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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

Obama Amnesty is Here

August 27, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Obama Amnesty Is Here

Concerned about the Obama administration’s plan to grant amnesty to illegal aliens? Guess what. It’s already happening.

According to The Houston Chronicle:

The Department of Homeland Security is systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records, according to several sources familiar with the efforts.

Culling the immigration court system dockets of noncriminals started in earnest in Houston about a month ago and has stunned local immigration attorneys, who have reported coming to court anticipating clients’ deportations only to learn that the government was dismissing their cases.

In some instances, the article notes, illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes will be allowed to stay in the country as long as these crimes do not involve a DWI, family violence or sexual assault. But other than those specific circumstances, right now it appears the other deportation candidates are in the clear. (Most of these folks are in the system because they were arrested for committing crimes, so to release those who have only been “convicted” means that illegal alien violent criminals are being set free.)

The court “was terminating all of the cases that came up,” said one immigration attorney who was notified that the government requested dismissals in three of his deportation cases. “It was absolutely fantastic.”

According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo, this new policy could impact up to 17,000 cases.

And what is the justification for this lawlessness? The Obama administration is pretending it does not have enough money to do its job of deporting all aliens living in the United States illegally.

So there you have it folks. The Obama administration has decided that neither the will of the American people nor the rule of law matter at all. Obama is implementing illegal alien amnesty by hook and by crook.

But are we really all that surprised?

Remember, it was just a few weeks ago that an Obama administration memo surfaced outlining a comprehensive strategy to grant amnesty without approval by Congress. The two-faced Obama administration vehemently downplayed the significance of the memo. (Administration officials called it “brainstorming.”) But all the while the administration continued to push forward with its backdoor amnesty plan.

Following the memo’s disclosure, on August 23 Judicial Watch joined a number of other conservative organizations and sent a letter to the president expressing our extreme dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s unlawful strategy as outlined in the memo:

“There have been reports that your administration is considering usage of its administrative authority to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens. We strongly urge that you refrain from pursuing that tactic. We believe that such an abuse of power would further polarize the immigration issue, which already is so controversial that reasonable discussion is confounded.”

The letter (and a related press conference that included Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell) earned widespread press coverage: “A group of conservative activists slammed the Obama administration Monday for allegedly planning to use its administrative authority to undercut immigration restrictions in the wake of congressional inaction on a comprehensive reform bill,” CNN’s Paul Courson wrote. “In a letter sent to the White House, leaders of 17 conservative grass-roots organizations cited reports that the administration is considering using its executive power ‘to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens.’”

But nonetheless, President Obama has failed to alter his administration’s reprehensible and unlawful behavior one single bit. And it is causing a revolt in the Imigration and Customs Enforcement bureuacracy. Even the liberals at The Washington Post have noticed that ICE’s front-line immigration enforcement personnel are opposing the non-enforcement program being implemented by Obama political appointees. In a rare action, a major ICE union announced a unaminous vote of “no confidence” in the Obama leadership team at ICE. The detail of the union’s complaint is devastating and documents a crisis of law enforcement at ICE. The union notes, for instance, that:

Criminal aliens incarcerated in local jails seek out ICE officers and volunteer for deportation to avoid prosecution, conviction and serving prison sentences. Criminal aliens openly brag to ICE officers that they are taking advantage of the broken immigration system and will be back in the United States within days to commit crimes, while United States citizens arrested for the same offenses serve prison sentences. State and local law enforcement, prosecutors and jails are equally overwhelmed by the criminal alien problem and lack the resources to prosecute and house these prisoners, resulting in the release of criminal aliens back into local communities before making contact with ICE. Thousands of other criminal aliens are released to ICE without being tried for their criminal charges. ICE senior leadership is aware that the system is broken, yet refuses to alert Congress to the severity of the situation and request additional resources to provide better enforcement and support of local agencies.

What an ugly mess caused by the Obama administration’s radical hositility to the rule of law! And U.S. citizens and legal alien residents suffer as a result.

Judicial Watch’s investigations team is on top of this burgeoning scandal, trying to uncover the details behind this de facto amnesty. More to come…

Judicial Watch Counters Obama Legal Assault on SB 1070 in New Court Brief

While the Obama White House continues with its stealth illegal alien amnesty strategy, the administration’s legal assault against SB 1070, Arizona’s tough new illegal immigration law, continues. Just this week, Judicial Watch filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on behalf of our client Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, the author of the SB 1070. (You’ll recall Judicial Watch filed a motion to intervene on behalf of State Senator Pearce in the Obama administration’s lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law altogether.)

On July 28, 2010, just hours before the law was to take effect, a federal court judge put a hold on several of the legislation’s key provisions to determine if they are constitutionally sound. The court filing asks the appellate court to reverse the partial preliminary injunction granted by the lower court and to allow all of the provisions of the law to be enforced immediately.

Here’s how we summarize Senator Pearce’s argument in our brief: “Even though the Arizona Legislature has done nothing more than enact a series of law enforcement provisions under its well-recognized police powers to protect its citizens from serious public safety concerns, the district court has denied Arizona law enforcement officials the opportunity to reasonably interpret and apply the provisions in a constitutionally valid manner.”

In other words, SB 1070 is completely consistent with federal law.

With respect to the four specific provisions the court prevented from taking effect, here’s a summary of how we addressed each of them. (You can read the brief in its entirety here):

  • Section 2(B) [reasonable attempt to determine a person’s immigration status] imposes no “new” burden on lawfully present aliens because Arizona law enforcement officials have the discretion to inquire about a person’s immigration status regardless of Section 2(B). Section 2(B) also does not place any undue burden on federal resources because Congress has mandated that the federal government respond to requests from state and local law enforcement officers about persons’ immigration status.
  • Section 3 [willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document] does not regulate the conditions under which a lawfully present alien may remain in the country. Instead, Section 3 utilizes ordinary state police powers to create criminal penalties for the failure to comply with a federal registration scheme.
  • Invoking Arizona’s broad authority to regulate employment under its police powers, Section 5 [unlawful employment of illegal aliens] seeks to strengthen Arizona’s economy by protecting the state’s fiscal interests and lawfully resident labor force from the harmful effects resulting from the employment of unlawfully present aliens.
  • Section 6 [warrantless arrest] does not grant Arizona law enforcement officers the authority to determine whether an individual has committed a public offense that makes him removable. Section 6 only authorizes Arizona law enforcement officers to make a warrantless arrest of an individual who has already been determined to have committed a public offense that makes him removable.

We conclude by asking the appellate court to lift the preliminary injunction and to allow all of the provisions of SB 1070 to be enforced immediately. State Senator Pearce specifically crafted SB 1070 to be entirely consistent with federal law. The district court jumped the gun by invalidating components of the law on a purely speculative basis. It is shameful that the Obama administration has chosen to mount a legal assault against the State of Arizona for simply trying to protect its citizens. It is little wonder that the situation at the border continues to deteriorate given the Obama administration’s unwillingness to secure the border and enforce the law. We hope the appellate court respects the rule of law and allows SB 1070 to be put into full force.

State Senator Pierce agrees, saying:

This ought to be a no-brainer for the courts. I hope the appeals court allows our state to enforce the rule of law because the Obama administration doesn’t seem to care one whit for the safety of the citizens of Arizona. SB 1070 simply reflects federal immigration law. This Obama team doesn’t want immigration laws enforced — but that doesn’t mean that Arizona can’t take common sense steps to protect its own citizens.

According to the Phoenix Journal, 22 states are currently considering legislation modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. So this battle, which began in Arizona, has gone national. And you can be sure that Judicial Watch will be right in the middle of it fighting on the side of the rule of law.

Countrywide CEO Personally Approved Fraudulent VIP Mortgage Loans

Remember that controversial Countrywide VIP lending program where certain influential individuals were given preferential loan terms? It was known as “Friends of Angelo.” So I guess we should not be too surprised that federal officials now say the program’s namesake, company CEO Angelo Mozilo, personally approved some of the loans.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Countrywide Financial Corp.’s ex-chief executive Angelo Mozilo approved loans for favored borrowers that contradicted the company’s lending policies.

The SEC’s statements came in federal-court filings filed last week in its pending civil fraud case against Mr. Mozilo and two other former top Countrywide officials. It appears to be the first time in the year-old case that the SEC has addressed Mr. Mozilo’s role in the controversial VIP lending program, where borrowers sometimes received better loan terms and service than were generally available. Some of the borrowers included public officials.

Indeed, a number of politicians did improperly take advantage of the program, including soon-to-be-retired Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). The accusations were particularly damaging for Dodd, who chaired the Banking Committee, which is responsible for regulating the mortgage lending industry, including companies such as Countrywide.

You may recall that the two Senators denied any knowledge of preferential treatment. But Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide’s VIP program, contradicted the repeated denials by Dodd and Conrad regarding their knowledge of the program during testimony before Congress. When asked directly whether the two Senators were aware they were receiving special VIP treatment, Feinberg simply said, “Yes.”

Nonetheless, the Senate Ethics Committee did what it does best. It whitewashed the scandal and let the two Senators off the hook. (The WSJ editorial board notes that Dodd received as many as six loans from Countrywide.)

According to The Associated Press, Dodd and Conrad are apparently not the only “Friends of Angelo” in Congress: One member of Congress recently said that “more senators and congressional staff members than previously known received favorable mortgages from Countrywide based on their perceived ability to help the company.”

So now maybe we have a better sense of why Dodd and Conrad’s colleagues were not eager to hold them accountable?

But wait, it gets better. The AP’s article continues:

Documents provided to another congressional panel under a subpoena show that Countrywide gave preferential mortgages to more than three dozen employees of Fannie Mae while the two big companies were locked in an expanding, multibillion-dollar business relationship in subprime mortgages.

And so it appears Fannie and Freddie, Countrywide and their friends on the Hill were all in cahoots over this program to secure sweetheart mortgage deals. (Countrywide, as a major purveyor of subprime mortgage loans, depended upon Fannie and Freddie to buy and create a market for its loans.)

By the way, on the subject of influence peddling, Judicial Watch continues to pursue its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama administration regarding documents related to campaign contributions made by Fannie and Freddie over the last several election cycles. The president has advanced the shocking argument that government-run Fannie and Freddie are not FOIA-able, a ridiculous assertion we are countering in our groundbreaking federal lawsuit.

These latest revelations provide further evidence that the nearly $150 billion (and counting) implosion of Fannie and Freddie is perhaps the biggest corruption scandal in American history.

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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