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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

JW Helps Widow in Drug Cartel Murder

May 13, 2011

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Judicial Watch Seeks Justice for Widow of Victim Killed In Mexican Border Attack

I am proud to announce that Judicial Watch is representing Tiffany Hartley, the widow of David Hartley, who was murdered on Falcon Lake in Texas. The lake spans a large section of the border between Texas and Mexico. Hartley is believed to have been gunned down by members of the Mexican Zeta drug cartel, which has control of the lake. Nearly eight months after the murder, Mr. Hartley’s body has yet to be recovered and the federal government has ended its participation in this case. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley had been jet-skiing on the lake, which is a major tourist destination, when the attack occurred. Tiffany Hartley barely survived the attack by fleeing on her jet ski after trying desperately to pull her husband out of the water.

Judicial Watch is calling on the Mexican government and the Obama administration to thoroughly investigate the September 30, 2010, murder of David Hartley on Falcon Lake. We’ve also launched an investigation of David Hartley’s murder, and are moving to identify and obtain all government records pertaining to the September shooting, including Obama administration communications with their Mexican counterparts, as well as law enforcement officials, Mexican military authorities, and others.

Mrs. Hartley is owed a full and thorough investigation into the murder of her husband. She deserves accountability from both the Mexican authorities and the Obama administration. So far, the pursuit of justice apparently has been suppressed for political reasons on both sides of the border. It’s shameful and wrong.

Our work with Ms. Hartley began full throttle this week. Ms. Hartley and Judicial Watch met with a number of congressmen here in Washington and participated in a press conference kindly hosted on the U.S. Capitol grounds by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX). Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) also took the time to participate in the press conference (which received a nice write-up here). Judicial Watch sure appreciates the demonstrated leadership of these two House members that is so sorely lacking from the Obama administration.

You may have seen news reports of President Obama dishonestly suggesting this week that the border is “secure” in a campaign speech boosting amnesty for illegal alien lawbreakers. I’m convinced that one reason the Obama administration has dropped the ball on the Hartley murder is that the crime is at odds with the Obama administration myth that the border is secure and safe. In fact, there was — just this week — a major naval battle on the lake between the Mexican navy and drug pirates that resulted in 13 deaths!

I’ll close with a statement by Rep. Poe, who has gone the extra mile to help Tiffany:

It has been nearly eight months since David Hartley was gunned down on Falcon Lake. His wife Tiffany is still left with no answers about the death of her husband. Mrs. Hartley is not alone. Last year 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico, to this day none of those cases have been solved. In many of these cases the Federal Government has abandoned the investigations leaving it up to the Mexican government to solve, no questions asked. It is past time that the American government stays on top of the Mexican government for solving the murders of our own citizens.

Judicial Watch Probes Obama Backdoor Amnesty Plan

In a related matter, Judicial Watch continues its aggressive probe of the Obama administration’s scheme to bypass Congress and enact stealth amnesty by hook or by crook. We recently filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. And here’s what we’re after:

Any and all correspondence (including, but not limited to, email) between USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Director Alejandro Mayorkas and David Shahoulian, from December 3, 2010 through February 3, 2011. Fulfillment of this request should include any emails exchanged between Mayorkis and Shahoulian via their respective personal accounts where such personal email mentions or refers in any way to agency regulations or policy issues of any kind, including the planning or scheduling of meetings to discuss agency regulations or policy issues of any kind.

Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on February 4, 2011. Homeland Security was required by law to respond by March 23, 2011. However, the agency has failed to respond to the request in any manner.

The name Alejandro Mayorkas may sound familiar to you. Remember the USCIS memo that described “administrative alternatives” to going through Congress to implement blanket amnesty for illegal aliens? Well that document was prepared for the agency’s director, Mayorkas. (Perhaps even at his direction?)

Let’s review a few of the smoking gun memo’s key conclusions.


The following items – used alone or in combination – have the potential to result in meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action.…

Allow TPS [Temporary Protected Status] Applicants Who Entered Without Inspection to Adjust or Change Status

…Thus, USCIS should no longer adhere to the 1990 General Counsel opinions, and instead permit individuals in TPS to adjust or change status. Opening this pathway will help thousands of applicants obtain lawful permanent residence without having to leave the U.S.…

Expand the Use of Parole-in-Place

USCIS has the discretionary authority under [federal law] to parole into the U.S. on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit” any applicant for admission…Granting parole to aliens in the U.S. who have not been admitted or paroled is commonly referred to as “parole-in-place” (PIP).

By granting PIP, USCIS can eliminate the need for qualified recipients to return to their home country for consular processing, particularly when doing so might trigger a bar to returning.…

Lessen the Standard for Demonstrating “Extreme Hardship”

…By statute, DHS has discretion to waive these grounds of inadmissibility for spouses, sons and daughters of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents if the refusal to admit these individuals would result in extreme hardship for their qualifying relatives. Generally the “extreme hardship” standard has been narrowly construed by USCIS.

To increase the number of individuals applying for waivers, and improve their chances for receiving them, CIS could issue guidance or regulation specifying a lower evidentiary standard for “extreme hardship.”…

Increase the Use of Deferred Action

…USCIS has previously allowed the use of deferred action to provide relief to non-immigrants whose period of admission had expired, or otherwise had failed to maintain lawful immigrant status.…

While it is theoretically possible to grant deferred action to an unrestricted number of unlawfully present individuals, doing so would likely be controversial, not to mention expensive.…

Rather than making deferred action widely available to hundreds of thousands and as a non-legislative version of “amnesty,” USCIS could tailor the use of this discretionary option for particular groups….

I said when we first published these excerpts in this space that this was among the most brazen and shocking documents I had ever read. There is no way to misinterpret the intent. The Obama administration seems dedicated to forcing amnesty down our throats with or without Congress. And that, perhaps, is where Mr. Shahoulian comes in.

Shahoulian is currently the Democratic Chief Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement and formerly an immigration attorney. He is also a self-professed supporter of open border policy.

Judicial Watch has reason to believe that Shahoulian and Mayorkas may be cooking up some additional schemes to enact stealth amnesty. And that’s why we’re after these documents.

The fact that Homeland Security is withholding these documents is not a shock. As a recent congressional hearing held by Rep. Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concluded, Homeland Security has a history for inappropriately withholding documents for political reasons.

In fact, so egregious is the Homeland Security policy that stonewalls requests by “unfriendly” media outlets, Congressman Issa quipped during the hearing that this policy “reeks of a Nixonian enemies list.”

But we’ve been able to break the Obama stonewall before. And we intend to do so in this case as well.

JW Files FOIA Lawsuit over Obama Justice Department’s Refusal to Defend Federal Marriage Law

In one move in February, Barack Obama and Eric Holder overruled the U.S. Constitution and redefined the institution of marriage. And Judicial Watch wants to know everything about how and why this decision was made.

That’s why we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Justice Department (DOJ) on April 29, 2011. We want access to any DOJ records pertaining to the agency’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. (You may recall DOMA, as it is called, breezed through Congress with a vote of 85–14 in the Senate and a vote of 342–67 in the House. President Clinton signed the act into law by on September 21, 1996. It has been the law of the land now for almost 15 years.)

Now we know what the Obama administration has said publicly about its decision.

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress announcing that the Obama Justice Department would no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman) in two recently-filed cases: Pederson v. Office of Personnel Management and Windsor v. United States.

The Attorney General then took it a step further, announcing the Justice Department would not defend DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in any other pending or future litigation:

The president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The president has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional.

So there you have it. The president “has concluded,” and is now saying publicly, that the U.S. Congress, the American people and the U.S. Constitution are all dead wrong on this issue of gay marriage.

But what went on behind the scenes to lead to this sudden reversal in Justice Department policy?

The Obama administration has defended the constitutionality of DOMA in court and is changing its tune mid-stream. The President did admit during the campaign that while his religion opposes same sex marriage, his views were “evolving.” But what outside special interest groups may have helped nudge the president’s evolving views along?

We know there is evidence that the race-baiting National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) influenced the Justice Department’s decision to abandon the Black Panthers voter intimidation lawsuit. And JW uncovered further evidence the Justice Department colluded with the leftist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on their respective attacks against S.B. 1070, Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law.

So is the homosexual lobby calling the shots on the gay marriage issue? (The Washington Post reported that Valerie Jarrett, also known as the “other half of Obama’s brain,” and the administration’s liaison with the homosexual lobby, was involved in this decision.)

That’s what Judicial Watch intends to find out.

On February 24 and March 1, 2011, Judicial Watch filed FOIA requests with the Office of Information Policy, a component of the Justice Department, as well as a separate FOIA with the DOJ’s Referral Unit seeking internal DOJ communications related to the DOMA decision as well as correspondence between Justice and members of Congress, the White House, and outside entities. Outside entities include liberal special interest group, such as The American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom to Marry, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders,, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Service Employees International Union.

The Office of Information Policy and the Referral Unit both acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests but have failed to respond to these requests within the statutory allotted time frame. In fact, the Justice Department has failed to release any records or indicate when a response is forthcoming, prompting Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.

It appears Barack Obama and Eric Holder have arrogantly decided to ignore the Constitution and abandon their responsibility to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” — again! And adding insult to injury, they refuse to answer to the American people for their behavior. There is now little doubt that liberal special interest groups are pulling the strings at the DOJ and dictating the policies of the nation’s top law enforcement organization.

You should know that the alliance isn’t only about ideology — it is also about campaign cash for Obama’s reelection. Politico ran a story last week entitled, “Gay donors fuel President Obama’s 2012 campaign.” Sure enough, Obama is seeking campaign cash as payment for his abuse of office:

President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is banking on gay donors to make up the cash it’s losing from other groups of wealthy supporters who have been alienated and disappointed by elements of Obama’s first term.

The article goes on to cite the abandonment of DOMA as one of several policy decisions that are spurring increased support from homosexual activists and that the Obama “campaign’s new fundraising apparatus appears designed to capitalize on their enthusiasm.”

You can see why this issue is not only about the rule of law, but naked political corruption. The Justice Department must release these documents and tell the American people exactly why they made the shameful decision to shirk its constitutional obligation to defend DOMA and the interests of the American people.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.

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