Judicial Watch • illegal immigration

illegal immigration Archives | Page 2 of 9 | Judicial Watch

In a matter of days the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that federal investigations of law enforcement agencies in different parts of the country uncovered a pattern of discrimination against Latinos in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

This appears to be part of a much bigger Obama Administration plan to crackdown on local governments that try to curb illegal immigration. The DOJ has legally challenged immigration control laws in Arizona and Alabama and the administration has made it clear that it’s keeping a close eye on law enforcement agencies that may be viewed as targeting illegal aliens.

Just read this week’s findings involving the police department in the tiny Connecticut town of East Haven, population around 29,000.  According to a lengthy federal probe the East Haven Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of discrimination against Latinos by intentionally and disproportionally targeting them for traffic enforcement and treating them “more harshly than non-Latino drivers after a traffic stop,” the DOJ found.  

Furthermore, the East Haven Police Department has failed to remedy a history of discrimination and deliberate indifference to the rights of minorities, the DOJ says. The department also fails to collect and report traffic stop data in accordance with state racial profiling laws. Among its many offenses over the years is failure to provide “limited English proficient Latinos with appropriate language access” and a failure to abide by individuals’ consular rights. This appears to refer to illegal aliens who may want to contact their country’s consular office after getting in trouble with the law.   

Last week it was the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department in Arizona that got blasted by the DOJ for engaging in a pattern of unconstitutional policing. Specifically, the DOJ’s “extensive” investigation found that the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department engages in racial profiling of Latinos, unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about these racist practices.

The feds took it a step further by also saying that the Maricopa agency has discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English proficiency by punishing them and denying them critical services. Officers also follow “police practices that have the effect of significantly compromising” the agency’s “ability to adequately protect Latino residents,” according to the DOJ.

The Maricopa Sheriff’s “systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people,” said Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General Obama appointed to run the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division.

Ironically, it was less than a year ago that a top Obama immigration official defended the Maricopa Sheriff’s program to crackdown on illegal immigration, which clearly triggered the DOJ racial profiling investigation. Dozens of illegal aliens with criminal records have been apprehended, restoring law and order in a large Phoenix business district rife with solicitation, trespassing, loitering and public health ordinance violations created by day laborers.

Earlier this year the assistant secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (John Morton) said there was no evidence of racial profiling by deputies in Maricopa County and that the majority of the illegal immigrants arrested have been convicted of serious crimes. “Sixty nine percent of the people we receive in Maricopa County have been convicted of Level 1 and Level 2 offenses, which are serious felony offenses, drug trafficking, assaults, rape,” Morton said during a meeting with editors of a local newspaper. He added that the Maricopa program has been consistent with meeting his agency’s priority of arresting illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes.  

The Obama Administration drastically inflated statistics to show that it has deported a record-high number of illegal immigrants with criminal records, according to federal data obtained by a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the government.

The new documents reveal the figure is actually at an all-time low and rapidly decreasing, leaving the Obama Administration with egg on its face just weeks after bragging about removing an unprecedented number of criminal aliens. In mid-October, Obama’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director jubilantly announced that nearly 55% of the record 396,906 illegal immigrants deported in fiscal year 2011 were convicted of felonies or crimes.

The real figure is less than 15%, according to federal records obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a data research center that provides detailed information about the operation of hundreds of government agencies. The number of deported criminal aliens has been declining steadily throughout the past year, the TRAC analysis found, even though fiscal year 2010 had an already low level of 16.5%.

In the first quarter of the fiscal year (October – December 2010) 15.8 percent of deported illegal immigrants were charged with engaging in criminal activity, 15.1 percent during the second quarter (January – March 2011), 14.9 percent during the third quarter (April – June 2011), and finally 13.8 percent during the fourth quarter (July – September 2011). The average rate across the four quarters for FY 2011 was 14.9 percent, according to records obtained from the government through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

TRAC analyzed case-by-case records covering all proceedings filed in the nation’s immigration courts, which operate under the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The total number of deportation proceedings for aliens with criminal records dropped from 40,500 in fiscal year 2010 to 33,763 in fiscal year 2011. The number of individuals removed for national security or terrorism decreased from 42 to 30 during the same period.

This certainly contradicts the administration’s claims that it’s focusing on removing criminals while it grants backdoor amnesty to otherwise “law-abiding” foreigners living in the U.S. illegally. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) even issued new guidelines ordering immigration agents to prioritize deporting convicted criminals and those who pose public safety and national security threats.

Obama’s ICE director, John Morton, calls it a “smart and effective immigration enforcement” that essentially relies on “setting priorities for removal and executing those priorities.” If the goal isn’t met, just distort the figures and lie to the American people.

In the Obama Administration’s latest effort to help illegal aliens, the federal agency created by Congress nearly a century ago to protect American consumers is cracking down on “immigrant service scams” that traditionally target individuals living in the U.S. illegally.

The first-of-its-kind program is a joint effort between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The goal is to protect the thousands of illegal aliens the government says are annually victimized by scams that promise to take care of their immigration documents.

Instead they steal immigrants’ money and their legal status never changes. So, the U.S. government has come to the rescue with an initiative, financed by taxpayers of course, to help the undocumented. The new campaign largely focuses on educating immigrants to avoid unlicensed service providers or websites that can appear to be operated by the government.

The FTC has launched a special multilingual website and database dedicated to the initiative. It includes a variety of Spanish resources offering help in a number of immigration related areas, including a list of attorneys compiled by the Department of Justice (DOJ). There are also public service announcements in Spanish and a special section to report scams against immigrants.

This week Homeland Security officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) promoted the program at a special presentation in New Jersey, according to a local news report. The Newark district director for USCIS indicated in the story that those who report fraud will not be deported and assured that the primary goal is to end the scams not deport people who help stop them.

Open borders groups insist on a more concrete guarantee that immigrants who report scams won’t get deported. The director of a New Jersey nonprofit, called Casa de Esperanza (House of Hope) points out that victims of other crimes have been arrested and deported after coming forward. “These people are scared out of their minds,” said the Casa de Esperanza’s director, who went on the challenge authorities by asking: “So how do we protect the whistleblowers?”

One of the many community groups that receive large amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars to represent the interests of illegal immigrant farm workers is under federal investigation for misusing government grants.

That public money goes to these types of nonprofits in the first place is outrageous enough. In this particular case, the group, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), actually got nearly $7 million from Uncle Sam after Congress already knew about the wrongdoing. The CRLA has been embroiled in a four-year federal probe accusing it of illegal political activism and misplaced priorities.

The CRLA focuses on broad-based, politically impacting litigation and neglects underserved populations by dedicating itself to farm worker and Latino issues, the feds say. In 2005 Congress reported the allegations to the Legal Services Corporation Office of Inspector General, which has been looking into the matter all these years. This hasn’t stopped the flow of taxpayer dollars, however. A year after the allegations were reported by Congress the CRLA got $6.8 million from American taxpayers.

Not surprisingly, the CRLA has refused to let investigators access relevant materials to properly conduct the probe, asserting attorney-client privilege. Even with the scarce and heavily redacted files it got, the inspector general determined that there was evidence the CRLA violated federal law by soliciting clients, working a fee-generating case and participating in political activities. To obtain the real juicy stuff, the inspector general subpoenaed the files in their entirety.

A federal judge in Washington D.C. recently ordered the group to release the records, ruling that the “information requested is reasonably relevant to a legitimate lawful purpose.” Furthermore, the judge wrote in his 37-page decision that …“the demand is reasonable and not unduly burdensome” as the CRLA had claimed in its effort to conceal the information.

The CRLA describes itself as a nationally recognized leader in farm worker and migrant services provision through community outreach, educational training and direct legal service. A team of premiere public interest attorneys and dedicated community workers handle cases pro bono, the group says. Its mission statement is to fight for justice and individual rights alongside society’s most exploited communities. The CRLA has 21 offices, many in rural communities from the Mexican border to Northern California.

President Jose Padilla says he strives for “economic justice and human rights” for California’s rural poor. His community organization’s work has touched the lives of millions of low-income individuals and improved conditions for farm workers, new immigrants, single parents and entire communities among others.

The Obama amnesty plan officially begins this week, according to a mainstream newspaper that obtained internal Homeland Security documents outlining “sweeping changes” in immigration enforcement that will halt the deportation of illegal aliens with no criminal records.

Much has been reported about the administration’s intention to implement a stealth amnesty plan if congress doesn’t act to spare the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal aliens, but this is the first confirmation that it’s come to fruition. Beginning this week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will review all deportation cases and start a nationwide “training program” to assure that enforcement agents and prosecuting attorneys don’t remove illegal immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes.  

About 300,000 immigration cases are currently pending before overwhelmed U.S. courts and the goal is to expedite them, according to DHS officials cited in the news report. To accomplish this, the agency will focus on removing only those who committed serious crimes or pose a national security risk. Immigration agents will be instructed to close deportations that “fall outside” these department “priorities,” which means a large class of illegal aliens will be granted de facto amnesty.

This backdoor amnesty plan has been in the works for some time and has actually been implemented unofficially for more than a year. In fact, 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 say the government bounced their clients’ deportation even when expulsion was virtually guaranteed.

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. Earlier this year JW sued DHS to obtain information because the agency ignored a federal public records request that dates back to July 2010.

 

In a case that could set a national precedent, Florida anchor babies are suing public education officials for making them pay the higher college tuition rate charged to out-of-state students because their parents are in the U.S. illegally.Born in the United States to illegal aliens, the students were required to prove that their parents are in the country legally in order to pay the discounted tuition fee offered to Florida residents at public colleges and universities. Most states offer the same perk, which saves residents a big chunk of change at taxpayer-funded schools.That’s why controversy has erupted recently over states, many of them cash-strapped, that grant the public benefit to illegal immigrants. This case is different, however, because the plaintiffs were actually born in the U.S. Florida has long required students to provide evidence of their parents’ citizenship to get discounted college tuition, even when the kids graduated from a local high school. (more…)

On a mission to narrow the academic achievement gap between minorities and whites, the Obama Administration has ordered the nation’s second-largest public school district to cut back on disciplining black students and develop a special curriculum for those who don’t speak English.The orders come on the heels of a 19-month federal “civil rights investigation” that concludes the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has long failed to provide an equal education to the hundreds of thousands of minorities enrolled in its 730 campuses. How exactly? It’s anybody’s guess since the most transparent administration in history refuses to disclose details of the lengthy probe, which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.What we do know is that “English learners” and “African-Americans” are being cheated out of a quality education, according to Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. So his agency is forcing the LAUSD to make sweeping changes because the systematic failure has resulted in huge academic disparities that have created a sort of civil rights crisis. (more…)

While the Obama Administration downplays violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities in Texas reveal that Mexican drug cartels have transformed parts of the state into a war zone where shootings, beheadings, kidnappings and murders are common.In fact, drug-cartel violence is so severe that Texas counties along the Mexican border are under attack around the clock, according to an alarming report published by the state’s Department of Agriculture. The agency was ordered by the state legislature to conduct an assessment of the impact of illegal activity along the Texas-Mexico border on rural landowners and the agriculture industry.Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples hired two reputable military veterans to conduct the probe. One of them is a retired four-star Army General (Barry McCaffrey) who served as Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The other, retired Army Major-General Robert Scales, is the former commander of the U.S. Army War College. (more…)

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