Lies and De Facto Amnesty

In what is being characterized as the Obama administration’s attempt to institute “back door amnesty” for illegal aliens, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that a series of internal memos written by Gary Goldman, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) chief counsel in Houston, ordered attorneys to review both new and pending cases, and dismiss any of them which did not meet ICE’s “top priorities.” A series of emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the dismissals, which numbered hundreds of cases in Houston alone, were approved by ICE attorneys in Washington, D.C. “It now appears that DHS attempted to mislead the public and Congress on its policy of directing dismissals of cases against criminal aliens,” said Jessica Sandlin, Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Texas press secretary. “After this failed attempt at stonewalling and obstruction of the public’s right to know, the truth is now coming out.”

When the Chronicle originally broke the story last August 25th, it prompted a response from ICE officials in Washington, D.C. who initially stonewalled, but then told several media outlets the dismissals were extremely limited in nature. ICE contended they only applied to immigrants with pending green card applications, as stated in an agency memo written by ICE director John Morton on August 20th.

When the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded an investigation into the matter last October, Homeland Security officials engaged in the same kind of misdirection. The committee sent a letter to Janet Napolitiano, noting that “pending removal proceedings are being dismissed in record numbers,” pointing to a directive from “Director John T. Morton to all ICE attorneys to review pending cases and seek dismissal if the cases do not involve Level I offenders [aliens convicted of aggravated felonies or two or more felonies].” It further noted that although reports received by the committee “focused only on cases pending before Houston immigration judges, our understanding is that the ICE directive applies nationwide.” Nelson Peacock, a top DHS official responded that the directive the committee was citing “does not exist,” once again referring back to the August 20th memo which “affects very few aliens, generally non-criminals who have married a U.S. citizen.”

When a reporter questioned ICE officials about whether such misdirection was deliberate, they refused to answer. Later, ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez claimed the Houston memos written by Goldman — rescinded by his supervisor, Riah Ramlogan, the same day the Chronicle broke the story — “misconstrued and exceeded the agency’s official guidance” regarding prosecutorial discretion.

Ostensibly, the attempt to engage in large-scale dismissals was propelled by a June 2010 memo issued to all agency personnel by Morton, who warned that ICE had limited resources which would allow for the removal of only 400,000 illegals per year. Thus, the agency had to prioritize its deportation process, and focus on those illegals who “pose a risk to national security and public safety, recent illegal entrants and repeat immigration violators.” This prompted a meeting by top ICE attorneys in Denver last August, where their own interpretation of Morton’s “top priorities” was formulated. This in turn led to Goldman’s memos, including one dated August 12th, ordering his subordinates to consider dismissal motions in accordance with those priorities. The memo also shows Goldman formed a task force to review thousands of cases to see which of them warranted dismissal. The memo was forwarded to supervisor Ramlogan, then acting field director for ICE’s legal office in Washington, D.C. His response to Goldman’s ideas? “Outstanding, Gary,” he wrote.

The results of ICE’s new criteria were depressingly predictable. From the Chronicle:

Nationally, the numbers of cases dismissed increased about 40 percent during the 2010 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, over the previous year, according to an analysis of immigration court data by the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. In Los Angeles, judges dismissed one in four cases, an increase of 200 percent over the previous year. Las Vegas also had a roughly 195 percent increase, and Dallas, Atlanta and Arlington all reported a more than 50 percent, the TRAC data shows.

And that’s when immigration courts cooperate. Additional data provided by TRAC reveals that even when ICE requested the removal of an illegal, the rejection rate in some jurisdictions was incredibly high. For example, in FY 2010, immigration courts in New York City turned down 70 percent of the requests, Oregon and Los Angeles turned down 63 percent, Miami, 59 percent, and Philadelphia, 55 percent. TRAC also noted that ICE, in similar fashion to its resistance to providing the Houston Chronicle with immigration information, “has actively sought to prevent the release to TRAC of much more detailed data it has that would better explain the growing rejection rates.”

On June 17th, ICE head John Morton issued his latest memo with a list of considerations under which “an exercise of prosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given alien.” It contains 19 separate items administration attorneys can use as factors to push for dismissals, along with eight other “positive factors [that] should prompt particular care and consideration.”

The first list includes such factors as “the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States,” and “whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat.”

If those two factors sound familiar, it’s because they are an integral part of the DREAM Act, which failed to become law as the result of a bipartisan filibuster in a lame-duck session of the Senate in December of 2010. The vote of 55 to 41 was five short of the 60 needed to advance the bill. It had previously passed the then Democratically-controlled House by a margin of 216-198, and it was thought that Democrats, who were pounded in the 2010 election, might get one more major piece of legislation enacted before relinquishing control to Republicans. Much like ObamaCare, the Dream Act was disliked by a majority of Americans, 54 percent of whom opposed its passage, compared to 38 percent who supported it.

Yet it appears that once again, the Obama administration is demonstrating the neither Congress nor the public poses an impediment to implementing its agenda. This contempt for the rule of law was not missed by the Senate Judiciary Committee which noted that ICE is “enforcing the law based on criteria it arbitrarily chose, with complete disregard for the enforcement laws created by Congress,” and that the repercussions of such criteria “extend beyond removal proceedings, because it discourages officers from even initiating new removal proceedings if they believe the case ultimately will be dismissed based on the new directive.”

Furthermore, despite its rejection last year, Senate Democrats are again trying to revive the DREAM Act, with a hearing scheduled next Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are set to testify, along with journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who revealed his status an an illegal alien last week. “These people do not pose a risk to public safety, they do not pose a risk to national security,” said Napolitano. “This could be a piece of a solution to a number of the challenges our country faces,” said Duncan, who contended the laws’ passage would reduce the federal deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, countered that assessment. “Millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the past few years dream of going back to work,” he said, “but the DREAM Act won’t make this dream come true for them.”

Taken together with John Morton’s latest memo, and the reality that Democrats couldn’t pass this legislation when they had control of Congress and the White House — including a short period prior to the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown where they had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — and it becomes clear this latest push has very little to do with solving the illegal immigration problem. It is all about shoring up a vital Democrat constituency who must be placated in time for the 2012 election.

Meanwhile, America’s borders remain wide open.

Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website


    Obama and Napolitano should be sent straight to prison, and any other person who holds an elected position in govt. who is committing treasonous acts against this country.This man is a disgrace to the office of The President of the U.S. Any and all city officials protecting illegal aliens from being arrested and deported should also be relieved from there position and arrested. We have played there game long enough and look where it has taken us, we have never been so far apart, this is exactly where he wants us to be. TOGETHER WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL. Ring any bells???

    • Ed Garson

      There is no better way to say it than to say it straight. I absolutely agree with you and also call it "treason". We, the citizens of the U.S.A., have become the "patsies" for anyone who can make us feel "politically incorrect" – we have become Mexico's welfare solution. What government officials are doing is working in collusion to purposefully break federal laws; that makes them subject to organized crime (RICO) statutes. Those government employees who assist illegal aliens and circumvent federal law must be arrested & stand trial.

  • 86emmm

    CALL -OUR- Congress @ 866 220 0044
    E-verify -ALL- JOBS & GOV`t. PROGRAMS->section-8 , welfare , foodstamps , wic. etc. !
    287g->NATIONWIDE TO FIND & DEPORT -ALL- illegal aliens !
    Call I.C.E. @ 866 347 2423 to REPORT illegal aliens & THEIR EMPLOYERS !
    -ALL- illegal aliens from -ALL- COUNTRIES ARE CRIMINALS !
    Visit- AmericanPatrol.c – Ojjpac.o !
    "FREE FAXES" to -OUR- Congress @ NumbersUSA.c 0r CapsWeb.o !
    google-> Work in the states build a life in Mexico -> To see that BETTER LIFE !

    • Fred Dawes

      you can call all you want until god comes to earth but without real action this nation is doomed to become mexico.

  • DelawareBob

    The DREAM Act is amnesty, and that is why I was always against the DREAM Act, but, I’ll give in to the DREAM Act under two conditions. First, the parents who bought their illegal alien children here illegally MUST be deported. Second, the parents can NEVER return to this country and the student can NEVER sponsor them or any other family member that would start a chain migration. The student will start the DREAM Act as soon as the parents are deported. This, I believe, is a good compromise. The students will be rewarded for something that was not their fault and the parents will pay for their crime of entering this country illegally and putting their child in this position. If you do not like this compromise, then the parents can just take their children back to the country from which they came. AGREE? If not, let all of them pack their bags and get the hell out of this country. They DO NOT belong here.

    Illegal immigration is a cancer, it has to be eradicated not tolerated.

    • Jordan

      The administrator deleted my comment instantly! Afraid of the Truth?

  • MomTaxpayerCitizen

    With millions of foreigners here illegally to exploit U.S. taxpayers, we must enforce our immigration laws if we care about our children's futures.

    Billions of U.S. tax dollars is given to foreigners every year when they use our emergency rooms as free health clinics, get free educations for their kids and welfare checks for their anchor babies.

    Nevada has the highest unemployment rate and the highest percentage of illegal workers in the country.

    Illegal immigrants depress our wages.

  • StephenD

    "… ICE had limited resources which would allow for the removal of only 400,000 illegals per year. Thus, the agency had to prioritize its deportation process, and focus on those illegals who “pose a risk to national security and public safety…."
    Why not present a bill to the Mexican Government for the cost of sending back it's citizens? Maybe then they'll keep better control of the border from their side.
    No amnesty talk unless and until the borders are COMPLETLY SECURE. Why give amnesty to one when 10 more can pour over the border? Stop the flow…we're compassionate people, we'll deal with what's left…AFTER THE BORDERS ARE SECURE.

  • Fred Dawes

    YOU HAVE BACK DOOR AMNESTY For 40 years the USA Is a doomed country. ICE Is set in place to make it easier and to keep people in place with the law of the land in other words," get out of line go to prison and the rape gangs of mexico city", so if you people will not act as real guys become a woman in a jail cell.
    You can't stop this BS With words only action and the will to win over the enemies of freedom and laws and the the rights of a nation and its people will never happen, so have fun in the new world order of enslavement. next move by your masters in washington and mexico city will be rape gangs coming to your town so be happy.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't want the DREAM Act made into law at all. I'm American and I'm for LEGAL immigration. I doubt that legal immigrants like the DREAM Act as much as I do.

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  • Maxie

    So who's getting rich from the "guns-for-drugs" trade between the U.S and Mexico? Who benefits politically from back-door amnesty? Who's the head of our (in)justice dep't. and who's his boss?

  • Ugly American

    The Dream Act is a slap in the face to citizens and all of those who are here legally. Even the name is a perversion of what was a promise to those who follow the rules. If they are going to suggest we make citizens of illegal aliens who were brought here by their parents, why don’t they make it really popular with foreigners who break our laws? Offer to PAY for their college too.
    Then maybe we can get together and tar and feather the treasonous people who back it.

  • Kathleen

    Any and every elected or appointed official who does not aggressively work to purge this country of the 30+million illegal aliens who have invaded this country are guilty of violating their oath of office, the Constitution, and federal law. As such they are guilty of willful dereliction of duty – grounds for recall.

    This administration's brazen and blatant refusal to enforce our immigration laws confirms their willful dereliction of duty at best and treason at worst.

  • StephenD

    SECURE THE BORDERS! You're wasting your breathe until the borders are secure. Do you realize there is documented at least 54 different nationalities that have come across the Mexican border illegally? Many from the Mid-East. Sure, Chaves welcomes them. They learn Spanish. They assimilate into the flow of illegals as if they belonged. And this Administration wants to point out the youngster in school or the family member in the military. NONE of that matters. SECURE THE DAMN BORDER!

  • Pedro A.

    A MESSAGE TO THE WORLD: Don't bother applying at the American embassy and having your background checked, or your physical and mental abilities checked or waiting on line, just come here by any means necessary and as soon as you get in the country, you will be treated as a legal resident, nothing will happen to you. You will be able to work. You will be able to break our laws and not be deported. You can falsify documents and lie on federal applications by indicating that you are an American Citizen, and instead of receiving consequences, in fact you will be celebrated. You will be able to go to our schools and be educated. If you get sick, we will take care of you and have lots and lots of children, we will give you financial aids, since those kids will be American citizens. And the most important part of all, we have a Democratic party that actually support your lawlessness and will protect you. SO COME TO AMERICA, COME TODAY, WE'VE BECOME AN ANARCHY STATE.

  • Asher

    Hey Folks, This is Taqiyya. Stealth Jihad through government policies…Also scare tactics. Obama says if we don't get the revenues by raising the Debt Ceiling, Your kids won't be able to go to school, You won't be able to get weather updates, Get your social security checks, Veterans won't be able to get their pension checks. Obama ignores the advice of Military advisors, on Afghanistan, particularly Gen. Petreus who has had immense success on his strategies. Banks are now intimidated in giving out loans by too many government regulators. Stealth Jihad works through politics and under the radar.

  • Emenot Goaway

    Please read this link of how our government create so much hardship for wealth immigaration applicants before you read my post….SHAME ON USA!

    Our country are letting the bottom of the barrel and granting amnesty many times but they make rich immigrants jump through hoops to come in, this really don't make sense. Can you imagine the spending power alone of these well funded immigration applicants can do to our economy? Yet, our government make it so difficult causing many redirected to Canada. …WHY???


    and another $2.1 billion to go towards initiatives and recovery prep