OBAMA JUST PICKED A FIGHT WITH BORDER AGENTS

Capture

Legal argument over the basic constitutionality of the president’s actions

Updated by Dara Lind on January 29, 2015, 1:30 p.m. ET @DLind dara@vox.com

The Obama administration’s starting to implement its executive actions on immigration from November 2014 — and their early guidelines just set up a fight with enforcement agents who are already ticked off at the White House.
Applications for the new “deferred action” program aren’t expected to open up until spring. But federal immigration agents are already being told to consider whether immigrants in their custody might qualify for the new program — and not to deport them if they might.

The new guidance that Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are receiving was reported by Breitbart Texas a few weeks ago, after receiving leaked documents from a Customs and Border Protection agent. (The Associated Press reported on a similar set of guidelines on Wednesday.) The leaks make it clear that the agents themselves are extremely unhappy that they’re being told not to deport immigrants who they know are unauthorized — and in fact, if anything, are being told to help them. Immigration agents have long distrusted the Obama administration’s commitment to enforcing immigration law aggressively. That relationship is about to get a whole lot rockier.

The fact that the White House is already in a fight with agents before anyone has even gotten the chance to apply for the new program is a big deal for both the political fight over the executive actions, and the policy battle over their implementation. The resistance of federal immigration agents was one big reason that the Obama administration’s first attempt to protect some unauthorized immigrants, in 2010 and 2011, didn’t work — and will make it much harder for the government to roll out the new program. On the political front, agents — and in particular their unions — have become an unlikely ally of the congressional Republicans leading the political attacks against the administration’s program. As a theoretical legal argument over the basic constitutionality of the president’s actions grows into an argument about how they’re being implemented, agents are going to play a key role.

W

    hat the new guidance does

The new guidance was issued to officers in both Customs and Border Protection (which deals with enforcement at the border) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which deals with enforcement at the interior), though the detailed presentation Breitbart posts online is the version shown to officers of CBP. It lays out a very careful set of instructions for agents to follow if they think that someone they’ve apprehended might qualify for deferred action under either the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA, which was introduced in 2012 but is being expanded in February) or the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program (DAPA, which was created by the November 2014 memos) — or even if they don’t qualify for deferred action, but aren’t an “enforcement priority” either. The process includes taking the immigrant to a facility that processes biometric information, running a record check, and attempting to use whatever evidence is available to figure out whether or not the immigrant would qualify for one of the programs.

Capture

Capture

From a certain public-safety perspective, this makes perfect sense. After all, one of the problems with unauthorized immigration (as both supporters and opponents of immigration reform point out) is that the government doesn’t “know who’s in the country.” Focusing on getting immigrants registered, and then figuring out what they qualify for, reduces the number of people who are still in the shadows.

But it also highlights the corner the Obama administration is painting itself into with the notion of “prosecutorial discretion.” It’s defending deferred action in court by saying that immigrants won’t be protected from deportation simply by meeting the broad standards they laid out in November 2014 memos; but it’s telling immigration agents, who are the actual prosecutors in immigration cases, that they don’t have the power to decide who should be protected and who shouldn’t. In the eyes of agents, the administration is promising them that they get to make decisions based on the facts in any individual case — and then taking that promise away.

    The longstanding tension between immigration agents and the administration

Some ICE and CBP agents are already angry about this, and they’re only going to get angrier. One source described the policy to Breitbart as “catch and release 2.0.” “Catch and release” was originally used for a border policy that released some immigrants back into Mexico rather than formally deporting or imprisoning them, but has been used more generally to refer to policies where immigration agents don’t deport everyone they apprehend.

Capture

This is something that agents have been complaining about for years. Immigration agents suffer from some of the lowest morale in the federal government, and union reps generally tie this to a feeling that they’re not being allowed to do their jobs by deporting unauthorized immigrants. This feeling long predates the president’s 2014 executive actions — in fact, it predates any actual policy limiting deportations. The National ICE Council, the union representing ICE agents, issued a vote of no confidence in then-director John Morton in summer 2010 — before any memos had been released attempting to limit deportations.

The irony here is that the new policy is in line with what ICE agents have long claimed they’re under orders to do — and management’s long denied. Chris Crane, head of the National ICE Council, testified under oath in 2011 that his agents were being given secret, unwritten instructions not to arrest unauthorized immigrants except in very limited circumstances. When pressed by Democrats in Congress, Crane said he couldn’t offer any documentation to support his claims, and that no other agents would be willing to corroborate them out of fear — so his claims of a super-secret unwritten policy started seeming a lot like the West Wing’s “secret plan to fight inflation,” and were generally ignored by Democrats and the press. (So while the new guidance is being described as “catch and release 2.0,” it’s not clear whether the agents believe catch and release 1.0 ever went away.)

But for all that agents complain, ICE field offices have demonstrated — especially during Obama’s first term — that they didn’t have much of a problem deporting immigrants who were supposed to be “low priorities” anyway. This was actually the entire reason the initial deferred-action program was developed in 2012 to begin with. There were already memos asking ICE agents not to deport unauthorized immigrant students who’d been in the US for years. And on the basis of those memos, President Obama and senior officials said confidently that they weren’t “rounding up students.” But those memos weren’t actually sufficient to keep students from getting deported. So the administration had to develop a way for immigrants to apply themselves, proactively, for protection from deportation — rather than relying on ICE and CBP agents to follow guidance.

Capture
There is a big difference between this round of policy changes and previous rounds in 2011 and 2012, though: this time, there’s an actual line of accountability for agents. As one of the November 2014 memos indicated, when ICE wants to deport someone who isn’t supposed to be a “deportation priority,” it’s expected that the head of the field office will sign off on it. That holds agents accountable to their supervisors — and it holds field-office directors accountable to higher-ups in Washington, if an attempt to deport a parent of US citizens turns into a publicity headache for the administration.

So while immigration agents have been claiming for years that they don’t have any power to deport anyone without a criminal record, it looks like that’s going to be truer now than it’s ever been. The unions representing ICE, CBP, and even US Citizenship and Immigration Services agents (who are responsible for processing applications, including those for the deferred-action programs) have never exactly been quiet about how they’d prefer immigration policy to work. Expect them to get even more outspoken — and to have their concerns lifted up even more by Republican critics of the administration.

Border Surge Likely Again In 2015, Data Shows

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.28.29 PM

NEIL MUNRO
White House Correspondent

The flow of Central American migrant families across the Texas border is continuing at almost the same level as a year ago, according to newly released federal data.

In the last three months of 2014, 7,468 Central American migrants crossed in family units, down only 12 percent from the 8,511 migrants who crossed during the last three months of 2013, according to the federal data.

The late 2013 flow was the vanguard of roughly 60,000 adults and children who crossed in so-called “family units” during the 12 months up to October 2014. That “family unit” inflow occurred alongside the much-publicized inflow of 60,000 children and youths.

Since last summer, White House officials have made deals with Mexico and other Central Americans countries that are intended to block the northern flow of migrants. The continued flow across the border suggests those deals have not succeeded.

The continued inflow is also a warning sign for Republican leaders, who are rapidly pushing a new border security bill that only adds 48 miles of fending to the 2,000-mile border but doesn’t do anything to end President Barack Barack Obama’s catch-and-release policy toward Central American migrants, say critics.

The bill also calls for improved technological surveillance of the border and a better visa tracking system, and for more active duty officers and agents on the border.

The leaders’ bill is slated for a quick markup as early as Monday Jan. 26, and a floor vote on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The continued inflow of family migrants suggests there will be another border surge starting as early as March, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors low-scale immigration.

But the Central American governments want their poor citizens to migrate to the United States, the Mexican police are too corrupt to stop the cartel-managed surge, and Obama will likely repeat his 2014 policy of allowing the migrants to apply for asylum and work permits, Vaughan said.

GOP legislators “will look foolish if they pass this [border] bill,” because it won’t stop Obama from welcoming the next wave of migrants, she said.

GOP leaders are “completely squandering all that public trust that worked so well for them in the election … and they’re willing to toss that away in the expectation that the Mexican government and the administration will solve [a 2015 surge] for them,” she said.

By July 2014, polls reported that up to 57 percent of likely voters opposed President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.

The steady flow of family groups — typically a woman and one or two children, mostly girls — however, has been disguised by the top-level attention given by the White House and the media to the cross-border transfer of children and young adults.

The children and youths are accompanied by coyotes to the U.S. border, where they are handed over to U.S. border police for transfer to their relatives who are already living illegally in the United States.

In 2014, the flow of roughly 60,000 youths was equal to the flow of families.

But the flow of youths has fallen by roughly 85 percent during the last three months of 2014, prompting White House officials to say they’ve regained control of the border.

The federal data showing the continued inflow of adults and children is backed up by a report from a charitable group on the border.

“The numbers increased a lot this past month, almost to 100 every day [last week],” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley according to a Tuscon Sentinel report from Dec. 2.

“They have hope that they have a chance at a better life here. … It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon,” Pimentel said.

New GOP Border Security Bill Removes Border Fences

Capture

    Something is missing here…

Neil Munro

The new border bills drafted by Republican leaders require the actual removal of at least 66 miles of weak border fencing between Mexico and the United States.

The border bills also only require for the construction of 27 miles of effective double-layer fencing along the 2,000-mile border.

“It is a remarkable that the direction of our progress is going backwards, from a goal of building 700 miles of double-layer border fencing [in 2006] to only 27 miles [in 2015],” said a Hill staffer who opposes the leaders’ bills.

“Where the double-layer fence has been put in, it has worked spectacularly. The public is with us 80, 90 percent on this issue,” he added.

Extra fencing would be a waste of money, according to Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
“The bill matches resources to needs, putting 27 more miles of fencing where fencing is needed, and technology where technology is needed,” said the statement.

“In our conversations with outside groups, experts and stakeholders, we learned that it would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money to complete the fence. … We are using that money to utilize other technology to create a secure border,” said the statement.

A House staffer said the McCaul’s bill doesn’t require a major fence because of advocacy by Heritage and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action for America, told The Daily Caller that Heritage did not recommend against fencing.

ATR has joined with wealthy advocates — such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — to call for increased use of foreign workers and residency for illegal immigrants.

Senate committee staffers declined to offer any reassurances that Senators would modify the bill to fund more fencing and to block Obama’s catch-and-release policy, prior to a Senate vote in a few weeks.

“We’re going to be looking at everything,” said a committee staffer. “We can’t give any detail beyond that.”

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who co-sponsored the Senate’s 2013 immigration bill.

“We introduced the McCaul [House] bill [in the Senate] as is and plan to update and improve it as we study the issue through [House] briefings and hearings,” said the staffer, who works for the Senate’s homeland security committee. The committee is chaired by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

The public strongly supports a border fence. An April 2013 poll by Rasmussen shows “that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should continue building a border fence, while 29% disagree.” Support for the fence is much higher among the GOP-leaning voters that provided the votes for the GOP victory in November.

A 2006 law required the construction of 700 miles of double-layer fencing along the 2,000 mile border. However, Congress quietly modified the bill in 2008 to allow the construction of simple, ineffective fences in place of the required double-layer fencing.

Officials claim that just over 600 miles of the border now have obstructions, including barriers. But those barriers include lines of bollards to stop vehicles, plus single-layer “landing mat fencing” and only 36.5 miles of double-layer fencing.

The leaders’ bills call for the replacement of anti-pedestrian mat fences by anti-vehicle bollards.

The bollards will allow migrants to be driven up to the border, and then walked over to a pick-up vehicle on the U.S. side.

“Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall replace, at a minimum, each of the following: (A) Thirty-one miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector. (B) Five miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector. (C) Three miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector. (D) Twenty-five miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector. (E) Two miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector,” says a section on page 12 of the House bill, HR 399.

Despite the bill’s requirement to reduce fencing, McCaul’s statement declared that “this bill is the toughest border security bill ever before Congress.”

But the leaders’ border security bill also doesn’t even try to block Obama’s catch-and-release policies, said the Hill staffer who opposes the leaders’ bill. Even if additional spending and border guards catch more migrants, Obama’s deputies will likely release them and give them work permits unless the laws are changed, he said.

GOP legislators who support the leaders’ bill are “unwilling participants in a con job” against their own voters, he said.

But the GOP leadership has fast-tracked the border bill, which will be debated and perhaps amended during a House hearing during the afternoon of Jan. 21.

In 2010, President Barack Obama claimed the partially built fence is “now basically complete.” Since then, he has allowed more than 150,000 lower-skilled Central Americans migrants who cross unfenced parts of the border to stay, apply for asylum, and get government benefits and work permits.

In November, Obama also promised to halt the repatriation of the 12 million illegals living in the United States, and has promised to give at least four million work permits to migrants with U.S.-born children.

In December, GOP leaders agreed to fund Obama’s de facto amnesty, despite overwhelming opposition from the GOP’s base and from swing voters.

Many GOP leaders say the nation’s employers should be allowed to hire hundreds of thousands of foreign workers for the food-sector, for blue-collar jobs and for professional work in hospitals, universities and many other non-technology jobs, plus technology jobs.

Texas legislators have strongly pushed for easy hiring of foreign migrants. For example, the chairman of the critical House rules committee, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions predicted the GOP would ensure a complete amnesty for the low-wage illegals now working in the United States.

Numerous polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the displacement of American workers by migrant workers. For example, a September 2014 poll by Paragon Insights showed that large slices of the Democratic coalition would be “much more likely” to vote for a GOP candidate who says that “the first goal of immigration policy needs to be getting unemployed Americans back to work – not importing more low-wage workers to replace them.”

Thirty-eight percent of African-Americans, 39 percent of Democratic women, 36 percent of Latinos and roughly 47 percent of Midwesterners said they would be much more likely to support a GOP candidate who favors the employment of Americans.

OBAMA AMNESTY QUALIFIES 2 MILLION ILLEGALS FOR TAX BREAKS, BENEFITS

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 6.27.29 PM

Whereas Americans suffer under Obamacare tax

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Thursday, January 15, 2015
More than 2 million illegal immigrants will be approved for President Obama’s deportation amnesty over the next few years, and they will be eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as claim a special tax break for low-income families, the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis Thursday.

Mr. Obama predicted that up to 5 million illegal immigrants could be eligible for his amnesties, but the CBO numbers predict only 2.25 million will have signed up and been approved by 2017.

Ads by Adblade

Chicago residents are shocked by controversial new site exposing personal information.

Americans to be hit hard by new currency law went into effect July 1st, 2014… [Devastating]

Forget Googling Someone’s Name & Try This New Site Instead!
The estimate was released as the administration defended the law in a federal court in Texas on Thursday, asking a judge to reject a request by Texas and two dozen other states to halt the program even before it gets started.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen, sitting in Brownsville, said he won’t rule before the end of the month. Applications for the first part of the amnesty are scheduled to begin in the middle of February.

“There aren’t any bad guys in this,” Judge Hanen told attorneys for both sides, according to The Brownsville Herald. He gave no indication of which way he is leaning in the thorny case, which is likely to determine Mr. Obama’s legacy on immigration.

Texas and its allies argue that Mr. Obama overstepped his legal bounds in November when he announced a program to halt deportations for illegal immigrant parents who have legal resident or U.S. citizen children, and to expand a 2012 amnesty for illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

To win, the states first must prove that they were injured by the amnesty, which would give them “standing” to sue. Then they must prove that Mr. Obama’s actions are either unconstitutional because they try to rewrite the laws, which is Congress’ job, or else they are official policies that should have been submitted to the public for comment and revisions before they were enacted.

Administration attorneys told Judge Hanen that Mr. Obama isn’t rewriting law, but rather deciding whom to prosecute under it based on his powers of prosecutorial discretion. The attorneys say presidents going back to the 1950s have used similar powers to halt deportations, albeit on smaller scales.

The Obama administration said if it declares most illegal immigrants off limits for deportation, it will be easier to pursue the recent illegal immigrants and the serious felons who won’t qualify for the leniency.

Mexican officials, hoping to help their citizens stay in the U.S., began issuing birth certificates at consulates Thursday.

Mexicans make up the majority of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S., though Central Americans may be rivaling them among newcomers, according to statistics.

Although Judge Hanen didn’t tip his hand about his thinking, administration supporters fear the worst. They point to a striking order he issued in December 2013, at the beginning of the surge of Central American children crossing the border, that accused the Homeland Security Department of being complicit in human trafficking.

Judge Hanen said because agents would take children caught at the border to their parents living illegally in the U.S., without trying to deport either of them, the government was in effect doing the job of smugglers and encouraging others to make the same journey.

“Clearly, the plaintiffs filed their suit in Brownsville for one reason — a friendly judge,” said America’s Voice Education Fund, which lobbies for immigrants’ rights.

Three self-identified illegal immigrants, who filed as “Jane Doe” litigants, asked Judge Hanen on Thursday to be allowed to join the lawsuit in defense of the president’s policies.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed on their behalf, said they “could face deportation and separation from their families and their communities” if the president’s amnesty is struck down.

They are three of the millions who could qualify, but the CBO report suggested that many of those who are eligible for amnesty won’t apply.

All told, the budget analysts predicted that 1.5 million will have been approved under the amnesty for illegal immigrant parents by 2017, while 750,000 illegal immigrants will have been approved under the modified 2012 amnesty for Dreamers, who are illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The total illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is estimated to be 11 million to 12 million people. The number dropped at the beginning of the Obama administration but has been ticking up in recent years.

Most illegal immigrants who do not qualify for the amnesty are unlikely to be deported under the guidelines Mr. Obama issued in November, which call for only the most serious criminals to be deported.

On Wednesday, the House voted to insist that convicted sex criminals be included in that list of crimes serious enough to demand deportation.

Those who are granted amnesty are also entitled to work permits, allowing them to compete legally for jobs. Texas and its allied states argued that those who get the amnesty are also eligible for some state benefits and services, such as a driver’s license and, in some states, concealed weapons permits or health care.

The CBO also said those covered by the temporary amnesty, which the government refers to as “deferred action,” will be eligible for some federal benefits.

“Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements,” the CBO said in its report. “In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify. They are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.”

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed on their behalf, said they “could face deportation and separation from their families and their communities” if the president’s amnesty is struck down.

They are three of the millions who could qualify, but the CBO report suggested that many of those who are eligible for amnesty won’t apply.

All told, the budget analysts predicted that 1.5 million will have been approved under the amnesty for illegal immigrant parents by 2017, while 750,000 illegal immigrants will have been approved under the modified 2012 amnesty for Dreamers, who are illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The total illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is estimated to be 11 million to 12 million people. The number dropped at the beginning of the Obama administration but has been ticking up in recent years.

Most illegal immigrants who do not qualify for the amnesty are unlikely to be deported under the guidelines Mr. Obama issued in November, which call for only the most serious criminals to be deported.

On Wednesday, the House voted to insist that convicted sex criminals be included in that list of crimes serious enough to demand deportation.

Those who are granted amnesty are also entitled to work permits, allowing them to compete legally for jobs. Texas and its allied states argued that those who get the amnesty are also eligible for some state benefits and services, such as a driver’s license and, in some states, concealed weapons permits or health care.

The CBO also said those covered by the temporary amnesty, which the government refers to as “deferred action,” will be eligible for some federal benefits.

“Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements,” the CBO said in its report. “In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify. They are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/15/obama-amnesty-to-qualify-2-million-illegal-immigra/?page=2#ixzz3P0j9pkZj
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/15/obama-amnesty-to-qualify-2-million-illegal-immigra/?page=2#ixzz3P0j9pkZj
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/15/obama-amnesty-to-qualify-2-million-illegal-immigra/#ixzz3P0iwOsqG
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter