Saturday, November 22, 2014

Unsecure Communities?

Obama ends Secure Communities program as part of immigration action

By Kate Linthicum, LA Times

For the immigrant advocates who for years have been calling on President Obama to curtail deportations, the Secure Communities program symbolized what was wrong with the nation's immigration enforcement strategy.

Designed to identify potentially deportable immigrants who had committed crimes, the program provided immigration agents with fingerprint records collected at local jails. In many cases, agents would ask local law enforcement officials to hold inmates believed to be in the country illegally beyond the length of their jail terms so that they could be transferred to federal custody.

Activists complained that the program eroded immigrants' trust in police and resulted in the deportations of people who had committed no crime or only minor infractions. At the same time, hundreds of local and state governments, including in California, enacted policies to limit law enforcement from cooperating with the program.

On Thursday those challenges appeared to pay off when Obama announced he is ending Secure Communities as part of his larger immigration strategy.

Saying federal agents should focus on deporting "felons, not families," Obama announced a new initiative, the Priority Enforcement Program, which officials say will target only those who have been convicted of certain serious crimes or who pose a danger to national security.

Under the new program, federal agents will continue to examine local fingerprint records and, in some cases, continue asking jail officials to hold certain inmates beyond the length of their sentences. Unlike before, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will now have to specify that the inmate has a removal order against them or is likely deportable.

Those who favor stricter immigration laws said the changes have dangerous implications and accused Obama of caving to pressure from activists.

"This is not a good sign for public safety or national security," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, who added that Secure Communities is one of the primary ways that deportable immigrants are identified.

In the fiscal year 2013, 82% percent of all individuals deported from the interior of the U.S. had been convicted of a crime, according to federal statistics. Many of them probably were identified through the program.

Had a college professor from India. She became a citizen because it was the only way she could stay and continue to work and squirrel away enough money to retire, back to
"When that stops, what immigration enforcement is there?" Krikorian said.

Immigration advocates said they are glad the program is ending but that it's too soon to tell what the new policy will mean.

"I think there's finally recognition that the Secure Communities experiment was a failure, and that the program became a Frankenstein," said Chris Newman, an attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network who said he wanted to see how the policy is implemented before making an assessment.

His group and others have challenged the program in court. In a case filed in Los Angeles, lawyers argued in favor of a woman who ended up in deportation proceedings after she called the police during a violent dispute with her husband. In another, a federal court found an Oregon county liable for damages after it held an inmate beyond her release date so she could be transferred in ICE custody.

After the Oregon decision earlier this year, hundreds of municipalities around the country, including the counties of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino, elected to stopped complying with so-called ICE detainers. That followed the passage of a California law, the Trust Act, which barred counties from cooperating with ICE in most cases, except when the inmates in question had been convicted of serious crimes, including rape or murder.

In a memo explaining the new changes sent Thursday by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to the directors of ICE and two other federal agencies, Johnson said the program had been weakened by critics.

"The reality is the program has attracted a great deal of criticism, is widely misunderstood, and is embroiled in litigation," Johnson wrote. "Its very name has become a symbol for general hostility toward the enforcement of our immigration laws."

Ben Ferro

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Administrative Amnesty As Early As Next Week??

Obama’s options on immigration
Executive order could shield 5M from deportation
 By Brian Bennett Tribune Washington Bureau, The Baltimore Sun

   WASHINGTON — Shortly before President Barack Obama left for Asia last weekend, aides gave him an ambitious list of potential actions he can order to change enforcement of immigration laws without congressional approval.

   Senior aides will give Obama their final recommendations as early as Tuesday. He could make his decision — and unveil the orders — soon after, although no date has been set. He may decide to ease the threat of deportation for as many as 5 million foreigners who are in the country illegally.

   Whatever he decides is likely to enrage Republicans, who warned after they swept last week’s midterm elections that any executive action on immigration would spoil chances for cooperation with the new GOP-led Congress.

   The package of reforms under consideration is likely to touch many parts of the immigration system. They include an increase in visas for technology workers and their families, new instructions on who should be detained for violating immigration laws, and pay raises for immigration officers, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

   The biggest impact would be from a program that could allow some of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally to come forward, pay a fee and submit to a background check in exchange for a potential work permit and a temporary reprieve from deportation, the officials said.

   That initiative would be similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Obama created in 2012. Under that program, officials have issued work permits to more than 680,000 people who were brought to the country illegally as children. Those approved are protected from deportation for two years and can apply for extensions.

   Obama is still deciding how far to expand the deferred action program. Some aides are pushing him to include parents of children who are U.S. citizens, as well as parents of DACA recipients who have been in the country for several years. If Obama agrees, as many as 5 million people could be eligible to apply under those two categories.

   But that number could shrink if other requirements, such as proof of a 10-year presence in the U.S., are added.

   About 400,000 people have been expelled each year since Obama took office in 2009. The record figures follow hiring initiated under President George   W. Bush that nearly doubled the size of the Border Patrol since 2004.

   Obama “has a tough enforcement record and a successful DACA program, and he’s at a crossroads” on the next step, said Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank with close ties to the White House.

   If his orders are “small potatoes and our deportation policies are basically intact and will continue for another two years, that is what will dominate” his legacy with Latinos, she said.   

 Republicans in Congress have threatened to cut funding if Obama goes around Congress.    

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., threatened this week to defund any executive action on immigration. Sessions, a consistent critic of Obama’s immigration policy, is on tap to head the Senate Budget Committee when Republicans take control in January.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Thursday he would oppose executive action on immigration.

   “We’re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path,” he said. “This is exactly what the American people said on Election Day they didn’t want.”

   Most of the costs of processing the DACA program are covered by fees paid by those who apply, not with money from Congress.
   Some administration advisers have expressed concern about the government’s ability to implement a program that involves millions of applications, however. Administration lawyers worry the more people an executive action includes, the more vulnerable it is to legal challenges.

   In his news conference a day after the midterm elections, Obama showed no sign of backing down.

   “Before the end of the year, we’re going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system,” Obama said.

   Obama said if Republicans in Congress don’t like him acting on his own, they can pass an immigration bill that replaces his executive actions. He returns Sunday from his eight-day trip to China, Myanmar and Australia. 

   Members of the Border Network for Human Rights call for an end to the deportation of children. About 400,000 people have been expelled each year since 2009.

Ben Ferro

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Only in America!

This basically amounts to Federal immigration lawbreakers suing Federal immigration law enforcers to prevent them from enforcing the laws they broke:

Illegals File Suit Against DHS to Stop Deportations

By Elliot Jage,

A group of illegal immigrants have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security demanding that deportations be halted until President Barack Obama clarifies his amnesty plans, The Washington Post reported.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network,  the advocacy group behind the lawsuit, wants deportations frozen and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program expanded. The group had filed a petition in February with DHS demanding the "temporary suspension of deportations for the millions of undocumented immigrants who would likely benefit from near–term congressional action on immigration."

It says DHS has a legal obligation under the Federal Administrative Procedure Act not to ignore its pleading.

"What the law says is, they have to respond in a reasonable amount of time," according to National Day Laborer Organizing Network attorney Jessica Karp Bansal. "In a case like this where peoples' lives are at stake, nine months is clearly unreasonable," the Post reported.

The president has promised executive action before the end of 2014 if Congress does not act, and the lawsuit is aimed at pushing the administration forward.

"This point is an important moment to push for action because the administration has made so many statements that they're going to act, but they keep delaying and delaying," said Thomas Fritzche, another attorney involved in the case.

Leading up to the midterm elections, members of the network heckled Obama on several occasions as he campaigned for Democratic candidates, calling on him to stop deportations of illegal immigrants, Politico reported.

The group complained in its petition that the rate of deportations "has skyrocketed" to nearly 2 million expulsions, "with more deportations occurring in the past 10 years than in the previous 110 years combined."

Homeland Security did not comment on the lawsuit, the Post reported.

Ben Ferro

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Corruption By Any Other Name Is Still Corruption


by Jonathan Strong,

An award-winning, career prosecutor at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alleged in a blistering new lawsuit she was punished for resisting orders to release convicted criminal illegal aliens from custody.
The allegations from Patricia M. Vroom, 59, implicate Peter Vincent, the recently-resigned top lawyer at the agency.

Vroom said in an Nov. 6 filing with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Arizona District she was ordered to drop prosecutions of illegal aliens with prior DUI convictions because, in the alleged words of senior ICE official Jim Stolley, “We don’t give a shit about that. Let it go.”

She also details pressure from supervisors to drop prosecutions of illegal aliens with identify theft convictions, including one who registered to vote “not once, but twice, both times falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen,” according to the filing.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency does not respond to pending litigation. Department of Homeland Sec. Jeh Johnson is named in the suit. DHS houses ICE.

Vincent, according to the filing, led a ruthless campaign to purge long-serving officials across the agency to replace with friends and allies.

After President Obama issued the executive “DREAM Act” order in 2012, providing legal status to individuals brought to the U.S. illegally as children, senior officials including Vincent coordinated to prevent the deportation of a DACA recipient convicted of ID theft in Arizona.

Following conflict over that decision and others, Vroom was given poor performance remarks in an annual review at odds with previous reviews, hostile and demeaning emails from superiors, and sexist attitudes.

In February 2013, the filing said, Vroom was instructed by supervisors to release aliens convicted of ID theft felonies in Arizona, at odds with previous ICE policy memoranda on the topic.

Sarah Hartnett, another senior ICE official “explained that as these were 'low-level' offenders...since the typical alien defendant convicted under these provisions of Arizona criminal law had simply been using a fake I.D. to get and keep employment.

Vroom was instructed to drop the cases and later mocked for considering the decision a serious legal precedent, the filing said.

Regarding the alien found to have registered to vote twice illegally, Vroom recounts how she was pressured to drop removal proceedings.

According to the filing, ICE official Matt Downer asked Vroom how she planned to handle the situation. Vroom said she would agree to cancel the alien's deportation, but Downer wrote back, “think again.”

“Realizing she had not arrived at the “correct” answer as to how she should apply 'prosecutorial discretion,' Plaintiff then suggested the case be dismissed without prejudice, to which Mr. Downer replied, 'Agreed,'”

However, a short time later, Downer wrote back to urge an even more lenient course of action.

“Re reading this – dismiss with prejudice,” Downer wrote, according to the filing.
Dismissing the case with prejudice would leave the government unable to prosecute the individual for the crime in the future if he was subsequently detained for another reason.

“This instruction was legally unjustifiable and arguably unethical. No reasonable government attorney would unnecessarily prejudice his or her prosecuting client’s interests by requesting that a court dismiss a matter with prejudice when it could be, and normally would be, dismissed without prejudice,” the filing said.
Vroom also detailed alleged ageism and sexism in the complaint and said Vincent made unwanted advances on female employees, making them feel uncomfortable. In one case, Vroom counseled a young woman to tell the then-married Vincent in an e-mail, “Please leave me alone, Peter. You are old enough to be my father,” which seemed to resolve the situation.

Ben Ferro

A new immigration fraud scheme every day

Monday, November 10, 2014

Things should start...........

Obama: 'I’m going to do what I need to do' on immigration

President Obama repeated Sunday that he intends to change U.S. immigration law through executive action, over Republican leaders’ repeated requests to wait and dire warnings about the consequences of sidestepping Congress.

“I’m going to do what I need to do,” Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” in an interview taped on Friday.

As he has said before, the president said he would prefer that reform legislation come through Congress, but that he has waited for more than a year for House Speaker John Boehner to pass a bill like the Democrat-controlled Senate has done.

“If a bill gets passed, nobody would be happier than me,” Obama said.

His remarks followed similar ones made Wednesday, which brought dire warnings from Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that were followed by more on Sunday.

“I believe [executive action] will hurt cooperation on every issue,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told “Fox News Sunday.” “I think it would be like the president pulling the pin out of a hand grenade and throwing it in as we are trying to actually work together. I am hoping that cooler heads at the White House can prevail."

The comments by Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, followed Boehner warning Obama that using executive action would “poison the well” and McConnell, who will likely be the Senate majority leader next year, comparing it to waving a flag in front of a bull.

“Their time hasn’t run out,” Obama told CBS, arguing that legislation passed by Congress would supersede his executive action.

To be sure, the president is under pressure to use executive action on immigration reform, after promising Americans that he would by the end of summer, then delaying any action until after the midterms, which upset Democrats’ strong Hispanic base.

Obama also said Sunday that inaction is a “mis-allocation of resources” and that the country cannot continue to deport people who should be allowed to stay and keep those who should leave.

Published November 09, 2014,

Ben Ferro