The Obama Justice Department has recently awarded millions of dollars in politically-motivated grants with a chunk of the money going to community groups that help illegal immigrants, a Judicial Watch investigation has found.“Nonprofits” that share the administration’s anti-capital punishment stance also got quite a bit of money from the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to grant announcements posted on the government’s spending website and analyzed in the course of JW’s probe. In fact, just last month the DOJ gave the Innocence Project of Texas its first federal grant, a whopping quarter of a million dollars. The group has worked endlessly to abolish the death penalty in the Lone Star State.The Innocence Project of Florida, which strives to do the same in that state, has received two generous DOJ grants under President Obama in the last few years, for $195,025 in late 2009 and $297,000 in 2010. The Tallahassee-based group’s first allotment went to a wrongful prosecution review project. The second went to a backlog reduction program and to review wrongful convictions in Florida.Outrageous as those may seem, the federal agency charged with enforcing the law and defending the nation’s interests dedicated even more taxpayer money to help illegal aliens in the last few months, JW found. Just last month the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice got nearly $3 million for a “legal orientation program” for detained aliens. The group, which gets significant funding from leftwing billionaire George Soros, had previously received millions of dollars in federal contracts in the last several years.Other open borders groups also got money from the DOJ, including the California-based National Immigration Law Center, which is dedicated to fighting “draconian restrictions on immigrants’ rights” and boasts about having a “strong presence in Washington D.C.” The DOJ gave it $66,000 this year for “immigration-related employment discrimination public education.” Last spring the group got a similar DOJ grant for $65,453.Earlier this year another Golden State group, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, got its first federal grant for $44,000, compliments of the DOJ. The money went to the group’s “Tenemos Derechos” (we have rights) program for immigrant communities and will be applied to “education and enforcement of the antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationalization Act,” according to the grant announcement dug up during JW’s analysis.
How considerate of the Justice Department to finally cut back on the extravagant work conferences that stick it to U.S. taxpayers with exorbitant tabs for overpriced food, beverages and fancy party planners.Heads turned a few weeks ago when a Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General probe revealed that the bloated agency blew more than $120 million to host law enforcement conferences that featured “extravagant and wasteful” costs for food, beverages and event planning. The details were astounding.Examples listed in the inspector general’s report include $16 muffins for breakfast, $76 lunches, $10 cookies and candy bars that cost more than $7 each. The agency also wasted thousands on event planning “consultants” and their travel between venues. Considering the DOJ hosted nearly 2,000 conferences between fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that translates into $121 million.In a sampling of 10 conferences that took place in less than a year, investigators determined that the DOJ doled out more than $4.4 million. For 10 government conferences paid entirely with taxpayer dollars! A big chunk of it went to “wasteful” event planning services, food and beverages, according to the agency’s inspector general.This week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that, as part of the agency’s cost-cutting measures the DOJ will graciously limit conference spending to only those that may be “essential.” He also took the opportunity to pat himself on the back for already yielding “significant reductions in conference spending” during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2011. That means conference spending is down $14 million over the same period last year, according to Holder.“The Department of Justice is seeking ways to do more with less while we maintain our commitment to our critical law enforcement mission and our most important public safety priorities,” Holder said after announcing a series of other cost-cutting measures at the DOJ. He said the cost-saving will help the agency utilize its “limited resources in the most effective way possible.”Other measures that will save the agency some cash include streamlining operations, consolidating or reducing office space, a temporary hiring freeze and limiting travel and training. These brilliant ideas were discovered by the Attorney General’s Advisory Council for Savings and Efficiencies, which Holder credits with saving taxpayers $51 million. Created in 2010, the special council provides a framework to identify and implement practices for saving taxpayer money, realizing efficiencies and monitoring savings progress.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has for years “grossly understated” statistics to conceal “inherent flaws” in U.S. immigration courts that have allowed more than 1 million removal orders to be ignored and droves of deportable aliens to evade hearings without consequences.In fact, pervasive corruption has long plagued the nation’s immigration court system and the DOJ, which operates them, distorts figures to hide the truth from Congress. The alarming details are outlined in a lengthyreport authored by a former immigration court judge (Mark H. Metcalf) in south Florida, which is considered a hotbed in the scandal-plagued system.The veteran jurist reveals that the nation’s immigration courts are ruled by deception and disorder and are at the heart of a system that nurtures scandal. About 250 overwhelmed judges preside over hundreds of thousands of cases annually and rarely are their deportation orders enforced against aliens who skip court or remain in the U.S. after being removed. In many cases aliens remain free before trial and a chunk of them vanish.Even after the 2001 terrorist attacks, 50% of all aliens who were free pending trial disappeared, according to figures provided in the judge’s report. Between 2005 and 2006 the number of aliens who failed to appear at their court hearing grew to 59%. The DOJ deceptively reported the figure as “only” 39% by combining aliens who were free pending trial with those in custody who were forced by authorities to appear in court. That allowed the so-called bail-jumpers to appear as a smaller part of a bigger overall figure.Additionally, federal statistics analyzed in the probe show that from 1996 through 2009, the United States allowed nearly 2 million aliens to remain free before trial and 770,000 of them – 40 percent of the total – disappeared. This certainly creates a substantial national security threat since it’s unlikely that the feds know the whereabouts of these illegal immigrants.Referring to President Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan, the report also mentions that enforcement of deportation orders is now “nearly non-existent.” Unexecuted removal orders have skyrocketed from 602,000 in 2002 to well over 1 million, according to government statistics cited by the judge. This is even more appalling considering that U.S. immigration courts rule in favor of aliens 60% of the time, the investigation found.As if all this weren’t bad enough, U.S. taxpayers finance the multitude of appeals filed each year by illegal immigrants deported for criminal convictions and fraudulent marriages. From 2000 to 2007 alone, Americans doled out $30 million for aliens’ court costs, according to Metcalf’s findings. A preview of the finished document was released in June and the finished product is jolting enough to merit a congressional investigation.
In what could be viewed as a waste of taxpayer resources during a financial crisis, Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has distributed $83 million in “second chance” grants to ensure that prison inmates become “productive, law-abiding citizens” upon completing their sentence.It’s part of an innovative plan devised last year by Attorney General Eric Holder to help convicts who may have difficulty integrating into society after serving time for major crimes. Holder created a special Federal Interagency Reentry Council he claims will help reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars in the long run and make communities safer.How? By bringing together numerous federal agencies to assist those returning from jail in becoming productive citizens. This, in turn, will save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. Reentry council members include several Obama cabinet secretaries, including Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services, Tom Vilsack at the Department of Agriculture, Hilda Solis at the Labor Department and Arne Duncan at the Department of Education.Together they work to assist former inmates by, among other things, ensuring that they have access to federal benefits immediately upon release to “help stabilize the critical first days and weeks after incarceration.” Announcing the multi-million-dollar grant this week, Holder stressed that “we must use every tool at our disposal to tear down the unnecessary barriers to economic opportunities and independence so that formerly incarcerated individuals can serve as productive members of their communities.”The announcement came with a special brochure (“Reentry Myth Busters”) warning employers and others about laws that protect the “formerly incarcerated” when seeking jobs, housing and federal assistance or benefits, voting rights and Medicaid eligibility. The new publication insinuates that employers who don’t hire convicts violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion or sex. The reasoning is that automatically barring everyone with a criminal record is likely to limit the employment opportunities of workers because of their race or ethnicity.Here is another great myth buster. The federal government does not have a policy that precludes employment of people with criminal records from all positions. In fact, the federal government frequently employs people with criminal records as long as they have the “requisite knowledge, skills and abilities.” Agencies are actually required to consider people with criminal records when filling positions if they are the best candidates.Also noted is that most states don’t enforce a federal lifetime ban on convicted drug felons receiving welfare benefits. The states that bother to enforce the ban are listed so convicts can avoid them upon release. They include Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia. Another myth buster is that people can get food stamps without an official state identification or a mailing address.
While President Obama pushes for tax hikes to finance yet another flawed government program, separate audits expose the enraging waste of public dollars at two of the nation’s largest federal agencies.The probes, released just weeks apart, illustrate how bloated government agencies go on spending sprees with American tax dollars, even as the nation suffers through a dire financial crisis and record-high unemployment. None of this serves as a deterrent when it comes to living it up on the public’s dime.At the Department of Justice (DOJ) more than $120 million went to host law enforcement conferences that featured “extravagant and wasteful” costs for food, beverages and event planning, according to the agency’s inspector general. This includes $16 muffins for breakfast, $76 lunches, $10 cookies and candy bars that cost more than $7 each. The agency also spent thousands on event planning “consultants” and their travel between venues.Considering the DOJ hosted nearly 2,000 conferences between fiscal years 2008 and 2009 that translates into $121 million. In a sampling of 10 conferences that took place in less than a year, investigators determined that the DOJ doled out more than $4.4 million. A big chunk of it went to “wasteful” event planning services, food and beverages, according to the report, which was made public this week.Days earlier a separate audit exposed a similar situation at the State Department, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from a special emergency fund for unrelated matters such as parties and a kitchen renovation at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters. The money is provided by Congress for “urgent needs” such as evacuating diplomats from dangerous posts or paying rewards for information on terrorist activities.During fiscal years 2008 and 2009 the State Department used approximately $34.3 million from the special account—known as K Fund—and the agency’s inspector general determined that $723,378 of it was not properly spent. Some of it was used for a holiday party hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to engrave holiday cards for senior-level officials and to buy linens for an annual retirement party. The kitchen renovation cost more than $320,000 and should have been paid for from another fund.State Department brass has essentially flipped the finger at its watchdog, dismissing most of its recommendations to ensure the money is used appropriately and justifying the expenses as “legally permissible.” The agency has also failed to provide mandatory quarterly reports to Congress, according to the audit.
Public school teachers with unacceptable English pronunciation and grammar are being protected by the Obama Administration, which has forced one state to eliminate a fluency monitoring program created to comply with a 2002 federal education law.Singling out teachers who can’t speak proper English in American schools—funded by taxpayers, no less—discriminates against Hispanics and others who are not native English speakers, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). As a result it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the teachers must remain in their current position.Unbelievable as this may seem, it’s a true story reported this week by Arizona’s largest newspaper. Ironically, the state launched the fluency monitoring program to comply with the bipartisan-backed No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states to create standardized tests that show public school students are reaching proficiency in core subjects like English, math and science.With only a small proportion of low-English proficiency students (reading between the lines they are referring to illegal immigrants) passing the state’s standardized reading test, Arizona education officials started to look at the teachers in those classrooms. They found a common thread in dozens of districts throughout the state; many instructors don’t speak proper English and, in fact, teach in Spanish, using Spanish-language materials. Some have “unacceptably heavy accents” that causes them to mispronounce words. Others use poor English grammar.Here are some examples of state monitoring reports listed in the article; a teacher who asked her English learners “How do we call it in English?” and teachers who pronounced “levels” as “lebels” and “much” as “mush.” Last year a monitor documented teachers who pronounced “the” as “da” and “lives here” as “leeves here.”Protected by the power of their union, no teachers have been fired for fluency issues. They have simply been reassigned and districts are required to develop “corrective-action plans” to improve their English. However a group of teachers took their case to the feds last year, complaining that their accents were getting them removed from classrooms.This is the sort of issue that makes the Justice Department’s bloated civil rights division salivate. Predictably, the agency took swift action, threatening to file a civil rights lawsuit if Arizona didn’t get rid of its teacher fluency monitoring program. As a result, thousands of children in the state’s taxpayer funded schools are stuck with teachers they probably can’t understand.The superintendent of Arizona’s public schools (John Huppenthal) says his office will continue encouraging districts to help teachers with flawed English pronunciation or grammar. “Students should be in a class where teachers can articulate,” he said.
To ensure that low-income minorities get taxpayer-subsidized housing Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a nationwide discrimination probe that, ironically, is focusing on an area where the overwhelming number of public housing residents are Latino and black.The investigations are being conducted by the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division, which is headed by a renowned illegal immigration advocate (Thomas Perez) who once served as president of a taxpayer-funded group (Casa de Maryland) dedicated to helping illegal aliens. A former Maryland Labor Secretary, Perez has made a number of controversial moves at the DOJ to protect illegal immigrants and minorities in general.Among them is ordering Colorado to protect the interests of “language minority populations,” suing a public college system for discrimination over a requirement that job applicants furnish proof of residency to get hired and launching an initiative to kill written tests that Perez asserts discriminate against minorities in the workplace.This month the DOJ’s pro minority act du jour focuses on two cities—Lancaster and Palmdale—in Los Angeles County known as the Antelope Valley. Perez claims they discriminate against blacks and Latinos when it comes to providing federally-subsidized housing known as Section 8, even though 86% of the Section 8 recipients in both cities are minorities, according to the county commissioner (Michael Antonovich) who represents the area. Antonovich accuses Perez, who flew into the Antelope Valley a few days ago to formally announce the probe, of grandstanding.At the heavily promoted Antelope Valley press conference Perez also announced that his agency has opened a related investigation into allegations of discriminatory policing by the law enforcement agency that patrols the area, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. This is relevant because Perez alleges that deputies harass minority residents of government-subsidized housing in an effort to drive blacks and Latinos out of the historically white area that sits about 60 miles north of the city of Los Angeles.Officers who patrol the Antelope Valley engage in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race or national origin, Perez said, revealing that his agency made the determination after “extensive conversations with individuals” in addition to “representatives from community organizations.” During the interviews, DOJ investigators heard “troubling accounts of allegedly unjustified stops and searches,” according to Perez who said his agency is focusing on whether there is a pattern of “racially motivated stops and arrests.”Under Perez’s leadership the DOJ has launched similar investigations of state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and Louisiana. It has also created a secret department (National Origin Working Group) within the civil rights division to monitor “discriminatory” laws passed by states and municipalities to control illegal immigration.
The latest move by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to legally challenge another state’s immigration control law indicates that, under Obama, the agency has become the lap dog of the leftwing civil rights group at the helm of the open borders movement.For the second time in a year the DOJ and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have apparently colluded to bring down a state measure passed to curb the devastating toll of illegal immigration. Last year Team DOJ-ACLU took on Arizona’s law, which makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally, bans “sanctuary city” policies and allows local police to inquire about suspects’ immigration status.Judicial Watch uncovered DOJ documents that show the agency worked hand-in-hand with the ACLU in mounting their respective legal challenges to Arizona’s measure. The ACLU has flexed its muscle in related matters as well. A few months ago Homeland Security officials followed an ACLU order to suspend the scheduled deportation of an illegal immigrant in Los Angeles who’s working with the group to nix a program (Secure Communities) that requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database.This week the DOJ followed the ACLU’s footsteps in filing a lawsuit to block Alabama’s new immigration control law, which makes it a state crime to be an undocumented alien and also makes it illegal for them to work in the state. The measure also allows police to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally and makes it a crime to rent a house or apartment to an illegal alien.Though they were filed weeks apart, the ACLU and DOJ complaints contain incredibly similar wording and both issued like-minded press releases blasting Alabama’s law as unconstitutional and undermining the federal government’s exclusive immigration enforcement duties. The ACLU used more animated language in its press release, accusing Alabama of passing a “draconian anti-immigrant law” that sanctions “discriminatory and unconstitutional practices.”The DOJ accuses Alabama of crossing a constitutional line, asserting that the law will lead to “the harassment and detention of foreign visitors, legal immigrants and even U.S. citizens who may not be able to readily prove their lawful status.” The feds also claim that the measure will burden children by demanding that students prove their lawful presence, which in turn, will discourage parents from enrolling them in school.This appears to be part of a broad movement by the administration to protect illegal immigrants until it figures out a way to grant them amnesty. Last spring the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division, which is headed by a renowned illegal immigrant advocate, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, created a secret group to monitor laws passed by states and local municipalities to curb illegal immigration. The undercover body is known as the National Origin Working Group and it holds special workshops dedicated to monitoring “anti-immigrant laws.”