Gutierrez: Obama eyes partial launch of anti-deportation program

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By Mike Lillis

A top House Democrat said Wednesday that President Obama is eying a partial launch of his new deportation-relief programs, despite a federal court’s recent decision to block them.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) said the administration is weighing whether it has the authority to initiate the executive actions in the states not involved in a lawsuit against them.

Texas and 25 other states have sued the president over the new programs, which would shield millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. The administration has said it will comply with the ruling, as it awaits the outcome of an appeal.
But roughly a dozen other states have filed briefs in support of the executive programs, and immigration reform advocates are urging Obama to launch the initiatives in the 24 states not suing the White House.

Gutiérrez took that argument a step further, suggesting the Texas ruling is limited only to the Lone Star state and that the programs could launch across the rest of the country. The administration, he said, is considering that option.

“That’s absolutely something the White House is looking at,” Gutiérrez said Wednesday during a press briefing in the Capitol.

“I think it’s a great idea to look at the lawsuit and to say, ‘OK judge, since you think the harm is to Texas, why can’t we proceed in the rest of the states of the union and set that one aside?’ ” the Illinois Democrat added.

“I think that is a very worthy observation, and the White House — I know the advocates are on it — but I’ve got to tell you, President Barack Obama is on it, too. He’s thinking about it, and the White House has been trying to figure out [if it’s an option].”

The comments come less than an hour after the president met at the White House with immigration reform advocates who are urging him to consider the partial implementation in the wake of the federal ruling.

That decision, handed down last week by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville, Texas, put an immediate halt to a pair of executive programs Obama announced shortly after the midterm elections.

The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, known as DAPA, would halt deportations and offer work permits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents. The other would expand Obama’s 2012 program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, to a greater number of immigrants brought to the country illegally as kids.

Texas and the other plaintiffs contend they would suffer exorbitant new costs under the programs, which they deem a case of executive overreach.

Hanen agreed, arguing that the states have a basis to sue because they would face new costs in issuing drivers licenses to immigrants newly eligible for driving privileges under Obama’s new programs.

“Plaintiffs have demonstrated that DAPA will directly injure the proprietary interests of their driver’s license programs and cost the States badly needed funds,” Hanen wrote. “In Texas alone, the state is projected to absorb significant costs. If the majority of the DHS Directive beneficiaries residing in the state apply for driver’s licenses, Texas will bear directly a $174.73 per applicant expense, costing the state millions of dollars.”

Some legal scholars are questioning Hanen’s argument, saying it ignores the new tax revenue and other economic benefits of granting those immigrants a quasi-legal status.

“This court’s idea of a cost-benefit analysis seems to be to consider only the costs,” said Stephen Legomsky, former chief counsel of at the DHS’ Citizenship and Immigration Services branch and now a professor at Washington University School of Law.

Gutiérrez, Congress’s loudest immigration reform advocate who has often clashed with Obama over the administration’s deportation policies, had nothing but praise for the president Wednesday regarding the White House approach to the Texas lawsuit.

“We have a lot of confidence in the president,” he said. “He’s moving forward.”

Gutiérrez and other Democrats have been outwardly confident that Hanen’s ruling will ultimately be overturned and the executive programs will eventually be adopted.

“About the only thing that will change is the date of eligibility,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) said Wednesday.

Gutiérrez pointed out that the decision to block the pair of programs has not affected Obama’s policy of focusing deportations on criminals and other high-priority cases.

“He’s going to follow the ruling of the judge. He’s going to follow the law, but that doesn’t mean they’re picking up Dreamers; that doesn’t mean they’re picking up American citizen children’s parents,” he said. “That’s just not happening anymore.”

Obama Threatens Consequences If Law Enforcement Officers Don’t Enforce Amnesty

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NEIL MUNRO
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama used a TV interview to describe law enforcement officials as soldiers under his direct command, and he threatened to punish law enforcement officials who try to ignore his November policy barring the enforcement immigration law against millions of illegals.

“In the U.S. military, when you get an order, you’re expected to follow it,” said Obama, who is legally the commander in chief of the U.S. military. ”It doesn’t mean that everybody follows the order. If they don’t, they’ve got a problem,” he said during his Wednesday interview that aired on MSNBC and the Telemundo Spanish-language network.

“The bottom line is, is that if somebody is working for [U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] and there is a policy and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences,” Obama said.

Obama’s threat followed complaints from the Spanish-speaking audience members about officers who try to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.

Obama doesn’t want protests from Latinos or enforcement by U.S. officials.
His Nov. 20 Oval Office amnesty includes a policy directive to immigration officers directing them to stop repatriating illegals, unless the illegals have recently crossed the border, or have have been convicted of a major crime. ”For people who’ve been living here for a long time, they are no longer prioritized for enforcement and deportation,” Obama told the audience.

Recent data shows that Obama is successfully reducing the repatriation of illegals who have been living in the United States for some years.

In 2012, his agencies were repatriating roughly 30,000 illegals per month, out a population of roughly 12 million. But that number fell to roughly 20,000 per month in 2014, and down to 11,000 in January 2015, according to a calculation by the Center for Immigration Studies.

At the record low rate of 10,000 repatriations per month, it will take 100 years for Obama’s administration to comply with federal law, assuming the federal government also ends all other incentives — such as workplace authorization rules — that encourage the return home of the 12 million illegal immigrants.

Obama defended his costly directive by saying he’s focusing law enforcement resources on high-priority threats. ”We’re focused on criminals and gang members who are a threat to our community, and we’re focused on the border and making sure the people who’ve just come,” he said.

Immigration officers “are instructed to focus on criminals and people who have just crossed the border,” Obama said. So “if you’ve been here for a long time and if you qualify, generally, then during this period, even with legal uncertainty, they should be in a good place.”

The cost of Obama’s “prioritization” project is likely huge. Each household of low-skill workers — whether native-born of legal immigrants — costs Americans taxpayers roughly $50,000 per year, in various transfer payments, such as IRS rebates, ant-poverty programs, health-care programs and K-12 education costs, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Obama also acknowledged that his “prioritization” argument was pushed only after he decided to stop enforcing immigration law. ”We recognize we’re not going to deport 11 million people. And so why we would want to allocate resources in a wasteful way — that doesn’t make sense,” he said.

But he’s also redirecting federal resources from enforcement to give get-out-of-jail residency cards to illegal immigrants. The cards will allow at least 5 million illegals to compete for jobs, get IRS anti-poverty payments, get Social Security Numbers and also get on a fast-track process to citizenship and full access to federal support programs.

“The head of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, he is absolutely committed to this new prioritization,” Obama said. “More importantly, I, the president of the United States, am absolutely committed to this new prioritization.”

Father Of Black Teenager Murdered By Illegal Alien Asks ‘Do Black Lives Really Matter?’

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CHUCK ROSS
Reporter

The father of a black teenager murdered by an illegal immigrant asked “do black lives really matter?” in a House hearing to review the Department of Homeland Security’s policies towards “non-citizens unlawfully present in the United States.”

That father, Jamiel Shaw, and Michael Ronnebeck, the uncle of another man murdered earlier this month by an illegal immigrant, testified at Wednesday’s hearing in front of a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Both men asserted that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) lax detainment policies contributed to the death of their family members. ICE came under intense scrutiny last year when it was revealed that in 2013 the agency had released over 36,000 convicted criminal aliens from its custody. Of those, nearly 200 had committed murder.

Shaw told of his son, Jamiel Shaw II, who in May 2008 at the age of 17 was gunned down by Pedro Espinoza, a 19-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant.

“My family’s peace and freedom were stolen by an illegal alien from Mexico. He was brought here by his illegal alien parents,” Shaw told the hearing, chaired by Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.
Shaw described that his son, a standout football and track star in Los Angeles, was walking down his own street when he was accosted by Espinoza and a friend.

Shaw said that it was proved in court that Espinoza — who was in a Latino gang — targeted his son because he was black.

“Do black lives really matter? Or does it matter only if you are shot by a white person or a white a policeman?” the elder Shaw asked during his testimony, referencing a phrase that became popular following the police-involved deaths of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Espinoza — who was eventually sentenced to death in the murder — had three gun charges on his record and had served only four months of an eight month sentence for assault with a deadly weapon and battery of a police officer. He was released from jail the day before he murdered Shaw.

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“Why was this violent illegal alien allowed to walk the streets of America instead of being deported?” Shaw asked.

“Why was ICE not called to pick up this violent invader? We were promised that the federal government would keep us safe from violent illegal aliens?”

“I see in here black politicians, black athletes, black stars say ‘hands up, don’t shoot,”” Shaw said referencing another slogan adopted by Brown and Garner protesters. “My son was shot in the head by an illegal alien gangbanger while he lay on his back with his hands up. He still shot him through his hand and into his head and killed him.”

“The duty of the U.S. government is to always put American families first,” Shaw concluded.

The House panel then heard testimony from Ronnebeck.

His nephew, 21-year-old Grant Ronnebeck, was murdered last month while working an overnight shift at a Mesa, Ariz. convenience store.

Apolinar Altamirano, a 29-year-old illegal immigrant who claimed to have ties to the Mexican Mafia, shot Ronnebeck in the face while purchasing a pack of cigarettes.

In Aug. 2012 he was arrested along with two others after kidnapping, sexually assaulting and burglarizing a woman in her apartment.

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He pleaded guilty to felony burglary and was sentenced to two years probation and turned over to ICE.

But ICE released him on bond pending a deportation hearing.

In that time, he had two orders of protection filed against him — one of which was by a women who claimed Altamirano threatened to kill her and pointed a gun at her boyfriend.

ICE was notified of the protection orders, but Altamirano “was still allowed to be free in our country,” Ronnebeck said.

“ICE should be doing its job for the American people with the America people’s safety and security first and foremost in mind,” Ronnebeck said in emotional testimony.

Also testifying Wednesday was Jessica Vaughan, a policy director at the Centers for Immigration Studies, who called ICE’s detainment policies and procedures nothing more than a “catch and release program.”

She also blamed the Obama administration for further weakening the agency’s resolve to detain and deport dangerous illegal immigrants.

“The vast majority of illegal aliens residing in the interior face no threat of deportation, regardless of when or how they arrived, or if they have been deported before,” Vaughan said in a prepared statement. “Many deportable aliens who are encountered and apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are released soon after, even if they have come to ICE’s attention after being arrested by local authorities.”

“This state of affairs can be traced directly to policy changes put in place by the Obama administration. While administration officials claims that these policies are ‘smarter and more effective’ and allow the agencies to better focus on aliens who represent a threat to the public, in reality the intent, and certainly the result, has been the dismantlement of effective enforcement.”

AMNESTY RECIPIENTS COULD RECIEVE $35K IN TAX BENEFITS IN SINGLE YEAR…

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 Illegal immigrants who are able to obtain Social Security Numbers and work permits as a result of President Obama’s executive amnesty could claim tens of thousands of dollars in back tax benefits, a new Congressional Research Service memo obtained first by Breitbart News reveals.

The report comes following the Internal Revenue Service’s confirmation that once illegal immigrants are granted Social Security Numbers — as a result of Obama’s executive actions — they will be able to file back tax returns and obtain up to four years of tax benefits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC).

The new CRS report — dated Wednesday and requested to gauge the tax benefits an amnesty beneficiary could potentially accrue — looks at the amount of EITC and CTC for a hypothetical family from from 2011-2014.

“Specifically, you were interested in the value of these credits for a married couple with three and four children,” the memo details. “In addition, you requested that for every year, the family’s income be equal to the maximum amount of earnings a taxpayer could have and still receive the maximum amount of the EITC. This income level is often referred to as the ‘phase-out threshold amount’ and is adjusted annually for inflation.”

CRS calculated the maximum level of tax credits available to hypothetical families with three and four children. It found that for a family with three children in the four years from 2011-2014 “phase-out threshold amount” would be able to obtain $35,521 in the EITC and CTC.

A family of four in that same four year time frame and circumstance could obtain $35,560.

In those years considered, the “phase-out threshold amount” for both hypothetical families was $21,770 in 2011, $22,300 in 2012, $22,870 in 2013, and $23,260 in 2014.

Both hypothetical families were also able to amass around $9,000 worth of the EITC and CTC annually in the years CRS considered.

The report comes as lawmakers have expressed distress that amnestied illegal immigrants could be potentially rewarded for illegal work and as Congress debates a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that would block Obama’s executive amnesty.

Earlier this month Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) pressed the administration on the tax benefits amnestied illegal immigrants could accrue, calling the expected refunds “amnesty bonuses.”

“This is basic economics: if you want more of something, you subsidize it. By subsidizing illegal entry with four years’ worth of new tax credits, the IRS would promote lawlessness,” Sasse said in a statement at the time. “This program severely undermines the White House’s lip-service to enforcing the law and would increase the burden on law-abiding taxpayers.”

Read the whole thing:

Subject: Amount of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit for a Hypothetical

Family, 2011-2014

This memorandum responds to your request for the amount of the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the child tax credit (CTC) that a hypothetical family could receive in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Specifically, you were interested in the value of these credits for a married couple with three and four children. In addition, you requested that for every year, the family’s income be equal to the maximum amount of earnings a taxpayer could have and still receive the maximum amount of the EITC. This income level is often referred to as the “phase-out threshold amount” and is adjusted annually for inflation. (By definition, once a taxpayer’s income is greater than the phase-out threshold amount, the value of the EITC begins to fall, until it reaches zero).

In order to calculate the value of these credits, several assumptions were made. First, the family was assumed to be eligible for both the EITC and the CTC for every year specified.1 Second, every child was assumed to be a qualifying child for both credits.2 Third, all of the taxpayer’s earnings were eligible for determining the credit.3 Finally, this married couple filed their taxes jointly.

1 For a detailed overview of the eligibility requirements for each credit see CRS Report R43805, The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): An Overview, by Gene Falk and Margot L. Crandall-Hollick and CRS Report R41873, The Child Tax Credit: Current Law and Legislative History, by Margot L. Crandall-Hollick.

2 The definition of qualifying child for the EITC and the child tax credit do differ. For example, an eligible child for the child tax credit must be under 17 years of age, while a qualifying child for the EITC must be under 19 years of age, or under 24 if a full- time student. In addition, taxpayers must provide the social security numbers (SSNs) of children in order to claim the EITC, while they can provide either an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) or SSN for the child to claim the child tax credit. For a more detailed overview of the definition of qualifying children for these credits see CRS Report R43805 and CRS Report R41873.

3 Certain forms of income are not considered earnings for the purpose of the EITC. These include pension and annuity income, income of nonresident aliens not from a U.S. business, income earned while incarcerated for work in a prison, and TANF benefits paid in exchange for participation in work experience or community service activities. In addition, tax filers who claim the foreign earned income exclusion (i.e., they file Form 2555 or Form 2555EZ with their federal income tax return) are ineligible to claim the EITC.

Congressional Research Service 2

The value of the credits is provided in Table 1. Since it is assumed that the family’s income equaled the “phase-out threshold amount,” the family would by definition receive the maximum EITC for a family with three or more children. The maximum amount of the EITC, as well as other inflation adjusted parameters of the credit (and other provisions of the tax code), are published in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revenue procedures.4

The child tax credit is effectively calculated as 15% of earnings above $3,000, not to exceed the maximum amount of the credit.5 (The maximum amount of the child tax credit is the number of qualifying children multiplied by $1,000.) For example, in 2013, the value of the child tax credit would be calculated as 15% of $19,870 ($22,870 minus $3,000), equaling $2,981 as illustrated in Table 1. In 2014, the child tax credit is calculated using the same formula (15% of $20,260 ($23,260 minus $3,000)). Using the formula, the credit would be equal $3,039. However, if the family has three qualifying children, the credit cannot exceed $3,000, and hence this family’s child tax credit would be $3,000. If the family had four qualifying children, in contrast, the child tax credit in 2014 would be $3,039 as illustrated in Table 1.Unlike the EITC, the amount of the child tax credit is not indexed for inflation.

Table 1. Amount of the EITC and Child Tax Credit for a Stylized Taxpayer, 2011-2014

Year

Earned Income

EITC

Child Tax Credit

Total of EITC & Child Tax Credit

3 Children

4 Children

3 Children

4 Children

3 Children

4 Children

2011

$21, 770

$5, 751

$5, 751

$2, 816

$2, 816

$8, 567

$8, 567

2012

$22, 300

$5, 891

$5, 891

$2, 895

$2, 895

$8, 786

$8, 786

2013

$22, 870

$6, 044

$6, 044

$2, 981

$2, 981

$9, 025

$9, 025

2014

$23, 260

$6, 143

$6, 143

$3, 000

$3, 039

$9, 143

$9, 182

Source: CRS calculations based on Internal Revenue Code section 32 and 24 and Internal Revenue Procedures 11-12, 11- 52, 13-5 & 13-35

Notes: Earned income is equal to the maximum earned income a married taxpayer can have and still receive the maximum EITC amount.

Figure 1 provides a graphical representation of the amount of the EITC and child tax credit by earnings for a married couple with three children in 2014. As this figure shows, the EITC gradually increases to its maximum value of $6,143, remains constant at this maximum value, and then begins to fall in value when earnings exceed the phase-out threshold amount of $23,260. In addition, the child tax credit reaches its

4 The maximum EITC amount for 2011 through 2014 can be found in Revenue Procedure 11-2, 11-52,13-5 and 13-35 available at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-11-12.pdf, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-11-52.pdf, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs- drop/rp-13-15.pdf, and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-13-35.pdf.

5 Currently, eligible families that claim the child tax credit can subtract up to $1,000 per qualifying child from their federal income tax liability. If a family’s tax liability is less than the value of their child tax credit, they may be eligible for a refundable credit calculated using the earned income formula, which is 15% of earnings above $3,000. Given the low income of the family in this example, they will calculate the credit using the earned income formula.

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maximum value of $3,000 when earnings equal $23,000. The child tax credit does not begin to fall in value until income is greater than $110,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Hence, when this family’s income is between $23,000 and $23,260 they will receive the maximum combined credit of $9,143.

Figure 1. Amount of the EI TC and Child Tax Credit
for a Married Couple with Three Children in 2014, by Earnings

Source: CRS calculations based on Internal Revenue Code section 32 and 24 and Internal Revenue Procedures 11-12, 11-

OBAMA’S AMNESTY “TOWN HALL” CLOSED TO PUBLIC, WILL FEATURE HANDPICKED ILLEGALS ASKING QUESTIONS

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 11.53.17 AMMSNBC/Telemundo rented Miami town hall for staged propaganda event.

by STEVE WATSON
The President will today take questions from undocumented immigrants and supporters of the Amnesty program in a closed and scripted event that is being ludicrously billed as a public “town hall” meeting.

In reality, the event will serve as a propaganda broadcast to sell the American public on executive action to sweepingly grant legal status up to 5 million illegal immigrants.

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The Miami Herald reports that the event, scheduled to take place at the Miami campus of Florida International University, is not being sponsored by the University, and is in fact closed to the public for all intents and purposes.

Indeed, the facilities are being privately rented out to the real organisations behind the event, MSNBC and Telemundo. Both media organisations are staunch supporters of the amnesty program and have relentlessly pumped out one-sided programming promoting it.

“Though billed as a “town hall,” tickets for the private event were distributed by organizers and not made publicly available.” The Herald notes.

“Telemundo and MSNBC rented the public Graham Center facility at FIU’s main campus for about $39,000, according to a copy of the contract.” the report continues.

So tickets were never publicly available, yet remarkable numbers of illegal immigrants have managed to get their hands on them.

“The president is expected to take questions Wednesday directly from undocumented immigrants at the taping of an event at Florida International University that will later air nationally on Miami-based Telemundo and sister network MSNBC.” The Herald also notes.

“He will also likely address the Homeland Security Department budget, which is pending in Congress amid a political fight over funding Obama’s executive immigration actions. A Friday deadline looms.” the report concludes.

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Obama’s stated intention to use his magic pen for an executive order on immigration was originally slated to cover just illegal immigrants whose children have citizenship or green cards. However, the President has been touring the country telling groups of immigrants, including those in the US illegally, that his immigration-law rewrite means they will be able to stay.

Expect this to be the case today in Florida.

While the number of undocumented workers expected to receive amnesty under the program is thought to be around 5 million, internal government memos and documents have highlighted that up to 20 million could benefit from the action.

Taking to Twitter, Miami Herald reporter A.J. Delgado called out Obama, as well as MSNBC and Telemundo:

7 reasons it’s time to shut down the Department of Homeland Security

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By S.E. Smith on February 24, 2015
Congressional Republicans are once again holding the government hostage against a budget authorization bill, this time threatening to put the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into furlough. Maybe it’s time to call them on their bluff and go one step further: Let’s shut down the DHS. The agency is no longer relevant in an age where cyberterrorism may be the new normal, and it’s doing the United States more harm than good.

As Ashley Parker at the New York Times reports, obstructionist Republicans are so determined to get their way on immigration policy that they’re willing to let the agency’s funding lapse rather than authorize a bill that includes immigration provisions. “Some House Republicans,” she wrote, “have expressed a willingness to let the agency run out of money.”

And maybe we should. Permanently.

1) It was a terrible kneejerk reaction to Sept. 11

In the chaotic days after the horrific terrorist attacks of 2001, President George W. Bush and Congress were both desperate and swift to act. Under heavy demands from the U.S. public, they wanted to demonstrate that they were doing something to protect the security of the nation. The DHS, along with the PATRIOT Act, were the result. Both had a chilling effect on the U.S. public, becoming the building blocks of our 21st century security culture.

Thanks to the DHS, Americans have faced a substantial abridgement of their civil liberties and have come to view law enforcement activity that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago as routine. In the name of security, the DHS has created greater latitude for search and seizure, increased the number of people in prison—particularly people of color, with the number of black men in prison now exceeding the number of slaves kept in the United States in 1850—and attracted substantial criticism.

2) $39.3 billion is a huge waste of federal funds

DHS funding last year amounted to $39.3 billion. Split between divisions like Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agricultural inspection, and the Coast Guard, the funding sucked into the DHS wasn’t used efficiently. As is common with large government agencies, significant problems with both funding use and accountability have been a recurrent issue at the DHS, where large amounts of money are disbursed without notable returns.

In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security was unable to pass even basic auditing because its accounting system was such a mess. In its first five years, the agency oversaw $15 billion in failed contracts, including an assortment of poorly conceived and controlled ideas, ranging from overhauling ships for the Coast Guard to developing better airport screening. Writing about the DHS funding crisis, Anne Applebaum at Slate says:

Since their hurried and heavily politicized creation, the fact is that neither the priorities nor the spending patterns of the Department of Homeland Security and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration, has ever been subject to serious scrutiny. They have never been forced to make hard choices. On the contrary, both have been encouraged, by their congressional funders, to spend money on more elaborate equipment every year in reaction to every perceived new threat, real or otherwise.
3) Its disaster preparedness and response are abysmal

Hurricane Katrina showed us in 2005 that the United States is not prepared to deal with severe disasters, and that was underscored with Superstorm Sandy. We have the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and parent agency DHS to thank for that. One of the agency’s key missions is to improve disaster preparation and response, yet it has been categorically unable to do so.

Issues like these are going to repeat themselves and may, in fact, become more severe with climate change. As yet another polar vortex holds the East Coast and some parts of the South in lockdown, the United States needs to seriously invest in developing a coherent and comprehensive disaster prevention and response system. It’s time to address deferred maintenance on levees, subways, and related systems and to create an effective rapid response plan for natural disasters. FEMA hasn’t done it, and clearly the DHS is not up to the job.

4) Our law enforcement agencies are too militarized

Growing militarization of law enforcement agencies is a significant problem in a country where police departments should be concerned with protecting public safety, not in making war on the public. As seen in Ferguson, Mo., and across the country last year, police departments are now heavily armed with military-grade equipment provided and partially funded by the DHS. Law enforcement culture is changing in the U.S., and not for the better.

Meanwhile, law enforcement under direct DHS supervision, like the Border Patrol and ICE, is also becoming highly militarized. While these agencies are ostensibly in place to help the United States monitor the movement of people across borders to protect the welfare of the nation and prevent illegal immigration, their function also appears to be in a state of rapid revolution. Both are investing heavily in arrests, the use of detention facilities with deplorable conditions, and aggressive policing on the border—a departure from law enforcement and into military-style treatment of civilians.

5) It’s time to end the war on immigrants

The DHS is an active participant in the war on immigrants in the United States—the very same issue that the president and the House are trying to tackle. Undocumented immigrants of all stripes are being treated like base criminals, from housekeepers trying to send money home to their families to hardened criminals with extensive records. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports 315,943 “removals” for 2014, including those of people without criminal records.

Meanwhile, close to 450,000 immigrants are held annually across the United States, with many living in substandard, terrible conditions in crowded facilities while waiting for their day in immigration court. It can take months or even years to get to court, and because undocumented immigrants are not citizens, they are not entitled to the legal rights that would make such gross delays in justice a civil rights violation under the law. ICE and related agencies have created a logistical nightmare for the government and a terrifying reality for immigrants, not to mention a wildly expensive immigration tangle; the U.S. spent a reported two billion dollars on immigration detention in 2014.

6) Surveillance culture in the U.S. gets bigger every year

Prior to 2001, Americans placed a high value on civil rights, including freedom from excessive surveillance. Now, Americans are living in a world of warrantless wiretapping, extensive CCTV usage, drones overhead, and the curtailment of privacy in a variety of settings. The DHS is only partially responsible for these moves—the PATRIOT Act certainly played a role, as did other government agencies and acts of Congress—but it has been a large player in the creation and enforcement of policies that abridge the right to privacy.

Charles Kenney at Bloomberg commented about the consequences of surveillance culture: “Beyond the waste of money and the overregulation, the expansion of the homeland security state has created unnecessary fear among a population that should be able to trust its government to send accurate signals about risk.”

Putting an end to the DHS would create a radical shift in the world of surveillance, raising questions about how and when Americans should be subjected to government monitoring. It could become the first step in dismantling a legal system in which civilians have become the enemy, instead of the terrorists from whom we are ostensibly protecting ourselves.

7) We need to focus on internal problems

The Department’s heavy focus on external threats has come at a high internal cost. Acts of domestic terrorism, like the assassination of Dr. Tiller in 2009, mass shootings in numerous venues, the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, and attacks on religious minorities illustrate that the DHS has failed spectacularly on the issue of protecting Americans from terrorist threats. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, indicates that hate groups in the United States are on the rise and pose a significant risk of terrorism, yet the DHS has taken little to no moves to address them, an ominous and troubling sign.

In a particularly stark example of the failings at the Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service is in a state of crisis. Multiple assassination attempts against President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have shown that the Secret Service, now under DHS purview, is unable to provide adequate protection at the White House, another extremely troubling development. When a government agency supposedly dedicated to extinguishing the threat of terrorism in the United States can barely protect one of the nation’s most valued assets, it’s hard not to wonder where else the agency is failing.

The DHS never should have been established in the first place, as hasty, immediate reactions to crises tend to leave large messes that need to be cleaned up later. The United States is facing that cleanup, and this funding crisis provides a perfect reason to simply close the agency, split its various departments into relevant agencies that can better manage their own affairs, and focus on real and immediate threats to American health, safety, and well-being.