9481, 21 Feb 2008), and make appointments to the commission with that goal in mind"; see the Fairness Doctrine page for a discussion.

The immigration-related recommendations follow:

* Issue a moratorium on immigration raids pending a thorough review of their fairness and efficacy.

* Stop charging and prosecuting immigrant workers for aggravated identity theft and related crimes and instead enforce workplace labor protections under the law... Stop the use of stipulated judicial orders of removal. (Note: that's after a discussion of the Postville raid)

* Repeal the 2004 Attorney general authorization for use of “expedited removal” against persons arrested inside the United States. At minimum, suspected undocumented immigrants who are present inside the United States should not be removed without any meaningful administrative review.

* Direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend the regulations (73 Fed. Reg. 5272) for the Real ID Act pending congressional review. (Note: that's a first 100 days recommendation)

* No Match letters. Pledge not to turn the Social Security No Match Letter system into a de facto immigration enforcement tool. Disavow and withdraw the finalized rule republished in the Federal Register on October 23, 2008. (A federal judge issued a preliminary order stopping the government from enforcing the rule last year. The court's order continues to apply to the republished rule.) The republished No Match rule would – if allowed to go into effect – require employers to terminate employees who do not resolve discrepancies identified in a No Match letter within an impossibly short time frame.

* E-Verify. Suspend enrolling new employers in the “e-verify” (formerly Basic Pilot) program until DHS demonstrates sufficient database accuracy and enforcement of the MOU standards governing employer enrollment, and until the enactment of legislation providing statutorily guaranteed administrative and judicial processes to ensure that workers who are wrongly delayed or denied the right to work are provided a quick, fair and efficient means of getting back to work and being made financially whole. While Congress in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 Pub. L. 104-210, 110 Stat. 3009-659 (Sept. 30, 1996) mandated the creation of an electronic verification program, it did not include any details or direction as to the form that that program should take, but left that to the discretion of the executive. Therefore, it is within the president’s power to declare that in its current form the e-Verify program is not a success, and to suspend it pending a reevaluation.

* Stop entering into or soliciting 287(g) MOUs with states and localities, and give notice to relevant states and localities that all prior 287(g) MOUs will no longer be effective, in order to return all federal immigration enforcement powers to DHS only.

* Promulgate enforceable and strengthened detention standards that are binding on all facilities that house immigration detainees... Issue a moratorium on contracting for, or construction of, additional immigration detention bed space pending a comprehensive review of the feasibility and effectiveness of alternatives to detention and less restrictive forms of detention.

* Restore the Board of Immigration Appeals ["BIA", "BOIA"] as a meaningful appellate body... Restore the BIA in both quantity and quality of judges by appointing 10 qualified judges to the BIA... Repeal the “streamlining” regulations to ensure careful and meaningful administrative BIA review... Restore the full measure of judicial review that normally governs final agency action under the Administrative Procedures Act and historically applied to immigration decisions until the current restrictions were enacted in the 1996 IIRIRA... Halt the practice of AWO (Affirmance Without Opinion) decisions of immigration court orders, thereby returning to the BIA practices in place prior to the streamlining initiative. A restored BIA also furthers the goal of restoring full judicial review over immigration matters by establishing an immigration administrative process in which the courts can legitimately place confidence, that corrects errors by the immigration judges, and will likely diminish the volume of cases reaching the federal courts.