Documents Reveal that ‘Dreamers’ Order Opened Door to Relatives of Illegal Immigrants, “Inundating” Border Towns with Petitions for Admission
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that documents obtained recently through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) abandoned required background checks late last year, adopting, instead, costly “lean and lite” procedures in effort to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications spurred by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, which grants illegal aliens a two-year deferment from deportation.
Acting on a tip from a whistleblower at a federal law enforcement agency, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request with DHS, for “all communications, memoranda, emails, policy guidance, directives, initiatives, and any other correspondence respecting the scope and extent of background checks to be performed (or not) on aliens applying to the Obama administration’s DACA program.” The FOIA was filed on October 26, 2012. The Immigration and National Security Act (INA) mandates a “coordinated, uniform, and efficient,” system of background checks. Instead, the FOIA documents reveal a costly, haphazard process, with only cursory review for the backgrounds of illegal aliens seeking “deferred status.” Document highlights include:
- In a series of agency memos beginning in September 14, 2012, field offices were told to expect the National Benefits Center (which collects all DACA applications) to conduct only “lean & lite” background checks on illegal alien applicants, and that, henceforth, “NBC will not perform full TECS checks or any evidence review on these cases before we ship to the field.” An October 14 memo reiterated that under the new “lean and lite” policy, “Hits will be sent to the field without resolution.” On October 25, the St. Paul Field Director conceded to staffers that the new “lean & lite” procedures were for an indefinite period of time, saying, “I just can’t tell you when things will revert back to the way they used to be.”
- An email chain from September 5 and through November 14 indicates managerial pressure not to turn any illegal alien applicant away for lack of ID, including the explicit directive in an October 3 memo, “Biometric processing should not be refused solely because an applicant does not present an acceptable ID.” In an October 1 memo further restricting independent action by agency personnel, they were instructed, “Every two weeks field offices will report the number of DACA requestors who appear for biometrics collection at an ASC during the previous two week period, but were turned away without fingerprints or photographs being taken. Field offices will also need to provide the reason why the DACA requestor was turned away by the ASC ISO.”
- The documents suggest added taxpayer costs for the new deportation deferral program. On June 28, 2012, all Regional Service Managers were informed that they were to “come up with the number of guards that would be required and a dollar amount” in order to meet the new DACA processing requirements. On July 31, 2012, the agency announced, “In support of the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, USCIS is procuring 40 additional biometrics workstations.”
- On November 9, 2012, just three days after Obama was reelected, in an “!!! IMPORTANT DACA MESSAGE!!! The agency was directed to: “Please put all DACA work on hold until further notice.” There are no later-dated documents in the production to indicate how or when USCIS resumed DACA background checks or application processing.
The documents also reveal that, contrary to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claim that DACA applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “through no fault of their own,” the directive actually created a new avenue of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to a June 18, 2012, agency memo from District 15 Director, David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”
“The Obama administration seems to be throwing public safety and national security out the door in implementing its illicit and unilateral amnesty program for illegal aliens. The costs and security lapses of this program show that this administration can’t be trusted to implement any of the new security measures in the amnesty bill in the Senate,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “These documents show a crisis in law enforcement and national security caused by President Obama’s unilateral decision to grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands illegal aliens.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: “The Los Angeles Police Department is once again putting the needs of illegal aliens ahead of the safety of the citizens of Los Angeles.”
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that California Superior Court Judge Terry Green has refused to dismiss a taxpayer lawsuit filed May 8, 2012, against the Los Angeles Police Department and Police Chief Charlie Beck over Special Order 7, a policy that regulates the impounding of vehicles. Under Special Order 7, police officers would no longer immediately impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers for 30 days as long as they meet certain conditions. The ACLU, on behalf of the Coalition for Humane Immigrants’ Rights of Los Angeles and LA Voice, has intervened to defend the LAPD policy.
The California Vehicle Code mandates the vehicles of unlicensed drivers can be impounded for 30 days. However, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, under the policy enacted by Police Chief Beck and the Board of Police Commissioners, “vehicles of unlicensed drivers will only be impounded for a day, if that person has insurance, valid identification, has not caused an accident and has not been cited previously for unlicensed driving. An exception may be made in some cases if a licensed driver is immediately available to drive the vehicle away.”
But, as Judicial Watch notes in its complaint, according to the California Constitution and California Vehicle Code § 21, “a local government has no authority to regulate or control any matter covered by the California Vehicle Code unless such authority is expressly granted by the State of California….Because the provisions of Special Order 7 are not within the purview of any express authorization granted by the State of California Defendants…were without authority to enact Special Order 7…”
Judge Green issued his decision allowing the challenge to go forward from the bench on January 17, 2013, indicating that he could not dismiss this case without first receiving more information. The judge also suggested the policy might violate state codes, which Judicial Watch has argued in its court filings.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, filed May 8, 2012, with the Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles, seeks to stop the use of taxpayer funds to enforce Special Order 7:
Plaintiff, a taxpayer and resident of the City of Los Angeles, seeks to enjoin Defendants from expending taxpayer funds or taxpayer-financed resources to implement, enforce, maintain, or otherwise carry out the provisions of Special Order 7, which was issued by the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) on April 10, 2012 and which became effective on April 22, 2012. Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that Special Order 7 is preempted by article XI, section 7 of the California Constitution and California Vehicle Code § 21, and therefore is unlawful and void.
The police union, The Los Angeles Police Protection League, has also filed a lawsuit to stop the policy from being implemented.
“We are pleased the court will give this lawsuit the serious consideration it deserves. We very much look forward to making our case in court to put an end to this unlawful waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “At a time when taxpayer dollars are stretched beyond the limit the last thing the State of California should be doing is spending scarce resources to support an illegal alien sanctuary policy. Special Order 7 is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever been harmed by an unlicensed illegal alien driver. The Los Angeles Police Department is once again putting the needs of illegal aliens ahead of the safety of the citizens of Los Angeles.”
Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act request that seeks records related to the Secretary of Labor’s visit to a training center for illegal aliens. The training center, called Casa de Maryland, is funded in partnership with the Prince George’s and Montgomery County Community Colleges.
During her visit to Casa de Maryland, Secretary Hilda Solis urged graduates of the center’s workforce training program to report their employers for wage and hour violations regardless of the workers’ immigration status. “[Barack Obama] knows very well that it is very important to preserve the rights of the Hispanic community and of other communities, in any area where they are working,” she was quoted as saying. “The federal laws are very clear and protect all workers equally, whether or not they have papers.”
Judicial Watch has sued the colleges on behalf of taxpayers challenging the policy of granting illegal aliens in-state tuition. http://www.scribd.com/JWatchDC/d/54524967-Montgomery-Community-College-2005-2006-Financial-Statements
Judicial Watch has also fought Casa de Maryland’s attempts to pass a DREAM Act specific to Maryland: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-statement-on-court-ruling-allowing-maryland-dream-act-to-remain-on-2012-ballot/.
Judicial Watch also closed down a similar center for day laborers in Herndon, Virginia: http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2005/12/judicial-watch-argues-illegal-day-labor-case-court/