Judicial Watch • illegal immigration

illegal immigration Archives | Judicial Watch

It’s not enough that illegal immigrants in the U.S. get driver’s licenses, taxpayer-subsidized college educations and backdoor amnesty from the president, now there’s a nationwide push for the right to practice law.

Only in America! A group called the DREAM Bar Association is lobbying every state in the union to grant law licenses to illegal aliens. The nonprofit got its name from a controversial federal bill called Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) that would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the country as kids. The measure also calls on states to provide discounted tuition for illegal immigrants at public colleges and universities.

But the right to practice law in the U.S. has always been a privilege that requires a special license—granted by states—that should not be compromised. After all, attorneys in this country are officers of the legal system and have special responsibility for the quality of justice. Allowing people who have violated the nation’s laws by their very presence in the country seems absurd to say the least.

Never the less, the DREAM Bar Association has picked up steam and support from the powerful open borders movement in its campaign to give illegal aliens law licenses. The Washington D.C. group boasts that it’s the first and only bar association representing “undocumented lawyers.” President Jose Magaña encourages all 50 states to pass legislation and promulgate rules to ensure that graduates of accredited laws schools are able to obtain a license and “fully utilize their legal education.” It’s a fundamental question of fairness, Magaña says.

His group has filed legal briefs in Florida and California, where state courts are considering cases involving illegal immigrants who graduated from law school but can’t obtain a license to practice. Florida’s Supreme Court heard its case last month involving Jose Godinez-Samperio, a Mexican illegal alien who came to the U.S. with his parents on visitors’ visas when he was 9 years old. He graduated from New College in Florida, earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the state bar exam last year.

The California case centers on a Mexican man, Sergio Garcia, who for years went back and forth between Mexico and California. At 17, the family stayed in California for good and Garcia eventually graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. When California’s Supreme Court heard the case earlier this year, it sought guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which said an illegal immigrant should not be allowed to practice law in the state even though he passed the bar exam.

While the Obama Justice Department goes around filing lawsuits to block state immigration control measures, California is on the verge of passing a first-in-the-nation law to severely restrict the cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities.

The controversial law, Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools, or TRUST Act, allows local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to essentially blow off federal immigration rules requiring that all arrestees suspected of being in the U.S. illegally be reported to the feds. The measure is expected to get final Assembly approval in August and Governor Jerry Brown is sure to sign it.

When the controversial bill officially passes, the question is will the Department of Justice (DOJ) go after the Golden State for defying federal law the way it has pursued others for passing measures that “undermine the federal government’s exclusive immigration enforcement duties.” Using this argument, the DOJ has taken legal action against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah. In each case, the DOJ asserts that “a state cannot set its own immigration policy, much less pass laws that conflict with federal enforcement of the immigration laws.”

It appears that California is doing just that. The TRUST Act specifically defies the federal government’s Secure Communities program, which requires local authorities to check the fingerprints of arrestees against a federal database. The program has helped deport a number of dangerous criminals, many of whom have fallen through the cracks over the years. In fact, the elected sheriff (Lee Baca) who operates jails in Los Angeles and patrols a huge chunk of the sprawling county insists that Secure Communities works and has led to the deportation of many serious criminals.

Prior to implementing Secure Communities a “growing number of criminal illegal immigrants who were taken into custody” were eventually released back into the community, according to Baca who has been sheriff since 1998. Among them is a felon who lived in the area despite three drug-trafficking convictions and six deportations and another who had been previously removed after getting convicted for killing a child in the late 1990s.

More than 70,000 undocumented aliens have been deported in California under Secure Communities and the powerful open borders movement claims many of them are simply hard-working people in search of a better life. The TRUST Act will forbid detention on the basis of an immigration hold after the arrestee becomes eligible for release from criminal custody. It will also require local governments detaining suspects on federal immigration holds to adopt a plan guarding against racial profiling.

Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key provision of Arizona’s law (SB 1070) allowing police officers to check the immigration status of individuals arrested or stopped for questioning. Last spring, at the request of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions.

The Obama Administration responded to the Supreme Court ruling by saying that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not dispatch officers to remove individuals who don’t pose a public safety or border security threat.

A special category of tuition created this month for illegal immigrants at a public university in Colorado violates both federal and state law, Judicial Watch points out in a letter to the school’s Board of Trustees.

Therefore JW is calling for the immediate rescinding of the measure, which enables certain unlawfully present aliens to attend the taxpayer-funded school, Metropolitan State College of Denver, without having to pay full non-resident tuition. “In approving this new category of tuition, the College recognized that these students would otherwise be required to pay full non-resident tuition because of their inability to demonstrate lawful presence in the United States,” JW writes.

Because the new category violates both federal law and Colorado law and constitutes an act beyond the powers of the board, it must be reversed. Under federal law illegal immigrants are ineligible for state or local public benefits, including post-secondary education benefits unless a state enacts a measure affirmatively granting the perk.

Though a handful of states—including Texas, California, Utah, Washington and New York— have done this, Colorado has not. In Texas and California the illegal alien discounted tuition measures have been legally challenged and at least three states—Georgia, Oklahoma and Arizona—have solved the contentious issue by creating policies banning discounted tuition for illegal aliens at public colleges.

In this case one school passed the controversial measure, so it would apply only to that Denver campus, which has an enrollment of about 24,000. Founded in 1965, Metro State is a comprehensive college that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields. Its school of business, professional studies, academic affairs and science are considered to be highly regarded.   

In announcing the new illegal immigrant tuition rate, the university issued a press release calling it a “historical day” that earned a standing ovation from students, faculty, community members and even state legislators. The Board of Trustees passed the measure, originally proposed by President Stephen Jordan, with a 7-1 vote after hearing testimony from an army of supporters, including “undocumented students” attending the college.

To qualify, candidates must graduate from a Colorado high school or obtain a general equivalency diploma (GED) in the state. Here’s a good one; candidates must also provide a statement that they are in “good legal standing, other than their undocumented or unclassified status.” The goal, after all, is to help “students living in the state of Colorado who through no fault of their own do not have the lawful status to be eligible for resident tuition rates.”

That’s a classic line of the open borders movement, that American taxpayers are somehow responsible for helping illegal aliens brought the country as children “through no fault of their own.” Bottom line is that it violates a number of state and federal laws, though Metro College’s president insists the Board of Trustees has the “legislative authority to establish nonresident rates.”

The federal judge who presided over the trial of a Homeland Security director convicted of helping an illegal immigrant avoid deportation disagrees with the verdict and has ordered a new trial, saying it was “overkill” for the government to prosecute the official in the first place.

This sort of blatant judicial activism may seem unbelievable but this is a true story, straight out of the United States District Court in Massachusetts. A Reagan-appointed judge, Douglas P. Woodlock, didn’t like the outcome of a trial and has issued an order for a new one. His official reason is that he erred in his jury instructions and therefore a new trial is warranted, one in which appropriate jury instructions will be delivered.

But in his 50-page order Judge Woodlock injects some very revealing information that clearly outlines his opinion of the case. For instance he writes:  “I view the pursuit of this case to have been overkill through the improvident invocation of federal criminal felony process when alternative administrative sanctions more closely tailored to the significance of the misconduct are available and adequate. And I am puzzled by the dogged consistency which causes this prosecution to continue.”

The case involves a high-ranking Homeland Security director (Lorraine Henderson) in the New England area convicted in 2010 of helping her illegal alien housekeeper flout the federal immigration laws Uncle Sam paid her to enforce.  A Boston jury deliberated for 4 ½ hours before finding Henderson guilty after a six-day trial in which she took the stand. Federal prosecutors say that for years Henderson paid illegal immigrants cash to clean her house and she coached them on how to avoid deportation.

Henderson ignored repeated warnings over the years from a fellow federal officer that her domestic employees were in the country illegally, according to a federal affidavit. She was also recorded warning an illegal alien employee about deportation and telling the worker “if you leave they won’t let you back.” This is serious stuff, considering that Henderson wielded tremendous power and was authorized to grant or deny waivers to illegal immigrants seeking U.S. entry. She was also responsible for identifying and intercepting terrorists or terrorist threats at area seaports and airports.

Incredibly, Judge Woodlock seems to defend the disgraced Homeland Security director in his retrial order: “The cleaning lady’s employment was not itself illegal under regulations promulgated by the attorney general of the United States,” he wrote. “ And the empathetic advice that the defendant gave her cleaning lady about immigration law practices – induced from the defendant as part of the script contrived for an elaborate undercover investigation involving surreptitious electronic recordings into her relationship with the cleaning lady – did not advise the cleaning lady to engage in fraud or commit some other crime.”

Mexico has issued the U.S. government what amounts to a diplomatic threat for exonerating a Border Patrol agent who shot an illegal immigrant near the Texas border nearly two years ago after being assaulted with rocks.

The shooting occurred in the summer of 2010 when the federal agent, Jesus Mesa, spotted a group of Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande near El Paso. U.S. authorities say Mesa fatally shot a teen (Sergio Hernández-Guereca) traveling with the group in self-defense after the teen and his friends threw rocks at the agent.

Last year a Texas judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government but allowed a lawsuit against the agent to proceed. The Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent the last two years conducting a “comprehensive and thorough investigation into the shooting” in an effort to file federal criminal charges against the Border Patrol agent.

But a few days ago the DOJ conceded that there is “insufficient evidence” to pursue federal criminal charges against Mesa. “The U.S. government regrets the loss of life in this matter, and the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security devoted significant time and resources into conducting a thorough and complete investigation,” the DOJ says in a statement.

The lengthy probe was conducted by an army of federal officers from the FBI, Homeland Security Inspector General and top prosecutors from the DOJ’s bloated Civil Rights Division. They interviewed dozens of law enforcement and civilian witnesses and collected, analyzed and reviewed evidence from the scene of the shooting. This included civilian and surveillance video, police radio traffic, emergency recordings and volumes of Border Patrol agent training and use of force material.

Agent Mesa’s training, disciplinary records and personal history were also scrutinized. The team of experienced DOJ prosecutors examined the shooting as a possible violation of U.S. criminal and civil rights laws, but the incident did not meet the standard. Evidence indicated that the “agent’s actions constituted a reasonable use of force or would constitute an act of self-defense in response to the threat created by a group of smugglers hurling rocks at the agent…” the feds concluded.

They further determined that no federal civil rights charges could be pursued in this matter since applicable statutes require prosecutors to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right. That means with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids. Again, after a thorough review, the experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents concluded that the evidence was insufficient.

The decision has been met with anger among Mexican government officials who have threatened to launch an international investigation. The Spanish-language news media presented the story as the exoneration of the American agent who assassinated a Mexican youth. In a diplomatic note from its secretary of foreign relations, Mexico’s government chastised the DOJ’s decision not to criminally charge the Border Patrol agent. 

Mexico has also threatened to conduct its own investigation into the DOJ’s handling of the case and has warned the U.S. to assure that Mexicans’ fundamental rights are being respected. The teen’s family, which lives in Mexico, has sued Agent Mesa despite the DOJ’s decision not to criminally charge him.

How is it possible that a previously deported illegal immigrant stripped of his driving privileges after getting busted for drunken-driving get his license reinstated? Hint; his beloved nephew lives in the White House.

It’s the kind of story you won’t see in the mainstream media. Thankfully, Boston’s conservative-leaning newspaper reported it this week. The president’s uncle, Onyango Obama, got his driver’s license back after losing it for driving drunk last summer. It turns out that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles issues special “hardship licenses” that allow offenders to drive during certain times.

Uncle Obama qualified even though he’s not even supposed to be in the United States. Not only has he previously been deported to his native Kenya, Uncle O now has a criminal record. After downing a few too many he nearly crashed into a police officer when he ran a stop sign. In the police report, the arresting officer says the president’s uncle was moderately unsteady on his feet, smelled like alcohol and slurred his words.

After getting booked, Uncle Obama did some name-throwing, telling police that he would call the White House to arrange bail. For nearly two decades Onyango Obama, who is actually mentioned in the president’s infamous memoir “Dreams from My Father,” has lived in a quaint New England town called Framingham. Not only does he have a driver’s license (post DUI), he also has a valid Social Security. 

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts agency— Registry of Motor Vehicles—that reinstated Obama’s license this week said “he met all of the criteria,” but refused to elaborate on what exactly that means. When a reporter questioned an illegal immigrant getting a driver’s license, the state agency spokeswoman snapped back saying “registry business is based on registry records.”

A local county sheriff expressed outrage, pointing out that democracy is predicated on law. “When we start to interpret these laws differently and manipulate them the way we want them to work for certain people, we start to send a mixed message to people that the law doesn’t really matter,” he said.

Uncle Obama has an immigration hearing next month, according to his attorney. Expect him to get the same special treatment afforded to Aunt Zeituni Onyango, the president’s illegal immigrant aunt. In 2010 Aunt Zeituni was granted political asylum, in a rare secret hearing, by the same judge who had previously deported her. The judge’s abrupt reversal remains a mystery because it all took place behind closed doors even though the Justice Department’s immigration court manual—as well as a federal appellate court—says such proceedings should be open.


 

 

In its quest to implement stealth amnesty, the Obama Administration is working behind the scenes to halt the deportation of certain illegal immigrants by granting them “unlawful presence waivers.”

The new measure would apply to illegal aliens who are relatives of American citizens. Here is how it would work, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement posted in today’s Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government; the agency will grant “unlawful presence waivers” to illegal aliens who can prove they have a relative that’s a U.S. citizen.

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Currently such aliens must return to their native country and request a waiver of inadmissibility in an existing overseas immigrant visa process. In other words, they must enter the U.S. legally as thousands of foreigners do on a yearly basis. Besides the obvious security issues, changing this would be like rewarding bad behavior in a child. It doesn’t make sense. 

But the system often causes U.S. citizens to be separated for extended periods from their immediate relatives,” according to the DHS. The proposed changes, first announced in January, will significantly reduce the length of time U.S. citizens are separated from their loved ones while required to remain outside the United States during the current visa processing system.

The administration also claims that relaxing the rule will also “create efficiencies for both the U.S. government and most applicants.” How exactly is not listed in the Federal Register announcement, which gives the public 60 days to comment. That’s only a formality since the DHS has indicated that the change is pretty much a done deal.

This appears to be part of the Obama Administration’s bigger plan to blow off Congress by using its executive powers to grant illegal immigrants backdoor amnesty. The plan has been in the works for years and in 2010 Texas’s largest newspaper published an exposé about a then-secret DHS initiative that systematically cancelled pending deportations. The remarkable program stunned the legal profession and baffled immigration attorneys who said the government bounced their clients’ deportation even when expulsion was virtually guaranteed.

In late 2011 a mainstream newspaper obtained internal Homeland Security documents outlining “sweeping changes” in immigration enforcement that halt the deportation of illegal aliens with no criminal records. This also includes a nationwide “training program” to assure that enforcement agents and prosecuting attorneys don’t remove illegal immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes. 

Judicial Watch has been a front runner in investigating the Obama Administration’s stealth amnesty program by pursuing DHS records concerning “deferred action” or “parole” to suspend removal proceedings against a particular group of individuals. Last spring JW sued DHS to obtain information because the agency ignored a federal public records request that dates back to July 2010.

The Homeland Security agency charged with immigration enforcement has repeatedly lied to Congress, the American people and the media by drastically increasing the number of individuals that have been apprehended, deported or detained.

The shameful revelation was made this week by a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the U.S. government. The nonpartisan New York-based data research center, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), provides detailed information about the operation of hundreds of government agencies. Immigration is one of many areas it researches.

For the better part of the last two years TRAC has been engaged in a fierce legal battle with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over records involving the agency’s enforcement activities. After repeatedly getting stonewalled, TRAC was recently provided with some of the documents involving statistics of individuals who had been arrested, detained, charged, returned or removed from the country during a specific period.

Although ICE is still withholding much of the information, the files that have been furnished so far reveal “vast discrepancies” in many areas, according to a case-by-case analysis conducted by TRAC. The initial probe reveals that official ICE statements claimed 34 times more detentions, 24 times more deportations and almost five times more apprehensions than its own data. This certainly indicates that ICE knowingly lied to lawmakers and the press to embellish its enforcement activities.  

For instance, during a one-year period that ICE claimed it detained 233,417 individuals it really only detained 6,778, according to agency’s own records. That same year, ICE said it deported 166,075 people when it really only deported 6,906 and it only apprehended 21,339 compared to claims that it had apprehended 102,034.

TRAC is still working to get the rest of the records and points out in an appeal filed this week that “ICE has been making highly exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the level of its enforcement activities,” or it is “withholding on a massive scale.” TRAC further states that the agency’s apparent inability to substantiate the level of its claimed enforcement activities is a very significant matter that’s central to the public debate on federal enforcement policy and the presidential election campaign.

In early December TRAC also uncovered records that show the Obama Administration inflated statistics to show that it had deported a record-high number of illegal immigrants with criminal records. The documents reveal that the figure is actually at an all-time low and rapidly decreasing as the administration brags about removing an unprecedented number of criminal aliens.

 

 

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