Last week, confirmation hearings were conducted for Loretta Lynch, the person who would replace the current Attorney General, Eric Holder. When asked about her views concerning the Obama administration's policies on immigration, her responses where apparently contradictory.
Before we go further, it is of the utmost importance to understand that with all of the pressing issues that our government needs to address, immigration, unlike most other issues, is not a single issue, but a singular issue because immigration impacts virtually every other challenge and threat America and Americans face in this particularly dangerous and difficult era.
Here is how a Yahoo/AP news report, "Attorney General nominee defends Obama immigration changes," covered the exchanges Lynch engaged in to discuss the administration's immigration's policies:
Lynch said she had no involvement in drafting the measures but called them "a reasonable way to marshal limited resources to deal with the problem" of illegal immigration. She said the Homeland Security Department was focusing on removals of "the most dangerous of the undocumented immigrants among us."
Pressed by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a leading immigration hard-liner, she said citizenship was not a right for people in the country illegally but rather a privilege that must be earned. However, when Sessions asked whether individuals in the country legally or those who are here unlawfully have more of a right to a job, Lynch replied, "The right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here."
Sessions quickly issued a news release to highlight that response. Under later questioning by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, Lynch clarified it, stating there is no right to work for an immigrant who has no lawful status.
It is disconcerting to consider that what was being discussed was not a matter of opinion or politics but of law.
Here is how the official USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) website explains the responsibilities of employers to make certain to not hire illegal aliens under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act:
Employers have certain responsibilities under immigration law during the hiring process. The employer sanctions provisions, found in section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), were added by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). These provisions further changed with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996.
• Verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired after Nov. 6, 1986. For employment in the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands (CNMI), this verification requirement applies to persons hired after Nov. 27, 2009.
• Complete and retain a Form I-9 for each employee required to complete the form.
Employers must not:
• Discriminate against individuals on the basis of national origin, citizenship, or immigration status.
• Hire, recruit for a fee, or refer for a fee aliens he or she knows to be unauthorized to work in the United States.
Employers who violate the law may be subject to
• civil fines
• criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations)
• debarment from government contracts
• a court order requiring the payment of back pay to the individual discriminated against
• a court order requiring the employer to hire the individual discriminated against
It would certainly be naïve to think that Ms. Lynch was not carefully questioned by members of the administration, if not Mr. Obama himself. Most certainly they would want to make certain that she would be a loyal member of “Team Obama.”
A review of her education and professional achievements show that she is a highly intelligent, highly skilled and highly accomplished attorney/prosecutor. Undoubtedly she wants to achieve the ultimate success that any prosecutor can aspire to, becoming the Attorney General of the United States. This is certainly understandable. The question that she has likely weighed is what the cost will be. Would she, as the saying goes, be willing to go along to get along? What a quandary this must create for her.
The fact that she initially said that illegal aliens have the right to work does not square with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The laws are clear about just how wrong her statement was. In point of fact, prior to World War II the responsibility of enforcing and administering America's immigration laws was vested in the United States Department of Labor. The goal was to protect the jobs of American workers by making certain that Americans would never have to compete with foreign workers for jobs.
The reason that foreign workers tend to be so attractive for employers is that foreign workers are generally willing to work for lower wages -- often much lower wages, than their American counterparts. The issue of wage suppression, while often discussed in the media when the issue of how wages of middle class workers are declining, almost invariably leaves out the underlying cause for wage suppression -- the employment of increasing numbers of foreign workers who are working illegally as well as legally with supposed temporary work visas.
As the USCIS website notes, the intentional hiring of aliens who are not eligible to work can be punished by a fine or even by criminal prosecution. This is not a new law -- this was a significant component of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). These penalties for the intentional hiring of ineligible foreign workers are referred to as the employer sanctions provisions of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act). In point of fact, not only are illegal aliens ineligible to work but so are aliens who do not have appropriate visas. When I was an INS agent assigned to conduct investigations of the employment of aliens in the United States, we would not only take illegal aliens into custody, but even aliens who had been admitted as tourists who were working without employment authorization; even if their authorized period of stay in the United States had not expired.
There is no ambiguity to these laws.
Why then was Ms. Lynch vacillating in her response to a fundamental question about our nation's immigration laws?
Remember, she was quoted, in part, as stating, "The right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here."
That astonishing statement is so disturbing on many levels. Does this mean that the United States does not have the right to exercise sovereignty over its own borders? Does this mean that aliens have an inherent right to enter the United States?
If Loretta Lynch truly believes that it does not matter how aliens enter the United States, then perhaps she should be asked if she believes that the roughly 3.3 billion dollars spent by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to employ more than 20,000 employees who are responsible for inspecting people and cargo entering the United States, was an unnecessary expense. (If she truly believes that it does not matter how aliens enter the United States, it must be presumed that she is not concerned about the entry of millions of aliens who evade this vital inspections process.)
Furthermore, when employers can be shown to have established a pattern of intentionally hiring illegal aliens and fail to change their practices even after they are fined and other sanctions are imposed, they may be subject to criminal prosecution. Presuming that Ms. Lynch is confirmed and becomes the next Attorney General, would she oppose the prosecution of employers who egregiously violate the relevant sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act?
A while back I wrote several articles for Fox News Latino. In one of those articles, in which I discussed the DREAMers, just two days after Mr. Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden and talked about his use of “prosecutorial discretion,” I noted that the appropriate description for his tactics should be referred to as “prosecutorial deception."
However, there are a few points to consider to understand why the claim of prosecutorial discretion made by Mr. Obama is a bald-faced lie.
First of all, when the U.S. Attorney's office refuses to prosecute an individual who apparently committed a crime, they do not then provide some sort of benefit to that law violator; they simply ignore the violation of law as being beneath the threshold that was established to martial limited resources. Sometimes the U.S. Attorney's office will reach out to state prosecutors who may have a parallel authority to see if they will run with the prosecution.
To provide an example, a member of the Drug Task Force may find a couple of kilos of cocaine in the possession of a suspected drug dealer. In New York City, such a seizure is generally considered too small to be pursued. However, the District Attorney's Office will then step in and prosecute that violation of law.
When there is no alternative jurisdiction, sometimes someone who violates the law goes unpunished.
However, what the administration is doing is not simply ignoring aliens who have no criminal histories, but processing them to provide them with an immigration benefit that they are not entitled to. Furthermore, the administration is now hiring additional personnel to process millions expected to be filed by aliens who are present in the United States illegally. This will cost significant money and will incentivize more illegal immigration and will also undermine national security by providing illegal aliens whose true names, countries of citizenship, possible criminal backgrounds and/or involvement with criminal or terrorist organizations will be impossible to determine.
When we are told by the administration and other advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that it would be unfair to force aliens out of the country if they have been living here for a number of years, the truth is that there will be absolutely no way of determining if the aliens who would apply for the administration's program got here five years ago, five months ago or five hours ago. There will be no in-person interviews and no capacity to do meaningful field investigations.
Ms. Lynch has to know all of what I just described. She is currently the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Kennedy International Airport is a major port of entry for the United States and it is her office that prosecutes all federal cases relating to arrests and seizures at that extremely busy port.
What is also disconcerting is the fact that Ms. Lynch initially made statements that were contrary to the existing immigration laws, both the letter and spirit of those laws, although I do commend her for agreeing that illegal aliens had no right to have United States citizenship conferred upon them.
After the hearing adjourned for lunch, Senator Chuck Schumer picked up the questioning and suddenly she appeared to have changed her opinions about critical aspects of the immigration issue.
Schumer was not only one of the infamous “Gang of Eight” or, as I have come to refer to them, the “Eight Gangsters,” but was arguably the ringleader.
Did he manage to convince Ms. Lynch to say what she needed to say to get through the confirmation process so that she can then revert back to her previous position once she is presumably sworn in?
As Ms. Lynch undoubtedly knows, there is indeed a time and place for true prosecutorial discretion. What most folks don't know is that when a federal agent uncovers evidence of a federal crime, that agent must then contact the assistant United States attorney who is assigned to a unit known as “Intake.” Basically, this prosecutor's job is to screen the flow of cases to be prosecuted to make sure that certain criteria are met. The problem is that there are many crimes committed by a wide array of perpetrators of those crimes but extremely limited resources are available to prosecute the violations of law.
This is the realm of prosecutorial discretion.
It certainly makes sense to focus on the most serious cases in a sort of prosecutorial triage.
However, when the administration makes it clear that aliens who evade the inspections process conducted at ports of entry by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) or otherwise violate our immigration laws, it encourages more illegal immigration and makes it easy for terror sleeper cells to enter the United States and embed themselves in communities around the United States. The goals of sleeper agents as I noted my January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article, "Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat," is to keep a very low profile and not call attention to themselves.
An individual who is able to obtain a suite of identity documents takes on an appearance of “normalcy” and thereby gain the trust of people they encounter. If the system further aids and abets criminals and terrorists by making it easier for them to obtain those documents in a false name, the threat to national security and public safety, the ability of those who pose a serious threat increases drastically.
These are issues that Ms. Lynch should be well familiar with -- yet she appeared to not be averse to the administration's ill-conceived program to provide lawful status to aliens who have no lawful right to be in the United States.
The issue really comes down to a matter of integrity. There is no integrity to the various components of the immigration system and a lack of integrity to the administration's program to deal with these serious issues. Finally, there is no shortage of politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington and in states and cities around the United States who lack personal and professional integrity, willing to sell out the safety and well-being of the citizens they were elected to represent and look out for.
Violations of the immigration laws are not “victimless crimes,” but under the current administration's policies are “punishmentless (sic) crimes.”
Innocent people have and undoubtedly will continue to lose their lives to criminal aliens from around the world who have come to America to ply their “trades” committing a wide variety of crimes including crimes of violence. The terrorists we discussed earlier were only able to enter the United States and embed themselves because the immigration system failed abysmally. The flaws in the system that enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and then hide in plain sight have not been fixed. Indeed, we have never been at a greater risk of terrorists successfully gaming the various components of the immigration system than we are witnessing now.
More American workers are under greater duress than at any other time because the immigration system fails in its mission to shield American workers from unfair competition.
We are told our borders are secure yet heroin and cocaine have never flowed more freely into the United States as evidenced by an explosion of heroin epidemics from coast to coast and border to border.
“Sanctuary Cities” and “Sanctuary States” have sprung up like mushrooms around the United States, undermining national security and public safety.
On September 24, 2014 FrontPage Magazine published my article, "‘Sanctuary Cities’ or ‘Safe Havens’ for Terrorists?"
During President Obama’s speech on ISIS that he delivered on the evening of September 10, 2014, just hours before the 13th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, that he noted that ISIS must be denied safe haven in countries around the world. Certainly this is a vital goal and one that former President George W. Bush also established in the wake of those terror attacks.
However, the myriad failures of the administration to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce and administer our immigration laws provides ample opportunities for terrorists to not only enter the United States but embed themselves in the United States.
This is further exacerbated by political leaders that have declared their cities and, in some cases, their states to be “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens. In point of fact the term “sanctuary” is synonymous with “safe haven.”
Yet the federal government has taken no action against those local and state political “leaders” for violating our immigration laws themselves. In point of fact, under 8 USC § 1324 – Bringing in and harboring certain aliens, a section of law that is comprehended within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), it is a felony to aid, abet, encourage or induce aliens to enter our country illegally or remain in our country illegally.
Here is an excerpt from that section of law:
Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) Offenses
Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).
Harboring — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) makes it an offense for any person who — knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals harbors, shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.
Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.
Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.
This raises what should be an obvious question: Would Attorney General Lynch be willing to use her clout and authority to end these dangerous and illegal policies on the local and state levels?
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will see a significant change in the way our immigration laws are enforced and administered until we change more than the person who heads up the Department of Justice.
The changes will hopefully come when there is a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
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