Judicial Watch • DHS Obeys ACLU’s Order to Stop Arresting Illegal Aliens

DHS Obeys ACLU’s Order to Stop Arresting Illegal Aliens

DHS Obeys ACLU’s Order to Stop Arresting Illegal Aliens

FEBRUARY 14, 2014

Caving into the demands of a leftist civil rights group, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has terminated an enforcement program that apprehends illegal immigrants in California’s central valley.

The unbelievable story comes out of Kern County in Bakersfield, which is considered the heart of the nation’s most populous state. The increasingly powerful American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) didn’t like that the DHS agency responsible for deporting illegal aliens, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was doing its job.

So the ACLU, which has repeatedly shown to wield tremendous power in the Obama administration, fired off a letter demanding that the “abusive” arrests cease immediately because they were creating a “culture of fear” among the undocumented. Evidently, ICE was arresting illegal immigrants who conducted state business at the Kern County Courthouse. Some were paying fines, appearing for court hearings or getting married, the ACLU writes in its letter.

One Mexican illegal alien (Hector Esquivel Chavez) arrested by ICE had shown up at the Bakersfield courthouse to pay a ticket for driving without a license. This really bothered the ACLU, which expresses anger in its letter that the 19-year-old man got deported even though he produced a Mexican document called “matricula consular,” which is meaningless in the U.S. “Mr. Esquivel Chavez has now been separated from his family for nearly a month and may never be able to reunite with them – all because he attempted to pay his ticket as the law demands,” the ACLU writes.

Ironically, the civil rights group also blasts DHS for impeding residents from complying with the law—even though their presence in the U.S. violates federal law—and accessing essential court services by arresting them. This undermines the public health and safety of the entire Kern County community, according to the ACLU. The courthouse roundups demonstrate the “need for ICE to alter its policies and trainings nationwide,” the ACLU writes in the letter to DHS.

Like an obedient lapdog, the agency has obliged. In a letter to the ACLU, ICE Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal, Thomas Homan, thanks the group for writing and says the agency has “reviewed its standard operating procedures for the Kern County Courthouse (KCSC).” After the so-called review ICE has “decided to refrain from taking enforcement actions at the KCSC, except in exigent circumstances,” Homan writes. He thanks the ACLU again for its interest in the matter and encourages the group to contact ICE if it continues to have “case-specific concerns regarding any immigration enforcement action.”

This likely means that whenever the ACLU snaps its fingers, ICE will act. We’ve seen this over and over again throughout the Obama administration. The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has colluded with the ACLU on a number of immigration-related cases, including mounting legal challenges to Arizona’s get-tough illegal alien law. In 2011 Judicial Watch uncovered DOJ documents that actually show the DOJ worked hand-in-hand with the ACLU to fight Arizona’s measure to curb illegal immigration.

The ACLU has also blocked the deportation of a number of illegal aliens on the verge of deportation, indicating that it’s calling the shots at the Obama DHS. A recent example is the case of a California farm worker arrested by police. When local authorities ran her fingerprints, the woman was identified as an illegal immigrant and ICE was notified. As per federal law the agency placed a detainer on the woman, Ruth Montano, and started the deportation process. The ACLU intervened and Montano was allowed to remain in the U.S.

The ACLU has also teamed up with the Obama administration to get rid of Secure Communities, a program that orders federal detainers for illegal immigrants arrested by local police. The ACLU has for years fought to stop placing the holds (which ultimately result in deportation) on illegal aliens who don’t have serious criminal convictions. Because California has the nation’s highest illegal immigrant population the ACLU has been especially active in the state.

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