DHS nominee Jeh Johnson supports Senate immigration amnesty bill, prosecutorial discretion

Jeh Johnson is the nominee to be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and it appears he'll be confirmed. He recently sent a letter to Republican senators, obtained by Politico and which is in this PDF file: link.

In the letter he supports not just the Senate amnesty bill S. 744 but prosecutorial discretion, i.e., what DHS has used to avoid enforcing our immigration laws in order to reduce the number of illegal aliens in the U.S. In other words, Jeh Johnson would at least be as bad as Janet Napolitano was.

In the letter, Johnson lays out five priorities: counterterrorism, border security, "safeguarding and securing cyberspace", "responding effectively to disasters", and supporting the Senate amnesty bill. Note that interior enforcement - the part of immigration enforcement that both Barack Obama and George W Bush strongly neglected - isn't on the list.

In the border security priority, Johnson has a rare moment of slight honesty where he implies that high illegal immigration could pick up again, saying "[a]s the U.S. economy improves, I recognize the need to continue to improve border security". He also "welcomes" the "doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents from 10,000 to 20,000 since 2004..."

He says he supports "common-sense immigration reform" and "I support S. 744, which has passed the Senate".

Of that amnesty, he later says:

I agree that the earned pathway to citizenship should include a background check, learning English, paying taxes, paying a penalty, and getting in line behind everyone who is trying to come to the United States through existing legal processes.

It would take five to ten years to do FBI-quality background checks on 10 million illegal aliens, and by the time all those were done we'd likely have millions of new illegal aliens in the U.S. Whether illegal aliens would actually have to do the other things is not entirely clear: the same people that want to legalize them would work to loosen any "tough" requirements in amnesty. The part about the "line" is deceptive since there's no line, it's more like a river. See immigration line for the details.

And, see comprehensive immigration reform for general downsides of any reform and specific downsides of the various amnesty bills.

Johnson also says:

I believe prosecutorial discretion is withing the lawful authority of those charged with administering and enforcing the immigration laws... I also believe it is within the legal authority of supervisors to set, administratively, guidelines for subordinates in excercising prosecutorial discretion, and to expect compliance. I also recognize that prosecutorial discretion does not amount to effective abandonment of the enforcement of the law.

In other words, just like his predecessor Johnson would look the other way on the vast majority of illegal aliens in the U.S. The DHS policies to amount to an "effective abandonment of the enforcement of the law", because the vast majority of illegal aliens know they aren't going to be deported even if they tell reporters otherwise.

Johnson says:

I believe that individuals who pose a threat to national security and public safety, including those convicted of serious crimes, should be subject to removal... I have been advised that S.744 contains provisions that prohibit individuals who meet these criteria from obtaining legal status.

If we can deport them, why can't we deport the millions of other illegal aliens in the U.S.? What makes Johnson think he can only deport disfavored illegal aliens? While the specifics of S. 744 changed over time, any "tough" provisions in it would be weakened. For instance, by people like this.

Johnson says:

I am for effective worksite enforcement. As I understand it, S.744 includes enhanced criminal penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers...

Our current law includes "criminal penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers", yet such cases are very rare. What makes anyone think that simply enhancing penalties will cause more enforcement of those laws?

Johnson also supports phased-in eVerify, says he'll work to "continue to improve the EB-5 program" (often-abused investors visas) and supports a "biometric entry/exit system".

Want to avoid Janet Napolitano, Part 2? Then take action now and contact all your representatives telling them that you oppose his nomination. You can also contact these Senators who received the letter: @JohnCornyn, @SenTedCruz, @SenatorSessions, @ChuckGrassley, and @SenMikeLee.