The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) report on the Obama administration and their agencies to encourage and rubber stamp amnesty to illegal aliens, as Obama plans to provide paths to citizenship or worker programs outside the legislative process, to be implemented after the November 4th elections.

  • White House Downplays Order for Millions of ID CardsUSA-GREEN-CARD Green Card USCIS Redesigned Green Card PRC Back Front CUT 1
  • New Documents Confirm Homeland Security Gave Congress False Information about Released Illegal Aliens
  • ICE Touts its Detention Schools as Public Schools Feel Strain
  • Defense Dept Halts Program that Allows Illegal Aliens to Enter Military
  • Opposition Grows in Oregon to Giving Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens

White House Downplays Order for Millions of ID Cards

The White House last week attempted to downplay a solicitation by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for 34 million immigration identification cards over the next five years, calling any attempt to link the cards to the President’s anticipated executive amnesty “crazy.” (Breitbart News, Oct. 22, 2014)

The White House’s defensive comments stem from the discovery by Breitbart News of a new USCIS posting seeking contractors who could make millions of Permanent Resident Cards (PRCs) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). (USCIS solicitation, Oct. 6, 2014 at p. 5; see also Breitbart News, Oct. 19, 2014; Fox News, Oct. 21, 2014; Associated Press, Oct. 22, 2014) Specifically, USCIS requested a minimum of 4 million cards each year for 2015 through 2020. In addition to those 20 million cards, the solicitation also mandated that the contractor have the capability to produce 14 million cards as part of “surge” orders over the next five years. The “surge” amounts vary for year to year, starting with 5 million in 2016. (USCIS solicitation at pp. 2-4)

When peppered with questions about the solicitation at Wednesday’s White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tried to downplay the significance of USCIS ordering millions of additional ID cards. “There are decisions that are made by lots of agencies including the ordering of specific colored sheets of paper,” said Earnest. “Those sorts of decisions are not micro-managed by the White House.” (Federal News Service transcript, Oct. 22, 2014; Breitbart News, Oct. 22, 2014) However, far from being mere colored paper, USCIS’ solicitation requests “100% polycarbonate solid body card stock” that is laser engraveable and has Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, embedded holographic images and barcodes. (RPF Attachment 1 at pp. 1-5) Furthermore, USCIS requires these cards to be “highly secure, tamper-resistant and difficult to counterfeit.” (Id. at p. 1)

The next day, USCIS also tried to minimize the uniqueness of the solicitation. USCIS spokesman Chris Bently said, “Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice for all USCIS contracts and allow the agency to be prepared for fluctuations in the number of immigration applications received, which can arise for any number of reasons.” (The Hill, Oct. 23, 2014) However, USCIS’ solicitation listed only one rationale for the “surge” of 9 million additional card stock needed in 2016 and 2017: “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.” (USCIS solicitation at attachment 1, p. 2)

Members of Congress expressed deep concern about USCIS solicitation. House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Kevin Smith said, “The Speaker has made perfectly clear to the president that it is unacceptable for him to unilaterally re-write immigration law on his own, and the Speaker will never support this type of action.” (Breitbart News, Oct. 20, 2014) True immigration reformer Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “This revelation provides startling confirmation of the crisis facing our Republic. The President is preparing to issue work authorization and ‘legal’ status to millions of individuals illegally present in the country, in violation of plain statute.” (Breitbart News, Oct. 20, 2014) House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said, “It is alarming that the Obama Administration seems to be silently forging ahead with its plan to unilaterally grant millions of unlawful immigrants legal status and work authorization.” (Breitbart News, Oct. 20, 2014) True immigration reformer Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) said, “The administration already has exceeded its authority to manipulate our immigration laws, and it is jarring to see the sheer scale of his future plans to do more.” (Barletta Press Release, Oct. 23, 2014)

New Documents Confirm Homeland Security Gave Congress False Information about Released Illegal Aliens

Newly-obtained government documents directly contradict claims by the Obama Administration that the illegal aliens released from federal custody last year under the guise of sequestration had, at most, only minor criminal records. Instead, the Homeland Security documents — obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request initiated by USA Today — show that one-third of the 2,200 released illegal aliens had serious criminal charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and homicide. (USA Today, Oct. 22, 2014)

When the news broke last year that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had released criminal aliens under the pretext of budget cuts, DHS officials went out of their way to minimize its significance. For weeks department spokesmen insisted that “only” a few hundred were released despite the Associated Press citing official Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) documents that the agency released 2,000 illegal aliens before the sequester even took effect. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 4, 2013; FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 11, 2013) ICE officials also insisted that all of those released were “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.” (See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 4, 2013) In fact, it took then-ICE Director John Morton being hauled before Congress before he finally admitted the Administration released 2,228 illegal alien detainees under the guise of budget cuts and 629 had criminal records, including 10 Level 1 offenders (aggravated felonies). (See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 18, 2014)

Now, the new documents reveal that even Director Morton’s testimony (under oath) was not accurate. First, the documents show that Director Morton underreported the number of released aliens with criminal records. According to the ICE documents, one-third (or 735) of the released aliens had criminal records while Morton said the number was 629. (USA Today, Oct. 22, 2014; FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 18, 2014) Additionally, during a Congressional hearing when Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) asked, “No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?” Morton responded, “They were not.” (See USA Today, Oct. 22, 2014) However, the ICE documents show that at least one illegal alien in Texas was charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, one in Denver had a sexual assault charge, and others had charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit homicide. (Id.)

Confronted with this evidence last week, DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen attempted to deflect blame from the agency. She said, “discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency’s control.” (Id.) It appears that Christensen is justifying the releases based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis, in which the Court held that an alien who had completed his sentence but whose country of origin refused repatriation could not be detained indefinitely. (See Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001)) However, it is impossible to verify this claim because ICE refuses to identify the released criminal aliens, citing the privacy concerns of the illegal aliens. (See USA Today, Oct. 22, 2014)

Curiously, this is the first time the constraints of the Zadvydas case have been cited by ICE to explain the decision to release criminal aliens back onto the streets. Last year, Director Morton accepted full responsibility for the release of illegal aliens when testifying before Congress. “I made the ultimate decision about who to release and how to release them,” he said. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 18, 2013) And instead of pointing to the Zadvydas decision, Morton claimed it was budget cuts that forced his hand: “[I]t was me that made the decision… It was based on information I received from our [chief financial officer].” (Id.)

Members of Congress blasted the Obama Administration for misleading them on the release of criminal aliens. True immigration reformer Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) said, “There can be no rational excuse for the complete disregard for public safety displayed by the release of these violent offenders, who were already in custody and already had violated our immigration laws.” (Barletta Press Release, Oct. 24, 2014) “To release dangerous criminals, and then deny having done so, either indicates incomprehensible incompetence or willful dishonesty,” he continued. (Id.) Representative Diane Black (R-TN) charged, “The continued incompetence of this Administration is stunning.” (Black Press Release, Oct. 23, 2014) Additionally, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is the ranking member of the Judiciary immigration subcommittee, demanded that the Senate “waste no time” in holding a hearing on the documents. (The Hill, Oct. 24, 2014)

ICE Touts its Detention Schools as Public Schools Feel Strain

This fall, as public schools struggle with the burden of educating the unaccompanied illegal alien minors released across the country because of the border surge, tax payers will also be paying for the education of hundreds of illegal alien minors housed in family detention centers in Artesia, New Mexico and Karnes City, Texas. (ICE Press Release, Oct. 10, 2014; CBS Houston, Sept. 16, 2014) Combined, these two family detention centers in Karnes and Artesia have over 1200 detention beds for alien parents and children. (Houston Chronicle, July 26, 2014) Over the summer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hastily repurposed both centers for the detention of families with children, after finding the one existing family detention center with 90 beds insufficient to deal with the surge of tens of thousands of single parents with children apprehended at the border. (Id.; LA Times, Aug. 21, 2014; FAIR Legislative Update, June 25, 2014)

Classes for the minors started in Karnes in September and in Artesia in October. (ICE Press Release, Oct. 10, 2014; CBS Houston, Sept. 16, 2014) ICE boasts that the Karnes detention center is a 29 acre complex with cable television, exercise equipment, a volleyball court, soccer field, basketball court, playroom, computer lab, and cafeteria. (ICE Fact Sheet, Aug. 1, 2014) It provides illegal alien students instruction for eight hours a day, and the curriculum from pre-K to 12th grade is the same as bilingual schools across the state. (CBS Houston, Sept. 16, 2014) The Artesia detention center provides illegal alien minors with instruction 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in accordance with the general educational services established by the New Mexican state education department. (ICE Press Release, Oct. 10, 2014)

While ICE is providing illegal alien minors in detention with special educational services, many more illegal alien minors are now enrolled in public schools across the country. As of the end of September the Office of Refugee Resettlement had released over 45,000 unaccompanied alien minors (UACs) to sponsors in every state. (, accessed Oct. 24, 2014) The states receiving the largest numbers of unanticipated new enrollees are California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. (Id.)

Louisiana provides a good example of the impact UACs have had on local schools. There, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and Republican Senator David Vitter have voiced serious concern about the strain that the UACs, who represent 13% of Louisiana’s foreign-born minors, have put on state and local resources. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 19, 2014; Vitter Press Release, Sept. 10, 2014; Breitbart News, Aug. 27, 2014) At first, the Superintendent of the Louisiana Department of Education, John White, estimated that the cost of educating UACs during the 2014-2015 school year would be $4.6 million, but by the end of September, Senator Vitter projected the cost would rise to $7 million based on the known numbers of UACS in Louisiana rising from 1,275 to 1,652. (White Letter to Vitter, Sept. 12, 2014; Associated Press, Sept. 15, 2014; Vitter Press Release, Sept. 30, 2014)

The impact on several school systems in Louisiana is severe. For example, to educate the new UACs, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System would need to hire 7 new teachers, 7 new English as a Second Language (ESL) facilitators, 7 parent/student advocates, and 1 Practitioner License teacher. The Jefferson Parish School System would need to hire 27 new ESL teachers, 20 new ESL para-educators, 19 regular teachers, and 3 Special Education teachers. And already, the Lafayette Parish School System has hired 1 new ESL teacher, and is planning on hiring an additional 7 ESL teachers and 7 additional bilingual assistants; and the St. Tammany Parish School System has hired 1 ESL teacher and 8.5 ESL aides. (Vitter Press Release, Sept. 30, 2014)

One parish that has been particularly affected but had not yet provided data is New Orleans Parish. New Orleans faces a particularly difficult challenge in meeting with the needs of the UACS because New Orleans is not zoned, and thus families may choose where to enroll. (The Times-Picayune, Aug. 22, 2014) Often this means that the families of alien minors gravitate to certain schools where they know services exist, and the burdens of limited English proficient students are unevenly spread out. (Id.) Some schools currently have few Spanish speaking staff, but nonetheless must quickly provide language services, despite the burdens caused to the rest of the student population. (Id.) One principal even reassigned a Spanish speaking math teacher to the ESL program. (Id.)

Defense Dept Halts Program that Allows Illegal Aliens to Enter Military

Army officials confirmed last Thursday that the Department of Defense (DOD) has suspended the program through which illegal aliens can enlist in the military. (Politico, Oct. 23, 2014)

The program, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), was originally a limited program launched by the Bush Administration that allowed certain nonimmigrants (temporary aliens) to enlist in the U.S. military if they had specified language or health care skills. (See MAVNI Fact Sheet, May 2012) However, last month the Obama Administration — through the issuance of a memo — opened enrollment in the program to illegal alien beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Sept. 30, 2014)

However, according Margaret Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who developed MAVNI, including DACA recipients in MAVNI created numerous complications. (Politico, Oct. 23, 2014) For example, the DOD bars recruits with illegal alien family members, which essentially includes all DACA beneficiaries. Also, to enlist through MAVNI, applicants must present an I-94 card, which is a document that records an individual’s arrival and departure information at a port of entry. However, DACA recipients, who entered the U.S. illegally, do not have such a card. (Id.) Finally, Stock said DACA recipients would not be able to pass the high-level security check the DOD instituted for the program in 2012. (Id.)

The DOD has suspended MAVNI until it can establish screening procedures for enlisting aliens and has not accepted any applications since early October. “It’s a major bureaucratic screw-up by the Obama administration,” said Stock. (Id.) “The MAVNI program is not designed for DACA at all. It was rather alarming to see DACAs being put into MAVNI. Someone didn’t know what they were doing.” (Id.)

Opposition Grows in Oregon to Giving Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens

New polling data shows that nearly two-thirds of Oregon voters oppose Ballot Measure 88, which would grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. (Breitbart, Oct. 21, 2014) The Measure was added to the November 2014 ballot after activists in the state worked tirelessly to gather over 71,000 signatures in just a few months to challenge legislation passed last year granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and succeeded when Oregon’s Secretary of State determined over 58,000 met standards established under Oregon law. (FAIR Legislative Update, Mar. 5, 2014)

The poll, conducted October 8-October 11 by Oregon Public Broadcasting, found that 61% of likely voters oppose granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. (Breitbart, Oct. 21, 2014) A total of 53% of likely voters responded they were “certain” to oppose the Measure and only 8% of likely voters said they opposed Measure 88 but may change their mind. (Id.) Only 26% of likely voters said they supported granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, with 5% indicating that they change their mind. (Id.) These results reflect a similar poll conducted in August which reported an overwhelming 67% of likely voters opposed Measure 88, with only 27% responding in favor. (NW Market Research Poll) Both polls noted a margin of error of less than 5 percentage points. (Id.)

Sheriffs representing all 36 counties in Oregon also oppose Measure 88. (Oregon Live, Sept. 22, 2014) Sheriffs of Oregon Political Action Committee, which represents Oregon sheriffs, issued a press release stating: “The Sheriffs of Oregon support the citizens veto referendum #301 to overturn SB 833. We urge a NO vote.” (Id.) Tom Bergin, current Clatsop County Sheriff and former President of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, commented, “It is wrong to provide special driver’s licenses to people who cannot prove legal presence in the United States. For Oregon to do so, will only enhance the ability for criminal behavior, thus creating a larger risk to our citizens public safety. The Sheriffs of Oregon urge you to oppose this Measure.” (Id.)

In particular, opponents of Measure 88 overwhelmingly reject arguments made by the illegal alien lobby that granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens will improve highway safety and insurance rates. Dave Driscall, a retired Salem Police officer, described Measure 88 as “just a way for a select group of people to avoid Oregon law. It will not increase traffic safety or lower the number of uninsured drivers in this state. If allowed to stand Oregon could become a safe haven for criminals and terrorists.” (Id.) Similarly, Tim Mueller, former Sheriff of Linn County, said, “Giving a person a driver’s license who is in this country illegally is flat out irresponsible and does nothing to protect the citizens of this state.” (Id.) Derek Hernandez, vice president of the Western Region National Border Patrol Council, the labor union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents, urged voters to decide against the Measure. (Bulletin, Sept. 21, 2014) “You must oppose SB 833 in its entirety as this is a gateway to illegal citizenship and the benefits that one can receive from US citizenship.” (Id.)

Opposition against the Measure has been entirely a grassroots effort. (Breitbart, Oct. 21, 2014) To date, the illegal alien lobby has raised over $421,000 to support their push for driver’s licenses, while groups opposing the Measure have raised only $37,000. (Id.) Opponents to the Measure speculate that businesses benefiting from cheap illegal labor have been a significant source of funding supporting the movement to secure driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. (Willamette Week, Oct. 17, 2014)

Measure 88 will be decided by voters on November 4th. (Measure 88) If Measure 88 is approved, Oregon will become the 12th state to grant driver’s licenses to those who cannot prove lawful presence in the United States.