Immigration law enforcement suffered another blow when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the appointment of Andrew Lorenz-Strait as the nation’s first “public advocate” for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
According to ICE Director John Morton, the public advocate position was created by the Obama administration to handle questions and complaints by illegal aliens over the various changes the DHS has made in the past year concerning the way immigration authorities determine which undocumented immigrants are deported.
As such, Morton said Lorenz-Strait “will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community. We want the public to know that they have a representative at this agency whose sole duty is to ensure their voice is heard and their interests are recognized.”
Despite the fact that this “stakeholder community” willingly failed to obey US immigration laws in order to enter the country, the federal agency charged with enforcing immigration laws has now seen fit to give them their own taxpayer-funded lobbyist.
This irony wasn’t lost on Shawn Moran, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), when he asked, “What is next? Will drug dealers band together decrying their prosecutions in one voice?”
Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the move “outrageous” while Republican Representative Steve King said, “The President is making a conscious decision to evade Congress in order to appease his base.”
Nevertheless, Morton said the need for an illegal alien public advocate was necessitated by the “significant number of reforms” that needed to be “evenly understood in the public and advocacy communities.”
Those reforms were spurred on by the failure of the Congress to pass the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in 2011. Undeterred, President Obama circumvented Congress by offering “back-door amnesty” through executive order.
Specifically, in June 2011 ICE announced that immigration officials could use “prosecutorial discretion” in opting not to pursue a deportation case. For example, authorities would not have to deport illegal aliens if they are enrolled school; have family members in the US military; have filed a civil rights lawsuit or if they are pregnant or nursing.
That policy change led ICE Union president Chris Crane to sayat the time, “Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what’s coming. This is just one of many new ICE policies in queue aimed at stopping the enforcement of US immigration laws in the United States.”
Crane’s prediction came true rather quickly when in August 2011 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitanoannounced that ICE would no longer deport illegal aliens who have not been convicted of a crime. As a result, ICE placed on hold over 300,000 pending deportation cases.
Instead, Napolitano said that ICE would focus its resources for deportations on convicted criminals, repeated illegal entrants, those with records of violence, and those who pose a public safety or national security threat.
It should be noted that in 2010, ICE reported that it had caught-and-released 506,232 illegal aliens, apprehended immigrants who were released ahead of their court proceedings and deemed fugitive when they failed to appear in court.
However, the ICE policy has recently come under scrutiny when the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the pending removal of seven illegal aliens, all who appear to fit the ICE criteria of determining whether to put deportation cases on hold. Those criteria include such factors as an immigrant’s American family ties, length of residence, and age on arrival.
Now, the Circuit Court, which had previously upheld all seven deportation orders, told the Obama administration to report by March 19 on whether the government would hold off on deporting them based on the June 2011 ICE criteria.
Meanwhile, this decision stands to set precedence for the estimated 1.6 million deportation cases pending before the courts, many of which might be affected by this ruling.
That has led Representative Lamar Smith to complain that the court ruling was “an overreach of judicial authority…but since the Obama administration has made it clear that it doesn’t prioritize the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, the door is now wide open to judicial activism.”
However, one immigration lawyer has said the decision will likely force the Obama administration to address broader immigration issues, saying, “It’s totally a political mine field. They [the administration] don’t want to be put in this position, but now they are.”
Of course, everything President Obama does is political when it comes to his administration’s immigration policy. With his re-election campaign well underway, Obama is seeking to win big among Latino voters. Having received 67 percent of the Latino vote in 2008, the Obama campaign is predicting that the President will win more than 73 percent of the Latino vote in 2012.
To that end — in addition to his appointment of an illegal alien czar — President Obama has since the beginning of year been busily trying to ensure an increased electoral margin among Latino voters and amnesty advocates.
For example, in January the US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that illegal alien spouses and children would be allowed to stay in the United States while seeking legal residency status, rather than waiting for a green card back home.
In the President’s State of the Union address, Obama made veiled references to resuscitating the DREAM Act, when hesaid, “Hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens… Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.”
The President’s 2013 budget proposal includes a $170 millioncut to the budget of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), a program that helps states cover jail costs for illegal immigrants.
Finally, a recent Inspector General report found that Obama administration officials at USCIS have pressured staff to speed up and approve immigrant visa applications, even when fraud is suspected. Moreover, the report found more than fifty percent of the USCIS’s 254 immigration service officers to believe that USCIS policy is “too heavily weighted toward promotion of immigration rather than national security.”
Unfortunately, that belief is more than shared by state lawmakers who have been dealing with an administration that refuses to enforce immigration laws but rather sues states that do. In fact, it has gotten so bad in Arizona — which has faced multiple armed incursions by paramilitary drug cartels — that Arizona lawmakers are considering funding a volunteer armed state guard to help with border enforcement.
Of course, they may first want to check with ICE’s illegal alien public advocate to see how his “stakeholder community” feels about such a move.
SOURCE: Front Page Magazine
Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the upcoming book, Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks (Tate Publishing). You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, http://www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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