Judicial Watch • illegal immigration

illegal immigration Archives | Page 7 of 13 | Judicial Watch

Just when you thought President Obama’s deplorable backdoor amnesty plan had gone too far, his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues an order halting deportation proceedings against a broad class of illegal immigrants.Additionally, the agency responsible for keeping the nation safe announced that a crucial program (Secure Communities) that’s helped capture dangerous illegal alien criminals will essentially be weakened to assure compliance with “civil rights and civil liberties laws and policies.”The open-borders National Council of La Raza, which is colluding with the administration to grant illegal immigrants amnesty, was quick to praise the move. In a statement published this week, the group, which annually receives tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, revealed that an “interagency team of senior leaders” at DHS and the Justice Department will identify “low-priority” deportation cases that should be considered for an “exercise of discretion.”Under the new plan the Homeland Security agency responsible for removing dangerous illegal aliens, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), will have wide discretion to halt deportations on a “case-by-case basis.” Illegal immigrants attending school, those with family in the military or a family’s primary bread winner will be allowed to remain in the U.S. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claims the new policy will actually“enhance public safety” by focusing deportation efforts on those “who pose a threat.”Earlier this month ICE Director John Morton made similar claims in a letter to the governors of states that have implemented Secure Communities. In the letter Morton also said that his agency would focus its limited resources on individuals who pose a threat to public safety or who have flagrantly violated the nation’s immigration laws “in a way that respects civil rights and civil liberties.” It also lists ways ICE will actively avoid deporting run-of-the-mill illegal aliens.The administration launched its stealth amnesty plan sometime 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.Judicial Watch has sued DHS to obtain records detailing the stealth amnesty plan because the agency has ignored a federal public records request that dates back to July 2010.

In a seldom-seen act, a suburban Virginia county is going up against the powerful forces of the federal government by suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records involving thousands of illegal immigrants who were arrested locally and turned over for deportation.Officials in Prince William County suspect that many of the criminal aliens, like the drunk driver who killed a nun last summer in their jurisdiction, were simply released under Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan. If so, there could be at least 3,000 criminal illegal immigrants roaming around the county, which is part of the Washington Metropolitan area and has a population of around 400,000.Local officials demand to know what the feds did with the illegal immigrants after county authorities turned them over for removal. The feds refuse to divulge the information and have blown off two public-record requests from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. Board Chairman Corey Stewart said it’s frustrating that a local government must resort to suing the federal government to get information that should be public and is vital to local law enforcement efforts. He also expressed disappointment in the “lack of cooperation and transparency from DHS.”The standoff began when Prince William officials discovered that a drunken illegal immigrant with an extensive criminal history killed a Benedictine nun last summer. News reports quickly surfaced that the Bolivian man, Carlos Montano, had been released by federal immigration authorities on his own recognizance after previous arrests. Montano, who had a revoked license, had twice been charged with drunken driving and had been arrested in separate incidents for other traffic-related offenses.A few months after the nun’s tragic death Judicial Watch sued DHS for documents related to Montano’s case in an effort to answer an important question: Why did federal authorities free him if he had such a serious criminal history? Earlier this year the agency provided a heavily edited report that nevertheless provides insight into the matter. Essentially, Obama Administration policies giving immigration officials “broad discretion”relating to detention resources allow them to release illegal aliens like Montano.In any case, Prince William County has transferred more than 4,000 criminal illegal aliens to DHS custody in the last few years and officials want to know their whereabouts. The program is actually part of a local-federal team effort, practiced by municipalities nationwide, that checks the immigration status of every arrestee. It probably defeats the purpose if the feds are releasing the offenders.

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.”

Proclaiming that human trafficking is the “modern day manifestation of slavery,” the Homeland Security agency responsible for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. has embarked on a new mission to rescue illegal immigrants smuggled into the country by traffickers.As the front line agency guarding the nation’s sea and land entry points, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for intercepting foreign threats—including weapons of mass destruction—while facilitating travel for hundreds of millions of people. About 20,000 agents guard nearly 6,000 miles of border between the U.S., Mexico and Canada as well as 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico.It’s a huge task for the thinly spread law enforcement agency that’s been rocked by a series of corruption scandals in the last few years. Just last month CBP’s commissioner (Alan Bersin) revealed that 127 agents had been arrested or indicted since 2004 for drug smuggling, alien smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy. Most were considered “mission compromising acts of corruption,” according to Bersin’s testimony before a Senate Homeland Security committee.Considering all this, it may seem odd that the agency would embark on its latest mission to save illegal immigrants who are driven into forced labor by their smugglers, a form of “modern-day slavery.” This week CBP began airing public service announcements in English and Spanish to help migrants avoid becoming victims of human trafficking and to encourage Americans to report any suspicious activity. The new public awareness campaign is called “Don’t Be Fooled” or “No Te Engañes.”“Death, disappearance and enslavement—these too often are the futures that await illegal immigrants who mortgage their lives to human smugglers,” according to CBP’s deputy commissioner, David Aguilar. The deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Homeland Security agency that removes illegal immigrants from the U.S., says the initiative aims to “reach and rescue the victims who’ve endured much pain and suffering at the hands of callous criminals.”The smugglers will be criminally charged and subsequently deported, say Homeland Security officials, but the so-called “victims” may very well be allowed to stay in the U.S. In fact, the Obama Administration’s new “three-pronged strategy” (billed as a “first of its-kind-campaign”) includes “prevention, protecting victims and prosecution.”

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to stop President Obama from further implementing a “backdoor amnesty” program that has already suspended the deportation of thousands of illegal immigrants, including those with criminal convictions.The president’s stealth amnesty plan was first exposed last year after internal Homeland Security documents were obtained by the media. The first is a now-famous memo outlining a secret backup plan to grant illegal immigrants amnesty in case Congress doesn’t pass legislation to do it. Devised by high-ranking officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the plan calls for “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action” and “relief” to “reduce the threat of removal for certain individuals present in the United States without proper authorization”Subsequently, Texas’s largest newspaper exposed a secret initiative that systematically cancels pending deportations, even when illegal aliens have a criminal history. The remarkable program stunned the legal profession and baffled immigration attorneys who say the government bounced their clients’ removal even when expulsion was virtually guaranteed.Last month Obama implemented yet another system to spare a myriad of illegal immigrants from removal by authorizing—and encouraging—low-level field officers to block deportations by using an outrageously broad list of exemptions. The unprecedented program will allow droves of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. by drastically expanding factors that can be considered to exercise“prosecutorial discretion.” That’s when agencies get to decide to what degree they enforce certain laws against particular individuals.Apparently it was the icing on the cake that pushed several lawmakers to craft legislation to end the madness. Introduced in the House this week, the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation Act (HALT Act) would eliminate the president’s widely abused humanitarian parole, temporary protected status and deferred action to spare illegal immigrants from deportation.The measurer’s sponsor, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, claims the HALT Act will prevent Obama from abusing his authority to grant illegal immigrants “mass administrative amnesty,” which he says is a rejection of Congress’ constitutional rights and shows utter distain towards the wishes of the American people. Smith reminds the president that Americans have called upon Congress to defeat several amnesty bills in recent years.Not surprisingly, the open-borders movement has expressed outrage and the nation’s most powerful la raza group quickly issued a statement denouncing the proposed law as a “cheap political stunt.”The president should use his authority to suspend deportations of “people who pose no risk to public safety” while Congress focuses on “real solutions” to fix the nation’s immigration system, according to the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).Coincidentally, Obama just spoke at the NCLR’s annual conference in Washington D.C. this week and told the crowd that the idea of reforming the U.S. immigration system on his own “is very tempting,” but under the U.S. Constitution, he is unable to do so without Congress. He did promise to enforce “flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way.”

In what could be a dangerous trend, the Obama Administration has for the second time in a few weeks followed the orders of a Latin American nation demanding intervention on behalf of an illegal immigrant living in the United States.Earlier this month President Obama asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution of an illegal alien convicted of bludgeoning, raping and murdering a Texas girl after receiving a written mandate from Mexico. The Mexican directive requested the administration’s “full-fledged support” to obtain a stay of execution and specifically asked for a Supreme Court appeal on behalf of the murderer. Texas blew off the request and executed him anyways.This week Argentina’s government asked that an illegal immigrant in south Florida be spared deportation and the administration obliged, according to news reports. The case involves a 23-year-old man brought to the U.S. as a teenager. As a student at a Miami college, the illegal alien (Miyen Spinelli) got arrested near the Canadian border for not having proper identification while traveling to a youth soccer championship and was earmarked for removal.Argentine diplomats in Miami intervened this week, urging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) not to deport Spinelli, who is described as a model student and athlete. Argentina’s Consul General actually requested that the illegal alien from his country be granted permanent U.S. residency, although the consul claims to be “respectful of American regulations.” It didn’t hurt that the South American official held a press conference to make the appeal.A day later, ICE caved into the Argentine demand by suspending Spinelli’s imminent deportation. “ICE has reviewed the case and will be extending the previously issued stay of removal for an additional year,” ICE said in a statement that was published by local newspapers. “ICE will review the case and circumstances again prior to the expiration of this stay to determine the benefits of an additional stay of removal.”

A small Texas city is being sued for discrimination by dozens of Latino day laborers who claim that police are unconstitutionally targeting their free-speech right to express their availability for employment in public areas, even though a state law has long prohibited it.Collectively known as Jornaleros de Las Palmas, or the Day Laborers of Palmas, the men are represented by a powerful open-borders group (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund or MALDEF) that specializes in discrimination lawsuits on behalf of Latinos and illegal immigrants. In this case MALDEF accuses police in League City, located southeast of Houston, of targeting Latino day laborers by unconstitutionally arresting them for criminal trespassing when they are looking for work on public sidewalks.The Texas Transportation Code prohibits anyone from seeking work in public areas so League City Police is simply enforcing the law after looking the other way for years. MALDEF wants a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing the section of the statute that bans any resident—legal or illegal—from seeking work in public areas. To accomplish this, the race card has conveniently been deployed.In their complaint the day laborers accuse police of harassing and intimidating them with extensive patrol units and surveillance and threats of citations and arrests because they are Latino. This has unlawfully subjected the day laborers to harsh fines and imprisonment and violated their First and Fourteenth amendment rights under the United States Constitution, according to the complaint. It has also caused them to suffer “economic harm.”It turns out that League City used to help the day laborers by allowing them to congregate daily in front of the police station, but things got out of hand and last fall officials adopted a “shift in philosophy,” according to a local news report. Day laborers became disruptive by trespassing at convenience stores, littering and obstructing traffic. Some slept in the police station parking lot and others harassed female police officers so the city finally started enforcing the statewide anti-solicitation law.The day laborers’ attorney maintains that the new policy unfairly singles out and punishes her clients. “Day laborers seeking work have the same rights to express themselves as anyone else,” she said. “These are tough economic times and their hard work should be rewarded, not targeted.” Besides an injunction to allow day laborers to solicit work, MALDEF seeks legal fees and “thousands of dollars” in compensation, fines and penalties from the city. Maybe League City should consider starting a benefit plan that also pays for the day laborers health costs and retirement fund.

A Judicial Watch investigation has discovered that the drunk illegal immigrant who recently killed a Houston police officer had six arrest warrants, multiple encounters with law enforcement and had been caught driving without a license four times.He also had been cited by police on eight occasions, was ticketed twice in 2009 and had two convictions for unlawful entry into the U.S., according to public records obtained by JW from the Houston Municipal Court. Incredibly, the illegal alien (Johoan Rodriguez) remained free and in late May struck and killed Houston Police Officer Kevin Will.It marks the fourth time in the last few years that a Houston officer dies at the hands of a previously deported illegal immigrant protected by the city’s sanctuary policy, which, among other things, forbids police from inquiring about immigration status. In 2009 an illegal alien from Mexico (Roberto Pedroza Carrillo), who had been ticketed by Houston Police at least four times, killed an undercover police officer during a sting operation.Also that year, an illegal immigrant drug lord shot another Houston officer in the face while attempting to serve a narcotics warrant at a house. That El Salvador native had been arrested five times for possession or delivery of drugs, thrice after an immigration judge granted him voluntary departure. In 2006 Houston Officer Rodney Johnson was murdered during a routine traffic stop by a Mexican illegal alien (Juan Quintero) who had been deported for molesting a child and arrested for driving intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and failing to stop after an automobile accident. Quintero shot Officer Johnson four times in the back of the head with a 9 millimeter handgun hidden in the waistband of his pants.Judicial Watch represents Johnson’s wife, Houston Police Sergeant Joslyn M. Johnson, in a lawsuit against the City of Houston, the Houston Police Department and its chief challenging the illegal alien sanctuary policies that ultimately led to her husband’s murder. A few months before Johnson’s death JW had launched a probe and requested public records related to Houston’s sanctuary policy and a taxpayer-funded day laborer center.Despite the murder of four cops in the last few years and countless other crimes attributed to illegal immigrants the city continues offering undocumented aliens sanctuary. Like the other cases before it, Officer Will’s tragic death could have been prevented considering the illegal immigrant who killed him had an extensive criminal history and should have been jailed and deported.Rodriguez first got caught entering the U.S. through Brownsville Texas on December 29, 2005, though his criminal record dates back to 2001, according to court documents obtained in the course of JW’s probe. He was fined and deported and got caught the next day entering the U.S. in McAllen Texas. That led to his second fine and removal, the records reveal.Despite two deportations, Rodriguez obtained a Texas driver’s license in 2007 even though he was in the country illegally and had numerous encounters with the law. Beginning in 2001 Rodriguez was cited for offenses including driving without a license or insurance, speeding, operating an unregistered vehicle, running a stop sign and not wearing a seat belt. When he killed Officer Will, Rodriguez had six outstanding bench warrants for failing to appear in court for his various offenses.Although his criminal history is not violent, it’s extensive and he should have long ago been incarcerated and removed from the country. The same can be said for the other illegal immigrants who have killed cops in Houston in the last four years.

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