Besides the Department of Justice (DOJ), other federal agencies are quietly working behind the scenes and dedicating extensive resources to fighting local laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration.For instance, this week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revealed that a “spate of state and local immigration related laws” has forced it to launch an “initiative to build a stronger network of community organization partners who serve the Hispanic population.” In the coming months the agency will hold a series of regional conferences to meet with organizations that work directly with the country’s Hispanic population.The new taxpayer-financed project to combat immigration control measures nationwide was buried in HUD’s annual report to Congress, which failed to provide further details about its work on behalf of illegal aliens. The document is supposed to describe for lawmakers how the agency is addressing discrimination and promoting fair housing. It’s been a “groundbreaking” year because HUD is resolving individual housing discrimination complaints faster and focusing on complaints that affect multiple people, according to the report.Of particular interest is that the agency is launching more investigations using its “authority to initiate cases on behalf of discrimination victims where no one has filed a complaint.” Reading between the lines, this seems to refer to illegal immigrants. Besides the DOJ, which has challenged laws in Arizona and Alabama and created a secret group to monitor immigration control measures, other government agencies, such as the Department of Labor, have dedicated taxpayer dollars to help illegal aliens. So why shouldn’t HUD join the bandwagon?The agency proudly admits that it caved into the “concerns” of “Latino advocacy groups” (specifically the National Council of La Raza) by intervening when Arizona passed its strict law last year. HUD forced the state to publish an “advisory opinion” that federal “housing obligations” prohibit “discrimination against protected class members.” HUD also deployed its assistant secretary to Fremont Nebraska after it passed an ordinance banning “undocumented immigrants” from renting in the area.
“President Obama’s ‘Uncle Omar’ is the face of what is wrong with the Obama administration’s lawless and dangerous approach to illegal immigration.”
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“President Obama’s ‘Uncle Omar’ is the face of what is wrong with the Obama administration’s lawless and dangerous approach to illegal immigration. Instead of being deported, as the law requires, Uncle Omar was allowed to roam the streets and endanger the lives of innocent people, including a law enforcement officer. And Uncle Omar is exactly the kind of person that local police would have been able to easily keep off the streets as a result of new immigration laws in states such as Arizona and Georgia which are being challenged in court by the Obama administration.“Now the Obama administration wants to expand on its shoddy approach to illegal immigration law enforcement. Under the Obama administration’s newly announced deportation scheme, you don’t have to be a member of the Obama family to get a free pass on an illegal immigration violation. And we know that the Obama administration has a demonstrated willingness of giving criminals such as ‘Uncle Omar’ and millions of other illegal aliens a free pass to stay in the United States.“And we don’t for one minute believe that ‘Uncle Omar’s’ illegal presence in the United States was a secret to the Obama administration.
Judicial Watch today released documents from the Obama Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing behind-the-scenes efforts by the Obama administration to bypass Congress and grant amnesty to least one million illegal aliens by suspending immigration deportation proceedings against “DREAM Act kids” and other illegal aliens.Judicial Watch previously released documents obtained from the Obama DHS indicating that DHS officials misled Congress and the public about the scope of its illegal alien deportation policy change, which gave wide latitude to local immigration officials to dismiss illegal alien deportation cases, even against illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes.On August 22, 2011, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit defending the State of Georgia’s immigration law, known as the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (IIREA). Judicial Watch also represents Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law, as well as the Arizona State Legislature, against the Obama administration’s legal challenge to the law.
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the Obama Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing behind-the-scenes efforts by the Obama administration to bypass Congress and grant amnesty at least one million illegal aliens by suspending immigration deportation proceedings against “DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act kids” and other illegal aliens. The records include internal DHS strategic documents, as well as extensive email communications within the DHS and with the Obama White House. The documents were obtained by Judicial Watch as a result of two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed on March 23, 2011 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 11-604) and Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 11-606)).
The records include emails from press outlets investigating the Obama administration’s efforts to suspend the deportations of students who would be covered under The DREAM Act, which was under consideration by Congress. The DREAM Act would have permitted certain immigrant students who have grown up in the U.S. to apply for temporary legal status, eventually obtain permanent legal status, and become eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military. The DREAM Act has failed repeatedly to pass Congress. The DREAM Act initially could provide amnesty for over one million illegal immigrants and would have cost over $6 billion a year.
Highlights from the newly disclosed documents include the following:
- In an April 20, 2010, email from Melissa Crow, former DHS Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Office of Immigration and Border Security, to Roxana Bacon, Chief Counsel for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Crow states: “Since we met, I’ve done my best to encourage ICE to grant deferred action in the DREAM Act cases…brought to my attention.”
- In an email chain about “one of the DREAM [Act] kids” who was being detained by authorities suggests confusion at DHS regarding how to handle requests for “deferred action” from illegal alien students. In the email chain, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Chief of Staff Suzanne Barr writes to DHS Deputy Press Secretary Matthew Chandler, “we r f’ed up,” to which Chandler responds, “Yep. And we wonder why pp’l FOIA us.” The student was granted a stay of removal for six months.
- In response to a USA Today inquiry into whether aliens are required to carry identification, DHS General Counsel John R. Sandweg writes, “Ugh. Yes. Fed law does require aliens to carry their paperwork. I don’t know if it is a criminal offense, but this provision has gone relatively unnoticed by media and [redacted].” “…I think some groups of aliens are exempted from this requirement as they don’t really have paperwork (folks who were issued deferred action). Either way, it is not routinely enforced.”
- In a memo from Mariela Melero, Chief of the Office of Public Engagement of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, entitled “Stakeholder Input of Administrative Reforms,” Melero sets forth suggested reforms “outside of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” which includes the opinion that the director – unless otherwise required by law – has the authority to judge if the evidence presented for deferred action is “probably true.” Another reform would allow a 501(c)3 organization in “good standing… to design and implement voter registration programs at USCIS offices across the country.”
The Obama administration’s campaign to suspend the deportations of illegal aliens has been subject to intense scrutiny since 2010, when the press uncovered a USCIS memo that contemplated various “administrative alternatives” to bypass Congress and implement stealth amnesty for illegal aliens. A subsequent Houston Chronicle story exposed an effort by the administration to suspend the deportations of illegal aliens who supposedly have not been convicted of any “serious” crimes. Documents uncovered by Judicial Watch show that DHS officials misled Congress and the public about the scope of the immigration enforcement policy change, which gave wide latitude to local immigration officials to dismiss illegal alien deportation cases – including the dismissal of charges against illegal alien criminals convicted of violent crimes. The Obama administration announced last week that it would effectively halt any enforcement actions (on an alleged “case-by-case” basis) against any illegal alien who hasn’t committed any other serious crimes. The administration denied that this was a blanket or categorical amnesty, but these new documents show otherwise.
“These documents show the Obama administration is lying about its stealth amnesty activities and its alarming contempt for Congress and the rule of law. Frankly, these documents show that Obama immigration officials don’t even know what the law is! The Obama administration cannot simply pick and choose which federal immigration laws it will enforce. In its zeal to curry favor with the illegal alien lobby and secure Hispanic votes for a second term, the Obama administration is exercising raw executive power to change the law by granting illegal aliens amnesty in a way that strikes at the heart of our constitutional system and the rule of law. This is a festering constitutional crisis,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“As a whole, these legislative initiatives mirror federal objectives and further a legitimate state goal.”
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Today, August 30, 2011, Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha will testify before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee on the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package. This legislation is designed to address the illegal immigration crisis by shutting down public benefits, employment access and other economic incentives that draw illegal aliens to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
- Time: 2:50 – 3:10 PM ET
- Location: Room 140, Main Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
Judicial Watch is engaged in nationwide fight to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and currently represents Arizona State Legislature in the Obama administration’s legal assault on SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration law. With his testimony today Mr. Bekesha will argue that the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package is completely consistent with federal law and lawfully addresses the illegal immigration crisis:
[t]he “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package could not be clearer. Its intended purpose is to protect the citizens of Pennsylvania from the adverse effects of illegal immigration. As a whole, these legislative initiatives mirror federal objectives and further a legitimate state goal. They ensure compliance with federal law and attempt to curb the effects of the estimated 140,000 illegal aliens and to decrease the approximate $1.4 billion yearly costs associated to healthcare, education, incarceration, and other expenses for illegal aliens.
Click here to read Mr. Bekesha’s prepared testimony in full.
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In sum, rather than regulating immigration, the State of Georgia has merely invoked its well-established police power and codified the inherent, well-established investigatory powers of state and local police officers. Moreover, in doing so, it relied entirely on federal immigration standards and the federal government’s determination of whether a person is lawfully present in the United States.
“The State of Georgia has the legal right and constitutional authority to protect its citizens against crimes associated with illegal immigration,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Georgia’s new law gives Georgia law enforcement modest new tools to combat sex trafficking, the drug trade, black-market labor, and gang violence. The Obama administration’s refusal to enforce our immigration law is a crisis and has forced the hand of states such as Georgia. We have a president who has not only failed to address the illegal immigration crisis at the federal level, but actively attacks states for merely trying to protect their citizens. We hope the appellate court pushes back against the Obama administration’s dangerous contempt for the rule of law.”Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of supporting the efforts of states to enforce laws against illegal immigration. Judicial Watch is representing the Arizona State Legislature and Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce against a Justice Department legal challenge of Arizona’s SB 1070.
Under intense pressure from the increasingly powerful open borders movement, a major U.S. city is abruptly ending a federal law enforcement partnership responsible for dramatically reducing its record-high crime rate.Known as Operation Community Shield, the program targets violent street gangs by sending special Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to assist local police in areas infested with gang activity. In this case, the northern California city of San Jose enrolled in the program a few months ago because a steep rise in gang violence pushed the homicide rate to the highest level in decades.The partnership has been extremely successful in California’s third-largest city and there has been a dramatic drop in gang killings, according to a local news report that cites police data. The local-federal alliance has helped crack down on gang violence and led to the arrest of hundreds of dangerous gang members in a matter of weeks. In fact, in the first 5 ½ months of the year San Jose had 14 gang homicides but zero in the two months of Operation Community Shield. The city is the safest it has been in years.Why in the world would the San Jose Police Department end such a triumphant program? Because the open borders movement, which opposed it from the start, fears that “law-abiding” illegal immigrants could end up getting deported. From the start police faced sharp criticism from pro immigrant “community groups” that claimed residents feared calling them to report crimes because ICE might deport them.A local group that advocates for immigrant rights was the key force behind ending the city’s alliance with ICE. Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) quickly assembled a campaign to kill Operation Community Shield, reminding the police chief that he vowed never to enforce immigration laws. The group publicly demanded that ICE gang unit officers “pack their bags and leave San Jose.”Through a spokesman, San Jose’s police chief, Chris Moore, denied he’s “crumbling to the community pressure” and insisted the federal partnership ended because crime is under control in his city.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the August 16, 2011, decision by the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, dismissing Judicial Watch’s taxpayer lawsuit against Montgomery College for providing discounted tuition to illegal aliens:
This decision seems to ignore nearly 150 years of binding precedent in the State of Maryland allowing citizens to challenge the illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds.
Maryland taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of paying for the cost of educating illegal aliens. Especially in this time of extreme financial hardship, Montgomery College’s illegal alien tuition policy, besides being contrary to law, is a waste of precious taxpayer resources. Importantly, the court decision did not find that the college’s policy was legal.
Judicial Watch will most certainly appeal the Circuit Court’s ruling. Our taxpayer clients deserve to have their day in court to uphold the rule of law in Maryland.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit argued that Montgomery College’s tuition policy violates both Maryland and federal law and places a substantial financial burden on Montgomery County taxpayers, who subsidize the cost of students attending the community college. Circuit Court Judge Marielsa A. Bernard ruled that Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients, all Montgomery County residents, did not have “standing” to bring the lawsuit because enforcement of the law was up to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Therefore, Judge Bernard would not consider the merits of the case.
The lawsuit contends that between 2006 and 2009, Montgomery College failed to collect $5,870,852 in tuition and fees because of its policy of unlawfully allowing a discounted “in-county” tuition rate to illegal aliens and other “out-of- state” students. During the course of the lawsuit, the college admitted that its policy had been in place since at least as early as 2002.
As Judicial Watch noted in a key court filing, long-standing and well-established law in Maryland authorizes taxpayer plaintiffs to bring suit to “enjoin illegal…acts of public officials where those acts are reasonably likely to result in pecuniary loss or an increase in taxes.” In a landmark case in 1869 Maryland’s Court of Appeals (the state’s highest court) explained that:
[i]n this state the Courts have always maintained with jealous vigilance the restraints and limitations imposed by law upon the excise of power by municipal and other corporations; and have not hesitated to exercise their rightful jurisdiction for the purpose of restraining them within the limits of their lawful authority, and of protecting the citizen from the consequence of their unauthorized or illegal acts.
Keeping its promise to suspend deportations for a broad class of illegal immigrants, the Obama Administration has officially started the process that’s expected to spare tens of thousands from removal in the coming months.Among the first illegal aliens to benefit from the president’s backdoor amnesty plan is a Mexican man living in Florida. He got busted a few years ago after applying for a work permit and was earmarked for deportation. Earlier this month local media portrayed the man, Manuel Guerra, as a desperate undocumented worker trying to build a new life after fleeing violent street gangs in his native Mexico.This week the 27-year-old, who has lived in the U.S. illegally for more than a decade, became the poster child for Obama’s newly implemented amnesty program. Federal immigration authorities officially suspended his deportation, according a mainstream newspaper report that says Guerra had been caught in a “tortuous and seemingly failing five-year court fight against deportation.”Guerra was spared after a working group from the departments of Homeland Security and Justice met to start reviewing 300,000 deportation cases pending before immigration courts nationwide. Under Obama’s new plan, authorities will have wide discretion to halt deportations and will be encouraged to do so in cases where illegal immigrants attend school, have family in the military or are primary bread winners.The stealth amnesty plan was first introduced last year in case Congress doesn’t pass legislation to legalize the nation’s 12 million undocumented immigrants. Earlier this year political appointees at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), actually issued a directive to enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action.” The plan includes delaying deportation indefinitely (“deferred action”), granting green cards, allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. indefinitely while they seek legal status (known as “parole in place”) and expanding the definition of “extreme hardships” so any illegal alien could meet the criteria and remain in the country.This goes hand in hand with the president’s new blueprint for immigration reform, which was recently issued by the White House. Titled “Building A 21st Century Immigration System,” the plan strives to strengthen the U.S. economy and “competitiveness” by creating a legal immigration system that reflects the nation’s “values and diverse needs.” After all, it claims that the “overwhelming majority” of people living in the U.S. with “no legal status” are “simply seeking a better life for themselves and their children.”The president’s new plan, which has already allocated $8 million to community groups that operate immigrant “integrational programs,” also expands “anti discrimination provisions of immigration law” and provides more “comprehensive anti-retaliation protections.”