Saturday, April 30, 2016

ICE Director Must Go!

I’m reiterating what I said in my April 13 blog post -  ICE Director Sarah Saldana should be fired! Her policies have so crippled ICE as to make a great  organization an embarrassment!

Ben Ferro, editor

ICE under fire for releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with rap sheets

The Obama administration took fire at a House hearing Thursday for releasing back into society thousands of illegal immigrants who had committed crimes on U.S. soil – including those behind more than 200 murders. 

“These are people that were here illegally, got caught committing a crime, were convicted of that crime and instead of deporting them, they were just released back out in the United States of America,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said.

According to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2015 “freed 19,723 criminal aliens, who had a total of 64,197 convictions among them.”

This included “8,234 violent convictions and 208 homicide convictions.”

ICE Director Sarah Saldana defended her agency, even characterizing the statistics as an improvement while claiming they were being politically manipulated.

“I can’t tell you how disheartening it is to hear a very important issue being bandied about as a political football,” Saldana said. “I would ask we focus on solutions rather than political banter.”

Saldana described the number of releases in 2015 as an improvement over prior years. The agency also made modest gains in detaining illegal immigrants but still released nearly 20,000 criminal offenders last year who had been convicted of crimes ranging from arson to embezzlement to sexual assault, according to the CIS report.

The report also said dozens of freed criminals were later charged with homicide as well. Among the murders detailed was that of Grant Ronnebeck, an Arizona convenience store clerk. He allegedly was killed over a pack of cigarettes by an illegal immigrant -- who had been facing deportation proceedings following a burglary charge, but was released on bond.

And more recently, Iowa woman Sarah Root was killed in January, allegedly by an illegal immigrant drunk driver. The suspect was later bailed out and disappeared.

Though the total number of 2015 releases is lower compared to the past two years, the rate of releases is about the same, according to the report. Of the crimes on record, 12,307 involved drunk-driving convictions; 1,728 were cases of assault; and 216 were kidnapping cases. 

Saldana also pushed back strongly on accusations from Chaffetz that ICE had a choice when releasing many of the immigrants with criminal convictions.

“To sit there and say that the proud women and men of law enforcement and ICE are choosing to release criminals is absolutely unforgiveable,” she said. “They do not go around trying to put criminals on the streets.”

Chaffetz, though, accused ICE of manipulating the data and knowingly giving criminals a get-out-of-jail free card.

“There is a whole list of categories there that are a harm to public safety, including those that commit homicide, that you went ahead and released anyway,” he said. “And so that law is crystal clear. You are making these discretionary choices and released these people out in the public and they are committing more crimes.”

Part of the problem, though, is the level of cooperation from other countries.

Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney focused specifically on the case of 41-year-old Jean Jacques, a Haitian national convicted in the June 2015 killing of Connecticut resident Casey Chadwick. Jacques had a previous attempted murder conviction and should have been deported, but Haiti would not take him back.

“This is such an injustice,” Maloney said. “That they will not abide by their treaty … that they won’t take their felon back.”

There was also a contentious exchange between Saldana and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, over the fact that agency discretion -- as opposed to court orders -- prompted many of the releases.

“You just decided, we’re not going to follow the law, we’re going to release them,” Jordan said.

Saldana maintained she follows the law and the illegal immigrants who were released were freed only after “careful analysis.”

“I’m guessing the families here would disagree with your careful analysis,” he said.

Saldana responded, “We are humans and we do fall short sometimes.”

Originally published by

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Drunk-Driving Illegal Alien Who Killed Straight-A College Student Let Go by ICE

Ms. Saldana's statement to Congress suggests she should not be given an opportunity to resign, but rather she should be fired! Her policies have so crippled ICE as to make a great  organization an embarrassment!

Ben Ferro, editor

Vehicular Homicide Not Enough To Detain Illegal Immigrants: DHS

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

Even being convicted of homicide isn’t enough to ensure illegal immigrants are detained by federal agents, the government’s top deportation official said in a letter to Congress released Monday.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana said neither Obama administration policy nor federal law required her agency to detain Edwin Mejia, who arrived in the U.S. illegally as part of the surge of unaccompanied children from Central America, after he was charged with vehicular homicide in Nebraska.

Still, she said her officers should have taken the initiative to detain him of their own volition and that she has notified all of her bureaus nationwide to do a better job of evaluating people they’re called to detain.

Mr. Mejia stands accused of a drunken-driving accident this year that killed a young Iowa woman in Omaha — but federal immigration agents never showed up to collect him. After he posted bond with local authorities, he absconded.

“After further review, we believe that further enforcement action would have served an important federal interest in this case,” Ms. Saldana said in a letter to Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, which the senator released Monday.

ICE said it first encountered Mr. Mejia, who also goes by the first name Eswin, at the border in Arizona in May 2013. He was a 16-year-old at the time. The Border Patrol, acting under President Obama’s interpretation of the law, admitted Mr. Mejia and turned him over to social services, then eventually sent him to live with his brother in the U.S.

Ms. Saldana did not say whether the brother was in the U.S. legally.

In January, police say, Mr. Mejia was street racing while drunk when he struck the vehicle driven by Sarah Root, 21. She died as a result of her injuries.

Mr. Mejia posted bond on the homicide charge, and ICE officers did not come pick him up for detention, allowing him to disappear into the shadows.

Now ICE is scrambling to try to find him. Ms. Saldana said her agency has asked Honduran officials to see if he shows up back there.

Mr. Sasse was not satisfied. He called Ms. Saldana’s response “an embarrassment” to her agency and elevated the issue to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, demanding to know who specifically was responsible for deciding not to send officers to pick up Mr. Mejia.

“Why did ICE decline to detain Mr. Mejia, despite several requests to do so by the Douglas County Police Department? Were each of these requests denied on a case-by-case basis?” Mr. Sasse said in his letter to Mr. Johnson.

Ms. Saldana, in her letter to Mr. Sasse, said being charged with vehicular homicide wasn’t enough to make Mr. Mejia a priority under standards set by Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson in 2014.

In fact, even if he were convicted of the charge, ICE still wouldn’t have to hold him, Ms. Saldana said.

“Even if he were convicted of the offense, motor vehicle homicide — driving under the influence, the conviction would not constitute a crime of violence under the immigration laws, and consequently, would not constitute an aggravated felony,” she wrote. “The conviction would not render him subject to mandatory detention, nor would it significantly impact his eligibility to apply for relief or protection from removal.”

At a Senate hearing last month, Ms. Saldana had said her officers didn’t come to collect Mr. Mejia because Ms. Root was still alive, so the case didn’t rise to their priorities. Her letter Monday, however, says that even though she later died, her agents wouldn’t have necessarily considered Mr. Mejia a priority.

Under pressure from activists who said the number of deportations was too high, Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson in 2014 announced a policy of deporting only those with the most serious criminal records.

Those policies mean that more than 9 million of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. have little fear of being kicked out.

Mr. Mejia, however, was already facing deportation under his unaccompanied minor case, though that proceeding has dragged on. His court appearance was slated for later this month — nearly three years after he first entered the U.S.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Deadlocked Supreme Court Would Kill Obama’s Administrative Amnesty Ploy

Supreme Court Split Threatens Obama's Immigration Actions

By Lydia Wheeler,

President Obama is facing the very real possibility of a deadlock at the Supreme Court that guarantees his immigration actions won’t take effect before he leaves office.

If the justices split 4-4 on the case, as observers say is possible, the president’s attempt to shield nearly 5 million people from deportation would be sent back to the lower courts for another lengthy legal battle that would surely spill into the next administration.

Oral arguments in the case are set for April 18, which means a decision could come in late June.

The high court has already deadlocked twice since the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia, most recently in a case that questioned whether public sector workers should be required to pay their “fare share” of union fees.

Given the court’s current trajectory, court watchers say an even split in the immigration case, known as United States v. Texas, would not be surprising.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but it's certainly possible," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The immigration actions have been on ice for months, after a Texas district court issued a temporary injunction preventing them from taking effect pending a contrary order from a higher court or a trial on the merits of the case. After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals failed to lift the injunction, the administration sought to speed up the process by taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Supporters of the administration insist Scalia’s death will have no outcome on the case, predicting that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy could rule in the administration’s favor.

“I cannot predict the way the case will come out, but I do think we are on very solid legal ground,” said Melissa Crow, legal director for the American Immigration Council, which joined a brief in support of the administration. “I don’t think Scalia’s death set us back in any way.”

Crow and other supporters of the administration are hoping the court will find that the states do not have standing to sue over the immigration actions. In that scenario, the lawsuit would be dismissed and the long-delayed immigration actions could move forward.

“The possibility that the case could go forward on such tenuous grounds is frightening,” Crow said of the states being granted standing. “It would enable states to essentially have unilateral veto power over federal policies not only in the immigrations arena, but other areas where the federal government is steering the course.”

Texas and the 25 other states challenging Obama’s actions argue the DAPA program will cost them millions of dollars by allowing undocumented parents of both American citizens and legal permanent residents to stay in the country.

Texas says it would incur the most cost by having to issue a substantial number of new driver’s licenses.

“Put simply, DAPA will directly cause a flood of new driver’s license applications and an injunction of DAPA would allow plaintiffs to avoid the unwanted cost of issuing those licenses,” the state said in court documents. “That easily establishes a personal stake in this case.”

Supporters of the administration say Texas could pass the added costs for driver’s licenses on to residents, and argue that the states actually stand to make money off of Obama’s programs.

Tom Jawetz, the vice president of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, said studies show state and local tax contributions would increase by an estimated $805 million each year and state GDP would increase by $91.9 billion over the next 10 years if the immigration actions were allowed to proceed.

But Paxton argues the cost to states is not the central issue in the case — the issue is the rule of law.

“That’s what gave us standing, but that’s not the issue,” he said. “It’s can the president change the law and if he can, we’re talking about a whole different country, a whole different Constitution.”

Though Paxton hopes the justices will unanimously side with the states, he said a deadlocked decision would still be a victory because it would allow the states to go back to the lower courts and fully argue the case on the merits.

“A win’s a win,” he said. “We want more than a preliminary injunction. We want a ruling on the merits that this action by the president is unlawful.”

Paxton said he is encouraged by the court’s request for the parties to argue whether the immigration programs violated the Take Care Clause under Article II of the Constitution, which directs the president to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. He said the request for arguments on that point is a sign that the justices are determined to settle the case once and for all.

Some groups are hoping for a dismissal instead.

John Miano, counsel for Save Jobs USA and the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, said it’s unusual for the Supreme Court to rule on a preliminary injunction.

“The government is trying to get the Supreme Court to decide the merits of the case before the merits of the case are decided in the lower courts,” he said.

“The best outcome in the Texas case is for the Supreme Court to recognize its mistake and dismiss the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted and let the case proceed.”

Ben Ferro (Editor,

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ICE Agents Use Fake School To Uncover Foreign Student Fraud Scam

How This Fake University Uncovered An Immigration Scam

by Katie Lobosco, CNN

Ever heard of the University of Northern New Jersey?

The school's website appeared real, with details on tuition costs ($12,620) and its seven undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs.

It even had a Facebook page with posts about spring break operating hours and plans to expand from its Cranford location into Harrison, Hoboken and Morristown.

But the college was a fake. It never held any classes and didn't have any professors. Federal agents had set it up to uncover a visa fraud scam.

Twenty-one people were arrested Tuesday for allegedly conspiring with 1,000 foreigners to fraudulently maintain student visas and obtain worker visas. The college's website and Facebook page were taken down late afternoon.

Those arrested worked as "brokers" who solicited the university's administrators -- who were actually undercover agents -- to participate in the scheme.

The brokers recruited foreign students to "enroll" and allegedly created false student transcripts and diplomas so that they could fool immigration authorities and keep their student visas, officials said. Most were from China and India and had previously entered the U.S. on legal student visas to attend a different, legitimate school.

In some instances, the brokers are also accused of creating false employment contracts between the school and the foreign nationals so that they could fraudulently obtain worker visas. They paid the undercover agents thousands of dollars to put the school's letterhead on phony documents.

The 1,000 foreign "students" have not been arrested, but their visas will be terminated and they will likely have to leave the country, officials said.

About 1.2 million foreigners are currently in the U.S. on legal student visas, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Most come from Asia and are enrolled in Bachelor's or Master's programs. New York University has about 13,800 students currently enrolled on student visas, more than any other college.

Those who want to come to the U.S. to study must first be admitted to a college certified by the agency and then apply for the visa. They can generally stay as long as they continue taking and passing classes.

Those charged and arrested Tuesday are alleged to be "amongst the (immigration) system's most egregious violators," said Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana in a statement.

"While the U.S. fully supports international education, we will vigorously investigate those who seek to exploit the U.S. immigration system," she said.

Ben Ferro (Editor,