JULY 17, 2015
Sanctuary cities are only part of the problem behind the deadly illegal alien crisis. Barack Obama’s administration has instituted “sanctuary” as a national policy.
We have just obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealing that nearly 260 illegal alien criminals, including 40 incarcerated for violent crimes, were released from Arizona detention facilities during the last week of February and the first two weeks of March 2013.
This release begets lie after lie. After first denying that the mass release had taken place, the Obama administration claimed the releases were due to the anticipated sequestration budget cuts. The newly obtained records were uncovered because of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of Edward Tuffly, a Tucson, AZ, resident.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit for Mr. Tuffly in January 2015 after Homeland Security ignored his November 10, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeking:
Records sufficient to identify all ICE detainees released in late February or early March 2013 from the following detention facilities due to alleged fiscal or budget uncertainty: (a) Central Arizona Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona: (b) Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona; (c) Florence Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona; (d) Florence SPC in Florence, Arizona; and (e) Pinal County Adult Detention Center in Florence, Arizona.
For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, the I-213 form(s) documenting the detainee’s arrest.
For each detainee identified in response to Request No.1, records sufficient to identify: (a) the date the detainee was released; (b) the facility from which the detainee was released; (c) the detainee’s criminal history or criminal charges at the time of release; (d) methods of supervision to which the detainee was subjected; and (e) whether the detainee appeared for subsequent removal or other proceedings and/or was removed from the United States.
The date range for the requested records was February 22 through March 15, 2013. This was the exact time period during which Homeland Security released more than 2,000 illegal aliens nationwide, later claiming the release was “solely for budgetary reasons,” though none of the anticipated sequestration budget cuts had yet taken place.
From among the nearly 260 illegal aliens released from five Arizona correction facilities we can tell you that almost 40 of them are violent criminals who had been arrested for crimes including assault, domestic violence, weapons offenses, and battery. Nearly one in five had been arrested for drunk driving.
Traffic Offense: 57
Driving Under Influence Liquor: 55
Disorderly Conduct: 15
Failure to Appear: 14
Illegal Entry: 13
Drug Trafficking: 9
Making False Report: 6
Drug Possession: 6
Weapons Offense: 6
Domestic Violence: 4
Damage Property: 4
Damage Property—Private: 3
Probation Violation: 3
Liquor Possession: 2
Identity Theft: 2
Contributing to Delinquency of Minor: 2
Commercial Sex: 2
Fraud—False Statement: 2
Public Order Crimes: 2
Violation of a Court Order: 2
Robbery—Street Gun: 2
Narcotics Equip—Possession: 2
Morals—Decency Crimes: 1
Identity Theft: 1
Cruelty Toward Wife: 1
Smuggling Aliens: 1
Licensing Offense: 1
Stolen Vehicle: 1
Licensing Violation: 1
Obstruct Criminal Investigation: 1
Firing Weapon: 1
Resisting Officer: 1
Burglary Tools—Possession: 1
Threat to Burn: 1
Receive Stolen Property: 1
Hit and Run: 1
Obstruct Police: 1
Possession of a Weapon: 1
The Obama administration is refusing to divulge the names of the released criminals, which prevents law enforcement from protecting the public or notifying victims. Local authorities in Arizona, such as Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, have tried unsuccessfully to obtain information about this and other criminal alien releases by the Obama administration.
In 2014, a Judicial Watch lawsuit forced the release of 76 pages of DHS documents revealing that, as of April 26, 2014, the Obama administration had released 165,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the United States, including many convicted of such violent crimes as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. The reports we had at that time also showed that ICE had released another 30,000 in the most recent fiscal year, which brought the grand total of known criminals released by the Obama administration to 195,900. That number – and the attendant threat to the safety of you and every other American – a is clearly on the rise.
Your Judicial Watch is a long-time national leader in advocating for a rule-of-law approach to illegal immigration. This work includes exposing and challenging dangerous sanctuary policies in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Arizona, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and more.
For example, in 2011, as a result of Judicial Watch’s work, San Francisco was ordered to end its sanctuary policy that protected aliens arrested for certain drug offenses from being reported to ICE. We are now investigating whether the city violated the law again with its sanctuary policy that led to the release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and who allegedly gunned down Kate Steinle at one of the most popular tourist spots in San Francisco.
We also filed a lawsuit in Chicago challenging Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s refusal to honor ICE immigration detainers or cooperate with ICE in identifying deportable criminal aliens. Cook County jails had released well over 1,000 criminal aliens sought by ICE in the 18 months prior the lawsuit’s filing in 2013. The suit is now before the Illinois Supreme Court.
The lawsuit, Brian McCann v. Thomas J. Dart, was filed on behalf of lifetime Chicago resident Brian McCann, whose brother William “Denny” McCann, was run over and killed in June 2011 by an unlawfully present criminal alien who had just completed a two-year term of probation for a 2009 DUI conviction. The alien, Saul Chavez, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, but was released by the sheriff from a Cook County jail in November 2011 despite an ICE immigration detainer.
And I can’t tell you how many victims of illegal alien criminals the United States has informally aided or consoled over the years.
Unlike politicians expressing outrage a day late and a dollar short about sanctuary policies, your JW has been fighting sanctuary policies with success in the courts and in the public square for years (for instance, see this 2007 story from Fox News).
The Obama administration is obsessed with supporting nationwide sanctuary and unlawful amnesty for illegal aliens – even illegal aliens who have committed violent crimes. These new documents show the Obama administration’s soft-on-crime approach to illegal alien crime is a clear and present danger to the safety of innocent Americans. Obama is the sanctuary president, to the detriment of murder victims like Kate Steinle.
Those Barack Obama taxpayer-funded trips are costing you a pretty penny. Other presidents have certainly pushed the line on this. However, here, we have to ask if the Obamas are really doing the people’s business on these extravagant, spare-no-expense trips across the country and to luxury destinations overseas.
We just obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Michelle Obama’s 2014 trip to China cost American taxpayers $362,523.53 in air travel expenses alone. The First Lady, her daughters and her mother spent March 19 – 26 in China, in a trip highlighted by extended visits to some of the country’s most popular tourist sites.
Your Judicial Watch received Air Force records on June 25, 2015, in response to a June 19, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:
Any and all records concerning mission taskings of First Lady Michelle Obama’s March 2014 tip to China;
Any and all records concerning transportation costs for Mrs. Obama’s March 2014 trip to China;
Any and all passenger manifests for Mrs. Obama’s March 2014 trip to China.
According to the newly released records, the transportation costs for the seven-day trip to China were based on a flight cost of $11,092 per hour for the Obama family, and support personnel in a C-32A presidential aircraft. The $362,523.53 air travel expense tab for the Obama entourage was more than 225 times what the average American family spends on an entire week-long vacation.
The U.S. Secret Service has not yet responded to the request for attendant costs for personnel, accommodations, meals, rental cars, and related expenses.
The Daily Mail reported that: “Michelle Obama and three of her family members are staying in a $8,350-per-night Beijing presidential suite.” The 3,400-square-foot suite included a private steam room and in-room dining for six.
Though the White House billed the China trip as an effort by Michelle Obama to push her education agenda, much of the Obama family’s time was spent at popular tourist sightseeing venues. According to Diplomat.com, “The First Lady, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother Marian Robinson visited Beijing’s Forbidden City and Summer Palace as well as the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, and the Chengdu Panda Base.”
Like all political trips, reality intruded. According to the Washington Post, even Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote her education agenda were not without problems. “The trip was by no means perfect. Obama encouraged students from disadvantaged backgrounds to study abroad, but on her first full day in Beijing she visited a Chinese high school where American students said their parents pay $50,000 a year for their tuition and boarding,” the Post reported. The First Lady also called for transparency, which is too rich for words – given the illegal secrecy alone over her family’s travel on our dime!
Once again, we find the Obamas abusing the public trust and raiding the taxpayers’ coffers for unnecessarily luxurious travel. The fact that it took us a full year to obtain this information about the First Lady’s China junket reveals that the “most transparent administration in history” knows that its taxpayer-financed jaunts are so excessively extravagant that it ignores open records law to keep Americans in the dark.
We previously uncovered an expensive combination of trips by the Obamas to Africa and Honolulu, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone. The single largest prior known expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66. To date, the known beyond-first-class travel expenses of the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden exceed $57 million.
There are far too few media operations in Washington, D.C., willing to do serious investigative reporting, especially when it comes to the Obama administration. We are pleased to highlight for you a new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we just filed for our journalist friends at the Daily Caller News Foundation, which is based here in Washington, D.C. We filed the lawsuit in order to assist them in obtaining records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This Frankenstein monster of an agency was created by the infamous Dodd-Frank law of 2010. While it’s a relatively new government agency, it clearly knows how to play the game.
On February 27, 2015, the Daily Caller News Foundation filed a simple FOIA request with the CFPB seeking access, in part, to:
- All emails to or from Robert Cauldwell, National Treasury Employees’ Union Chapter 335 president and an examiner for the bureau’s Southeast region, between January 1, 2014 to February 27, 2015 that make reference to political parties, elected political figures, congressional committees, congressional testimony and congressional activities including hearings, investigatory activities or subpoenas; and
- All emails sent to or received from Bureau employee and active union member Anthony Romano between January 1, 2014 to February 27, 2015 that make reference to political parties, elected political figures, congressional committees, congressional testimony and congressional activities including hearings, investigatory activities or subpoenas.
Subsequently, on March 19, The Daily Caller News Foundation narrowed its request and provided the CFPB with a list of 27 specific terms to be searched. Yet, the CFPB responded on April 8 that the request was overly broad, and by letter dated May 21, denied them administrative appeal, declaring the request “insufficiently specific and therefore unreasonably burdensome.” The search terms in the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request include “Republican,” “Tea Party,” “Obama,” “subpoenas” and “House Financial Services Committee.”
The CFPB thinks it is above the law. Our lawsuit on behalf of journalists at the Daily Caller News Foundation, however, serves notice to the CFPB that this attitude is misguided.
Neil Patel, president of the Daily Caller News Foundation is right on point when he commented this week, “The public has a right to know what their government is doing. The Freedom of Information Act was enacted to enable the public to exercise this right. The Act requires disclosure of government documents subject only to reasonable exceptions. Asking ‘for too much’ is not one of those exceptions, and the CFPB should not be allowed to act as if it is.”
Certainly, if union officials were engaging in illegal political activity, CFPB employees and the public deserve to know about it. It tells you all you need to know about the Obama administration’s transparency when the Daily Caller News Foundation has to file a federal lawsuit just to find out about two bureaucrats.