Officials at the Department of Homeland Security lied to Congress and the media to cover up a secret amnesty program that dismissed the deportation of illegal immigrants across theU.S., including those with criminal convictions.The scandalous story of how the government agency charged with keeping America safesystematically cancels pending deportations was first reported by Texas’s largest newspaper last year. 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.After the story broke other media outlets began to dig around and Senate leaders launched an investigation into the stealth amnesty program that led to a 40% increase in the dismissal of deportations last year. Homeland Security officials denied it existed and scrambled to conceal details, according to new information revealed by the newspaper that originally cracked the story.Internal Homeland Security documents obtained under public records laws prove that agency officials destroyed internal memos of the secretive process and lied to cover up the wrongdoing. Through a spokesman, one Texas Senator involved in the probe confirmed that DHS misled the public and Congress about its policy of directing dismissals of cases against criminal aliens.Some of the records are heavily redacted, but it’s clear that illegal immigrants with criminal records were spared removal under the program, which was administered by high-ranking officials and attorneys at DHS.In one internal email, a chief council at one agency branch blames the media for falling behind on the number of deportations his office discharged. “The problem is every time I’m about to wield a blunt instrument to our docket, some case shows up in the press that gives me pause,” he writes in an internal electronic mail.The same chief council also praises his counterpart in another busy immigration office—inMiami Florida—for leading the way on dismissals of deportations and lamenting that his office had “fallen way behind.”Judicial Watch has also investigated this deplorable back-door amnesty program and earlier this year sued DHS to obtain information because the agency ignored a federal public records request that dates back to July 2010.