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Obama’s Administrative Amnesty Sets Dangerous Standards

Posted By Michael Volpe On August 15, 2012 @ 12:15 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 5 Comments

The United States Department of Homeland Security took another step towards codifying the idea that suspected illegal aliens are only dangerous if they’ve been convicted of a serious crime. In a memo from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to the heads of a number of agencies within DHS — Alejandro Mayorkas at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, John Morton at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and David Aguilar at US Customs and Border Enforcement — that’s exactly what Napolitano did administratively.

This particular memo was written on July 26, 2012, and it provided guidance on implementing President Obama’s new directive which administratively instituted the failed DREAM Act, a proposed bill that offers amnesty to some illegal immigrants.

In that memo, the Obama administration ordered that suspected illegal aliens qualified for the initiative if they have “not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.”

Last week, FrontPage exclusively broke the story of a suspected illegal alien that attacked a number of ICE agents while he was attempting to escape during an interrogation. ICE headquarters ordered those ICE agents to release that individual. The individual had not yet been convicted of a crime.

According to Chris Crane, head of the ICE agents union, that is long standing policy in Obama’s DHS. He told FrontPage that for years ICE agents have been told to prioritize those convicted of a crime while de-emphasizing those not convicted of a crime.

It hasn’t always been this explicit. For instance, the notorious “Morton Memo” stated outright that ICE agents should pay attention to the “person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants” in the individual’s background.

Ignoring pertinent details of illegal immigrants’ backgrounds, however, has had some disastrous consequences in some cases. For instance, there is the case of Amado Espinoza-Ramirez. He was accused of a number of heinous crimes related to child molestation but he was never convicted. ICE released him shortly after taking custody of him from Cook County officials, where he was facing criminal charges. Espinoza-Ramirez missed a subsequent court date and is now still considered a fugitive.

In explaining itself, DHS sent an email to Lamar Smith, the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee. In it, the department specifically highlighted the fact that Espinoza-Ramirez was not yet convicted of a crime. DHS said that Espinoza-Ramirez was released because he had “no prior criminal convictions, no prior immigration violations, and is the parent of a U.S. citizen child.”

Last week, an ICE agent was suspended after he refused to release a suspected illegal alien that was only charged with a number of traffic offenses. Because that individual was not convicted of any serious crime, ICE bureaucracy didn’t consider him a high priority.

Senator Jeff Sessions expressed concern that the Obama administration was codifying priorities for DHS that only include those convicted of a crime. He fired off a letter to ICE Director John Morton stating as such.

I write to express my serious concern about a recent report regarding the impending suspension of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. According to the report, the agent was served with a “Notice of Proposed Suspension” for arresting an individual whom the agent observed entering the vehicle of an alien wanted for criminal activity in Newark, Delaware, and whom the agent later determined to be a 35-year-old illegal alien with ten previous convictions for traffic violations, including driving without a license.

According to the report, a memorandum by Assistant Field Office Director David O’Neill states that the agent was told to release the detained alien even though he was in the country illegally. When the agent refused, he was threatened with a three-day suspension. It is my understanding that the acting field director advised the criminal alien that he would be let go because he was not a “presidential priority.”

The first memo of its kind, the so-called Mayorkas Memo, didn’t even address criminal history. Instead, that memo suggested ways in which USCIS could apply a number administrative amnesty maneuvers to millions of suspected illegal aliens, none of whom could be convicted of a crime.

It’s also important to note that USCIS, the agency tasked with implementing the new DREAM Act amnesty plan announced by President Obama in June, has a recent history of rubber stamping visa applications. Another portion of the Mayorkas Memo gives USCIS broad interpretive powers for approving applications. While those convicted of a felony are definitely ruled out of the program, those convicted of a felony wind up in a much grayer area. USCIS is directed to only deny those convicted of “a significant misdemeanor offense.” The word “significant” could be interpreted a number of ways. For instance, would a “driving under the influence” conviction be considered a “significant misdemeanor offense”?

The USCIS gave FrontPage a vanilla answer attempting to assure the public that it is taking proper steps to see to it that this vague clause will be implemented properly. William Wright, a spokesperson at USCIS, contented, “USCIS is currently developing a process by which certain young individuals who came to the United States as children may request deferred action. USCIS is committed to ensuring that this new process works within the agency’s mission to administer our nation’s immigration benefits, serve our customers, and safeguard the integrity of the immigration system.”

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