Judicial Watch • Chaos in Washington

Chaos in Washington

Chaos in Washington

MARCH 20, 2009


March 20, 2009

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Feds Attack Local Communities for Enforcing Immigration Laws

And so it begins. At a time when many local law enforcement agencies are finding success putting a stop to illegal immigration crime, the Obama administration has decided to interfere. According to the Houston Chronicle:

"Several members of a key U.S. House committee called for greater oversight of a controversial federal program that allows local law enforcement to detain suspected illegal immigrants, citing a recent report that questioned its effectiveness.

"In a hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Homeland Security, several members of Congress called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to institute improvements…

"’The record is incomplete, at best, as to whether or not this program is a success,’ said House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., who also raised concerns about the potential for racial profiling."

This federal program, called 287g, specifically trains local law enforcement officers to help enforce federal immigration law. And thanks in part to a Judicial Watch public education campaign, the number of local law enforcement agencies participating in the program is growing (from 29 participants in 2006 to 67 today).

Why? Because it works!

To give just one example, the Davidson County (Nashville) Tennessee Sherriff’s Department significantly reduced crime in the two years after taking advantage of the 287g program. More than 4,000 jailed illegal aliens were placed in removal proceedings. (You can check out some other success stories here.)

Still, the Obama crowd and their fellow leftists in Congress aren’t convinced. And they’re not stopping with GAO reports and congressional hearings. They’re looking for a scapegoat. And they think they’ve found one in Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as "America’s Toughest Sherriff" for his no nonsense approach to illegal immigration and other crime. (As some of you may recall, Judicial Watch encouraged Sherriff Arpaio to crack down on illegal immigration crime in Phoenix, Arizona.)

As MSNBC reported recently, federal investigators, at the behest of top officials in the Obama administration, are turning up the heat on Sherriff Arpaio: "…with President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and more specifically his nominating Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, the federal government is heeding community activists’ calls for extensive investigation of Arpaio’s office."

So there is a drug-fueled civil war creeping across our border from Mexico and our government investigates one of the few effective lawmen on the front lines! At least we know which side the Obama administration is on when it comes to illegal immigration. And it’s not our side.

And as if all this were not enough, on Wednesday, House speaker Nancy Pelosi called the effort to enforce federal immigration law "Un-American."

She couldn’t be more wrong. We are a nation of laws. Respecting the law is what it means to be an American.

That’s why Judicial Watch is leading a nationwide campaign to enforce our laws against illegal immigration. This campaign is more important now than ever since it appears the Obama administration and the Pelosi-led Congress has chosen to allow radical immigration activists to set the agenda on the illegal immigration crisis.

What Happens When Politicians Try to Run the Economy?

The Obama administration has been back on its heels all week long after AIG executives paid out $165 million in bonuses from the more than $170 billion they received in the federal government’s bailout scheme. On Wednesday, Senator Chris Dodd retracted a lie and was forced to admit he slipped language in the bailout bill under pressure from the Obama Treasury Department that paved the way for the bonuses.

Here’s the story according to Fox News:

"In a dramatic reversal Wednesday, Sen. Chris Dodd confessed to adding language to a spending cap in the stimulus bill last month that specifically excluded executive bonuses included in contracts signed before the bill’s passage.

"Dodd, D-Conn., told FOX News that Treasury officials forced him to make the change.

"’As many know, the administration was, among others, not happy with the language. They wanted some modifications to it,’ he said. ‘They came to us, our staff, and asked for changes, and the changes at the time did not seem that obnoxious or onerous.’"

Now, let me just point out there may be nothing at all strange about companies being taken over by the government paying retention bonuses to keep needed employees. I can imagine certain employees had to be incentivized to stay in a failing business the government told us had to keep operating.

The problem here is that the government has decided to meddle in the private sector, dedicating literally trillions of dollars in public funds to irresponsible companies for the expressed purpose of propping them up. And what happens when politicians try to run the economy – from finance to the auto industry? Chaos.

Obama, Congress and others who allowed the bonuses express faux outrage. To add to the chaos/lawlessness, the House just passed a confiscatory tax measure that even some of its supporters suggest may be unconstitutional. These days, I’m getting the feeling more and more that our federal government is largely out of control.

And to make matters worse, all the while the government has been spending our money behind closed doors away from public scrutiny. That’s why Judicial Watch has been so aggressive in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the federal government related to the bailout scheme.

When the Fannie and Freddie scandal first ripped through the economy last year, we filed a FOIA. When Secretary Paulson met with bank executives and offered them a "deal they could not refuse," we filed a FOIA. And on Thursday, Judicial Watch filed a fresh batch of FOIAs related to the AIG mess that emerged this week. The whole bailout scheme is now approaching north of $12 trillion in potential costs to the taxpayer. I’m sure you agree we need to follow that money!

We will continue to fight for bailout documents so the American people can know the full truth. And this effort is already paying off. Click here to read some documents we uncovered a couple of weeks ago related to the government’s interference in a corporate buyout.

There will be many more documents to come. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Obama Administration Drops Phrase "Enemy Combatants," May Release Gitmo Prisoners into U.S.

Two recent decisions by the Obama administration significantly reduced the power of the President of the United States to prosecute the war on terror and, in my view, left the United States vulnerable to future terrorist attacks.

First off, the Obama administration ditched the term "enemy combatant," a descriptive category that has a long history and was used to describe captured terrorists after the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the story according to Reuters:

"The Obama administration stopped calling Guantanamo inmates ‘enemy combatants’ on Friday and incorporated international law as its basis for holding the prisoners while it works to close the facility.

"The U.S. Justice Department filed court papers outlining a further legal and linguistic shift from the anti-terrorism policies of Republican President George W. Bush, which drew worldwide condemnation as violations of human rights and international law."

(It should be noted that the "worldwide condemnation" referenced by Reuters was expressed most enthusiastically by terrorist advocates and sympathizers.)

According to the Obama Justice Department "the legal structure for holding the Guantanamo prisoners will now be based on laws passed by Congress and, by extension, international law including the Geneva conventions…" You can read the Justice brief here.

So in other words, it is no longer the Commander in Chief calling the shots on defending the nation from terrorists. Now, it’s Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, guided by international law.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, continues to move forward with plans to shut the Guantanamo facility down. And where will the U.S. government release these enemy combatants – or should we call now them "homeless detainees?"

How about the United States? Check this out from Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.

"Attorney General Eric Holder said some detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may end up being released in the U.S. as the Obama administration works with foreign allies to resettle some of the prisoners….For ‘people who can be released there are a variety of options that we have and among them is the possibility is that we would release them into this country,’ Mr. Holder said."

So here we are — Guantanamo Bay prisoners may no longer be labeled "enemy combatants." The Obama administration will now rely chiefly on the "authority" of Congress and international law (rather than the constitutional powers of the president) to detain terrorists. Plans to shutdown Guantanamo Bay due to pressure from terrorist advocates are moving forward. And some of these terrorist prisoners will be released into the United States, presumably taking their position in line for some "stimulus" money.

Feel any safer? I don’t.

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Until next week…

Tom Fitton
President

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