Homeland Security

Portland sex attack suspect's 12 deportations inflame immigration debate

Sergio Martinez returned to Portland after nearly a decade's absence. But he'd been busy in the meantime: Deported 12 times. Convicted three times for illegal re-entry. A rap sheet of crimes from burglary to theft in three states.

Immigration agents noticed his name on a Multnomah County list of jail inmates last December. They asked the Sheriff's Office to alert them before releasing Martinez so they could send him back to Mexico one more time.

But they never heard a word. Martinez spent a night in the downtown jail, then was out.

Police in Portland arrested Martinez five more times over the next six months. Each time, he was booked into jail. Each time, immigration agents had no idea that he'd been arrested, booked and released.

Sergio Martinez's deportations, federal prosecutions

Records show federal authorities deported Martinez 12 times and sent him back to Mexico a 13th time...

On July 24, seven days after his last release, Martinez, 31, crawled through a window in a 65-year-old woman's Northeast Portland apartment, tied her up with scarves and socks and sexually assaulted her, police said.

That night, he grabbed a 37-year-old woman at knifepoint as she walked to her car. He forced her into her car, but she escaped and he followed, tackled her and repeatedly bashed her head into the concrete until others arrived and he ran off, police said.

Martinez's record has become Exhibit A in a polarized political landscape that pits the Trump administration's vigorous push to curtail illegal immigration against states like Oregon with powerful sanctuary movements.

Martinez's latest arrest inflamed a national debate that shows no signs of waning. Top federal law-and-order leaders from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams decried the local jail's silence on a criminal who had earned the label of "serial immigration violator." Multnomah County itself had labeled Martinez's chances of committing another crime and failing to appear in court as "100 percent."

"The fact that these things happened to these two women is inexcusable,'' Williams said.

Williams and immigration officials say the sheriff has misconstrued state and federal law...

"We can't do our job and enforce federal immigration law without that shared information,'' Williams said....

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese defended the jail's actions, saying it was following state law and federal case law....

Reese said he felt "distressed and heartbroken'' that Martinez is accused of preying on women after his release from jail.

How others in Oregon handle ICE requests for inmate information

If Sergio Martinez had been arrested in Washington or Yamhill counties, immigration agents would have learned of it right away.

But he said sheriff's deputies will notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about an inmate or hold that person longer only when they get a federal criminal arrest warrant signed by a judge. The ICE "detainer" for Martinez was an administrative request and doesn't meet the jail standard, he said....

"We're trying to build relationships of trust with immigrant communities. Having our police officers involved in immigration enforcement would damage our ability to keep our community safe,'' the sheriff said.

Michael Kagan, a legal expert on immigration issues, said the law allows the jail to make a simple notification to ICE about an inmate's release...

But Kagan added that there's nothing to stop immigration officials from seeking an arrest warrant to detain someone. He noted that ICE isn't set up to do that and hasn't devoted the resources to change.

ACLU of Oregon attorney Mat dos Santos said he believes immigration agents have the wherewithal to check jail rosters and pick up people they want. They don't need to enlist local help.

"The problem with information sharing," he said, "is it sweeps up many, many people who have low-level offenses into this increased enforcement regime.''

COMMUNICATION WITH ICE EVAPORATED OVER TIME

Multnomah County, with by far Oregon's busiest jail system, now follows the strictest interpretation of the state's sanctuary law, essentially cutting off direct communication with immigration agents on inmate arrests and releases.

From 35,000 to 38,000 people get booked into the system here each year, including an estimated 4 percent who report being born in other countries.

Sergio Martinez's arrests in Oregon, 2016-2017

The Martinez case highlights how the county's relationship with ICE has evaporated over time, but especially after President Donald Trump's election. It also has exposed a gap in sharing jail fingerprint records that immigration agents can use as a back-up way to find people.

Reese changed the rules shortly after Trump took office.

Oregon's statute on "Enforcement of federal immigration laws'' was designed to prohibit the use of public resources to arrest people "whose only apparent violation of law'' is their illegal immigration status – a civil offense, not a crime. The 1987 law was intended to prevent police from using immigration regulations to profile or harass people based on their race, testimony on the bill showed.

Before its adoption, legislators added an amendment at the request of Oregon State Police to make sure local authorities could exchange information with ICE for people arrested on a non-immigration criminal offense.

For years, immigration agents had regular shifts at Multnomah County's downtown jail, allowed to review booking registers to look for people who faced deportation.

But that stopped after a federal magistrate judge in 2014 ruled Clackamas County was liable for damages after it held an inmate beyond her release date at the request of immigration agents who were still investigating her immigration status.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart decided that Clackamas County violated Maria Mirandas-Oliveras' Fourth Amendment right by keeping her in jail 19 hours after settling her state case for violating a domestic violence restraining order.

The judge ruled that ICE hadn't provided sufficient probable cause to hold her and the jail shouldn't have honored the request. The ruling started a ripple effect in the state, causing jails and police to no longer agree to such civil detainers.

Instead, Multnomah County and other jails started providing weekly reports to immigration officers on all people born outside the country booked into their jails, their names, ages and charges.

But on Jan. 27, Multnomah County stopped sharing those reports. That change came two days after the sheriff stood at a news conference with county Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury, the ACLU's dos Santos and others, pledging to defy President Trump's call to hold undocumented immigrants for deportation amid threats to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities...

Instead, he said, immigration agents can access the sheriff's public website on inmates in custody or contact the corrections records unit for public information if they want to track arrests.

"Our public website is our source of sharing information with everyone, including ICE,'' the sheriff said.

Elizabeth Godfrey, a regional supervisor for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations based in Portland, said county officials have "grossly mischaracterized and misinterpreted'' the state law.

"Concluding that the law somehow prohibits information sharing is frankly inaccurate and is unsupported by its legislative history and relevant case law,'' she said.

Local jails clearly could follow the sanctuary law's provision for exchanging information in cases like Martinez's -- when accused offenders face criminal charges, she said.

The county sheriff also has misapplied the federal judge's ruling, Godfrey said.

ICE, though, no longer requests that Oregon sheriffs hold someone on a civil detainer beyond their typical release date, she said, recognizing that the 2014 court case "aroused concern among local law enforcement."

But the sheriff's stance of requiring a criminal arrest warrant is unrealistic because it can take days or weeks and ICE isn't set up to do that, she said. Very few illegal immigrants that the agency encounters are subject to federal criminal prosecution, she said, and in those cases, agents must first know they've been arrested, which requires an exchange of information.

"We weren't given that opportunity'' in the Martinez case, Godfrey said.

FINGERPRINT SNAFU FURTHER HAMPERS ICE

Martinez's mother brought him to the United States when he was not yet 1. His father died when he was a few months old and his stepfather died when he was about 10...

His record in California includes convictions for burglary in 2008 and battery, theft and obstructing an officer in 2015.  California authorities typically alerted ICE when Martinez was released from prison there, as state corrections officials do in Oregon. Federal authorities said he also was charged in Texas in 2012 with misdemeanor criminal mischief under a false name.

Last year alone, Martinez was deported to Mexico from California three times before he was arrested by Beaverton police in December on a 2008 Multnomah County arrest warrant, charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle and nine other charges.

He was taken to Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 9:40 a.m. on Dec. 7.

Immigration agents learned of Martinez's arrest through the sheriff's weekly report to the federal agency on foreign-born detainees before Reese halted the practice. They then faxed a detainer form to the jail, asking for notification before Martinez's release.

Martinez was released from jail the next day at 1:35 p.m. A Multnomah County prosecutor dropped the 2008 charges because eight years had gone by – long past the three-year mark for a speedy trial.

Martinez was booked into the jail five more times from February to June:

-- Feb. 13: On a failure to appear warrant on a January allegation of criminal trespass from a disturbance at Pioneer Place mall. He was released on his own recognizance the same day.

-- March 3: On warrants alleging possession of methamphetamine and failure to appear for the trespass charge. By then, court officers highlighted that he had five earlier felony deportation violations, three failures to appear in Multnomah County court and a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse. He was released the same day and ordered to report to a pretrial supervision officer.

-- March 21: On another failure-to-appear warrant for the trespass allegation. He was released on his own recognizance the same day.

-- April 6: On an accusation of interfering with public transportation and theft of services in an alleged TriMet fare jumping case. He was released the same night on his own recognizance.

-- June 16: On an escape warrant from a Feb. 17 encounter with police when he ran as officers tried to serve him with a warrant in the trespass case. This time, he was held for 31 days. A court officer called Martinez an unsuitable candidate for release, citing his lack of stability, history of drug and alcohol use, criminal record, history of missing court dates, mental health problems, earlier deportations and a score of 8 on a risk assessment tool that correlated to a "100 percent failure rate.''

On July 17, Martinez pleaded guilty to interfering with an officer. His other charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to time served and released from custody that day.

Even without the notification from the jail of the releases, immigration agents thought they had a stopgap way to track Martinez, but that failed, too.

The jail is expected to take fingerprints of everyone booked into jail and is supposed to send them electronically to Oregon State Police, which then shares them through the National Fingerprint File with the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Typically, immigration officers would have received alerts when Martinez's fingerprints appeared in their system each time he was booked into the downtown jail. But they got none after his five arrests this year....

Maj. Tom Worthy, a supervisor with the state police Public Safety Services Bureau, said police can scan and immediately send biometric prints, so there's no reason why the prints shouldn't go to state police every time someone gets booked.

"We want to have a definitive record of people committing crime in Oregon," he said.

On July 24, Martinez entered a woman's apartmen....and sexually assaulted her, threatening her with a metal rod in his hand, police said. Martinez then left with her keys and phone and drove away in her Prius.

The woman ran to a neighbor's unit for help....

About 6 p.m. that same day, Martinez is accused of pulling a knife on a woman as she was walking to her car....

...he insisted he just wanted to talk, though he added, "If you say another word I will kill you,'' according to police. He ordered her into her car and locked the doors. She unlocked them and ran out. He tackled her and she screamed, "Help, he has a knife. He's trying to kill me!'' He ran back into her car and tried to drive off but couldn't, then fled on foot as police chased after him.

Police followed him as he ran into an apartment on Clackamas Street. An officer, with his Taser drawn, ordered Martinez to the ground.

Martinez is now being held on $3.6 million bail. He's pleaded not guilty to a 27-count indictment, charging him in the two assaults on the women, including multiple charges of sodomy, sexual abuse, kidnapping and robbery.

FEDS WANT 'SHARED RESPONSIBILITY'

Oregon's U.S. attorney and immigration officials said they hope Martinez's case will spur change.

They no longer hold out hope that sheriffs in Oregon will keep someone in their county jail on an immigration hold.

But they're asking sheriffs in Oregon to give ICE agents as much advance notice as possible before releasing inmates sought by immigration officers.

They also want to allow immigration agents to pick up the inmates within a jail entry or other controlled space to safeguard officers and avoid a potential escape.

"Tell me we don't have a shared responsibility not to release people like this individual back into our community to commit more crimes,'' Williams said.

Godfrey, the deputy ICE field office director, said she would sit down with sheriffs to address their concerns.

"Of course we want people who are committing really dangerous and violent crimes to be held accountable, but it seems to me they're using this example to try to get Portland to walk back on what it stands for – protecting documented and undocumented members of our community,'' said dos Santos of the ACLU.

Kagan, the Nevada law professor, suggests a middle ground: Have the jail alert immigration agents about the release of people considered dangerous and streamline a system to notify the immigration agency about people it wants to pick up for deportation proceedings.

So far, Multnomah County isn't budging.

If ICE wants to pursue an inmate for illegal entry into the United States, Reese said, "We suggest they seek a criminal arrest warrant.''

Oregon's U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams says the sheriff has misconstrued state and federal law, arguing that nothing prevents local police and jails from sharing information with federal agents about people in the country illegally who face criminal charges. "This is information going from one law enforcement agency to another and it's about public safety. It's that simple,'' he said.(Stephanie Yao Long | Staff )

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an Aug. 16 address in Miami, cited the arrest of Sergio Martinez in a sex assault case and blasted Multnomah County's refusal to alert immigration officers of his release from jail in December. "How can these politicians hear this story and do nothing?'' he asked. "By protecting criminals from immigration enforcement, cities and states with so-called 'sanctuary' policies make all of us less safe.'' (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese in late January stopped sharing with federal immigration officers the jail's weekly reports on bookings of foreign-born inmates. He said he changed the jail's practice after "robust conversations with county counsel and stakeholders." He said he was advised that providing reports specifically to ICE may violate the state's 1987 sanctuary law. (Beth Nakamura|Staff )

Sergio Martinez was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center in downtown Portland five times between February and June, but federal immigration officers had no idea. (Oregonian File Photo 2010)

Oregon's U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams says the sheriff has misconstrued state and federal law, arguing that nothing prevents local police and jails from sharing information with federal agents about people in the country illegally who face criminal charges. "This is information going from one law enforcement agency to another and it's about public safety. It's that simple,'' he said.

"Expedited" option could cut backlogs of deportable aliens

 
“Expedited removal” is a term in ICE lingo which means the removal of a recently arrived illegal alien without the need to present the illegal alien to an immigration judge for a removal hearing first.  There are hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens now in the U.S. whose cases have been tied up in immigration court appeals for years while the alien continues to live here, perhaps taking a job that would otherwise go to a citizen.
 
As described by Dan Cadman, a retired INS-ICE official with many years of experience in immigration law enforcement, “expedited removal” has been possible since 1997 but has never been fully implemented, even though the DHS has the legal authority to do so.
 
Cadman explains that expedited removal  “ … is applicable, should the DHS secretary choose to extend it by rule, to any alien, anywhere in the United States, who has not been admitted or paroled, and who cannot prove to the satisfaction of the immigration authorities that he or she has been continuously present in the United States for at least two years.”
 
Cadman concludes:
 
“There is no excuse for not expanding its reach to the fullest potential permitted by law, certainly not when:
 
• There are somewhere around 11 or 12 million aliens residing and working illegally in the United States;
 
• There are finite resource limits to the number of officers and agents, all of whom could be used more effectively and efficiently with full implementation of expedite removal; and
 
• The immigration courts are so backlogged that the nationwide docket is the highest it's ever been: in excess of 610,000 pending cases as of May 2017, according to Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC).
 
“A decision by Secretary Kelly to expand expedited removal proceedings is clearly the right thing to do; in fact, it's long overdue.”
-----------------
The complete blog, entitled The time has come to expand the reach of expedited removal to its full statutory potential, is posted on the Center for Immigration Studies’ website here.

ICE chief: 80% jump in illegal targets, readies national 'sanctuary' crackdown

Empowered by a president who has "taken the handcuffs off of law enforcement," the nation's chief immigration official revealed Tuesday that deportation targets have surged and that he's planning to deploy more agents and resources to "sanctuary cities" to arrest illegal criminals.

Thomas D. Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview that since Trump entered office, illegal border crossings have crashed by almost 70 percent, "an historic low," arrests inside the country have jumped 40 percent and that demands for illegal criminals in local jails has skyrocketed 80 percent.

"You can like President Trump, not like him, like his policies, not like his policies, but one thing no one can argue with is the effect they've had," said Homan, the former chief ICE enforcement boss and a 30-year immigration agency veteran.

He said that the change in immigration enforcement has been radical — and welcome — under Trump. "You'd think everybody would be celebrating these policies," he said during the 45-minute interview in his office.

One group he says are cheering: Border Patrol and ICE agents. "Now they have meaning to their jobs," said Homan. "What this president has done is taken the handcuffs off of law enforcement officers who are charged with enforcing immigration laws," he added.

The drop in illegal crossings has given ICE a chance to redirect resources to interior United States and immigrants locked up in jails, illegally working jobs and on the run.

A key target is the 300-plus sanctuary cities and counties that do not cooperate with ICE and ignore requests that they detail criminal illegals for ICE arrest and deportation proceedings.

Homan called sanctuaries "ludicrous," adding, "In the America I grew up in, cities didn't shield people who violated the law."

A New York native who took his first immigration job during the Reagan administration, Homan said that he plans to flood sanctuary cities with agents. He has been OK'd to hire 10,000 new agents and many will help track down illegals in those havens.

"The president recognizes that you've got to have a true interior enforcement strategy to make it uncomfortable for them," he said.

He ripped cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco that refuse to let ICE officers into jails to seize illegal criminals. He explained that it is much safer for ICE targets, police and citizens to make the arrest in jails than on city streets.

What's more, he said that the sanctuary policies create more fear in immigrant communities by forcing ICE agents to hunt down fugitives at their homes or work. "I'm going to arrest him and anybody else with him because there is no population off the table any more. So if you really want to tap down the fear in the immigrant community, I would think the counties would want me in their jails," he said.

Homan testified before Congress recently that under Trump, no illegal immigrant is safe from deportation, though the administration is prioritizing criminals, fugitives, threats to national security and those who illegally reentered the U.S.

"I don't think that there is a magic number that we need to get to," said Homan.

"What I want to get to is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business. We're going to enforce the laws on the books without apology, we'll continue to prioritize what we do. But it's not OK to violate the laws of this country anymore, you're going to be held accountable," he added.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com

Oregon GOP Chair Applauds SCOTUS Ruling on Travel Suspension

Wilsonville, OR - The Oregon Republican Party issued the following statement from Chairman Bill Currier in reaction to today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) lifting the lower court injunctions against President Trump’s Executive Order suspending the entry of travelers and refugees from 6 nations identified by both Congress and the Obama Administration as providing insufficient vetting information to keep terrorists out of the U.S.

SCOTUS Rules On Travel Suspension “We applaud the Supreme Court's Nine to Zero ruling restoring the Presidential prerogative to enforce immigration laws and protect the country from threats such as terrorism that were clearly delegated by Congress, but which the misguided lower courts ignored. It is not, and never was, a "Muslim" ban, but rather an effort to ban terrorists and their sympathizers from taking up residence in our neighborhoods where they can do massive harm to innocent civilians,” stated Oregon GOP Chairman Bill Currier.

The Trump Administration asserted that it has clear legal authority under 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President.  However, this authority was largely ignored by lower courts in their rulings blocking implementation of President Trump’s Executive Order.

“Lower courts, such as the frequently reversed 9th Circuit Court, should never have tried to substitute their discretion and authority for that expressly delegated to the Executive Branch on national security,” said Currier. “The ruling also rejects judicial overreach by reaffirming the importance of leaving it to the Executive Branch to negotiate with countries who are either unable or unwilling to give the U.S. Government what it needs to vet visitors and refugees before granting them entry to our country.”

The six countries affected comprise only a small fraction of the world’s 42 Muslim-majority nations and population, and were cited as being one or more of the following:

  1. A state sponsor of terrorism
  2. Significantly compromised by terrorist organizations
  3. An active terrorist conflict zone(s).

“We live in a new era in which terrorist groups like ISIS have vowed to, and in Europe, have succeeded in covertly infiltrating terrorists as refugees and visitors into countries they have targeted for attack," noted Chair Currier. “Today’s SCOTUS ruling rightly puts the safety and security of America First.”

The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. It’s Chairman and officers are dedicated to preserving and advancing Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday 06/26/17–3:00 PM PDT
Contact: ORP Communications Director
communications.director@orgop.org (link sends e-mail) – (503) 902-4671

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IRLI Files Brief Defending Trump Sanctuary City Executive Order

(Washington, D.C.) - Yesterday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed an amicus curiae brief (attached here) in the case of City of Seattle v. Donald J. Trump in support of President Trump's January 25, 2017 Executive Order (EO) cracking down on sanctuary cities. The EO threatens to cut off federal funds to any sanctuary city that does not comply with a federal statute that bars states and localities from prohibiting their employees from sharing immigration status information with the federal government (8 U.S.C. section 1373). Seattle, a notorious sanctuary city, has sued to halt the EO's implementation, claiming it violates the Spending Clause of the Constitution.

Seattle is concerned because it municipal code forbids city officers and employees to "inquire into the immigration status of any person, or engage in activities designed to ascertain the immigration status of any person." In its brief filed today, IRLI argued that Seattle's law violates, and is preempted by, section 1373. Even apart from section 1373, IRLI argued that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with a wider federal program and works to thwart congressional objectives. IRLI concluded that because the city's lawsuit is premised on an unlawful and unconstitutional policy, it should be dismissed.

IRLI's Executive Director Dale Wilcox commented, "This is yet another lawsuit by a city desperate to evade President Trump's emphasis on enhancing public safety through enforcing our immigration laws. Information sharing is a crucial component of that enforcement, and Seattle knows that if cities refuse to cooperate, enforcement will flounder." Wilcox continued, "The court should make clear that sanctuary-city policies like Seattle's are illegal to begin with, even apart from President Trump's Executive Order, and that cities can't legitimately complain about being coerced to refrain from illegal policies."

For additional information, contact: Olivia de la Peña • 202-232-5590 • odelapena@irli.org

 

No apologies: ICE chief says illegal immigrants should live in fear of deportation

Illegal immigrants should be living in fear of being deported, the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday, pushing back against a growing sentiment among Democrats on Capitol Hill and activists across the country who have complained about agents enforcing the laws on the books.

Thomas D. Homan, acting director at ICE, said anyone in the country without authorization can be arrested and those who have been ordered deported by judges must be removed if laws are to have meaning.
 
His comments marked a major shift for an agency that President Obama forbade from enforcing the law when it came to more than 9 million of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Unshackled from Mr. Obama's strictures, agents have dramatically increased the number of arrests.
Advocacy groups are enraged and demand leniency for traumatized immigrants.
 
Mr. Homan makes no apologies.  "If you're in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried,  Mr. Homan testified to the House Appropriations Committee. No population is off the table."
 
The Trump administration is asking for significant boosts in spending for both border and interior enforcement, but it is meeting resistance from Democrats who oppose a crackdown.  Democrats will not accept a penny of funding for a new deportation force or a border wall,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
 
Border Patrol acting Chief Carla Provost defended the 74 miles of fencing that President Trump wants to erect next year, saying the wall will plug holes where illegal activity is still a problem in San Diego and parts of Texas.
 
She said the southwestern border is at medium risk of penetration and needs the wall to assist. She said construction on the 74 miles would start in either March or April.
 
Mr. Homan, meanwhile, said he needs a major infusion of detention beds to hold the larger population of illegal immigrants, now that his agents have been unshackled from the restrictions under Mr. Obama.
 
He said the number of countries refusing to take back their deportees has been cut in half, while the number of jurisdictions looking to have their police and sheriff's deputies trained to process illegal immigrants in their jails has nearly doubled and will likely triple by the end of the year.
 
In addition, some 400,000 illegal immigrants ordered removed by judges but who were ignored under the Obama administration are now back on the list of priorities.
 
All of that means more illegal immigrants to be detained in preparation for deportation.
 
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, told Mr. Homan not to try deporting drunken drivers.  DWI or traffic is not really considered to be the type of people that are hurting our country,  he said.
Mr. Homan, though, said drunken driving sounds like a public safety risk.  "They should be removed," he said.
 
Mr. Homan said anyone in the country without authorization is a target for enforcement.  "We shouldn't wait for them to become a criminal," he said.
 
That angered immigrant rights advocates, who said it showed antipathy toward illegal immigrants.
 
"Wow. How revealing," said Frank Sharry, executive director at America's Voice. "Homan makes it clear that the ICE strategy is to indiscriminately target the entire undocumented population in America and to intentionally spread fear throughout millions of deeply rooted families."  He called Mr. Homan's testimony extremist.
 
Mr. Homan pushed back against such criticism. He said his agents are enforcing the laws as written and no other branch of law enforcement faces the abusive questions his employees do.
 
He said the illegal immigrants deserve the blame for separating families. When a U.S. citizen commits a crime and goes to jail, he said, the police who catch him aren't blamed for keeping him from his family.
 
Mr. Homan said the increased risk of enforcement is part of the reason illegal immigration across the southwestern border is at its lowest level in decades.
Democrats, though, said his officers need to show more discretion.
 
Ms. Lowey raised the case of a 19-year-old man in New York who was arrested on the day of his high school prom, which she said sent the wrong signal.
She said the man had kept out of trouble and was arrested while waiting at a bus stop for school.
 
Mr. Homen defended the arrest as valid. He said the young man committed a crime when he sneaked across the border and ignored an immigration judge's order to be removed.
 
"He lost his case, and because we don't like the results of that case we forget about it?'   Mr. Homan asked Ms. Lowey.  "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling."

Pres. Trump's first 100 days make improvements to immigration enforcement and begin laying the groundwork for worker visa reforms

Tomorrow marks President Donald Trump's 100th day in office, and immigration has been a key component of his 100-day agenda. Thus far, Trump has solely relied on his executive powers to stem the tide of illegal border crossings and beef up interior enforcement. And while he's taken some good first steps in addressing legal immigration, he's yet to take strong action on protecting American workers from the steady flow of cheap foreign labor that drives down wages and increases job competition for workers.

THE HIGH POINTS

Past presidents and candidates have talked tough on immigration, but none have followed through on that tough talk. In fact, a clip from Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union Address is one of the most watched videos we've ever posted on our Facebook page (94 million views). But neither Clinton, George W. Bush, nor Barack Obama were ever committed to ending illegal immigration.

Candidate Trump used some of the toughest pro-enforcement language ever during his White House run, and we've already seen its impact. Border Apprehensions -- the measure used to determine overall illegal border crossings -- are at a 17-year low, and the administration has significantly stepped up interior enforcement efforts across the country.

In just his first week after being sworn in, Pres. Trump signed two Executive Orders aimed at securing the border and strengthening interior enforcement. Those Executive Orders called for:

  • Increases in Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents,
  • Increase in immigration judges,
  • Withholding visas from countries that refuse to repatriate deported aliens,
  • An end to catch-and-release,
  • The construction of more detention facilities for detained illegal aliens along the border,
  • Granting Border Patrol access to federal lands,
  • Ending Pres. Obama's Priority Enforcement Program (PEP),
  • Reinstating Secure Communities and encouraging increased participation from local police in immigration enforcement, and
  • Creation of an office for victims of illegal-alien crimes.

Trump needs money from Congress to accomplish a few of the above points, but his Administration has already moved forward on many of the points using existing funds.

LAYING THE GROUND WORK

Pres. Trump will need help from Congress on several more of his immigration priorities, but he's at least started the discussion on a few of them. Most notably, his FY2018 budget request to Congress asked for funding to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. Congress will need to pass a mandatory E-Verify law to make that request a reality, but budget requests typically reveal the White House's policy priorities for the next fiscal year.

NumbersUSA believes requiring all employers to use E-Verify to end the jobs magnet is the single, strongest step that can be taken in ending illegal immigration and protecting American workers. But over the years, we have also advocated for full implementation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that requires double-layered, reinforced fencing along 700-miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump's campaign mantra was to 'build the wall', and while the details of 'the wall' remain a bit fuzzy, he's continued to push for some sort of barrier construction along the border.

The Administration is also off to a good start at ending sanctuary policies. Both Pres. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have called for withholding federal funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. This week, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that withholding all federal funds from a sanctuary jurisdiction was unconstitutional, but ruled that it may be okay for the administration to withhold federal grants that require local law enforcement to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That's exactly what the Trump Administration aims to do.

There hasn't been much action on legal immigration, but the Trump Administration did step up its efforts in recent weeks on the H-1B issue. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have put tech employers on notice that any misuse of H-1B visas will be investigated, and Trump signed an executive order last week, calling for a review of the H-1B application process. Current federal regulations require that H-1B applications be awarded through a lottery process, but Trump has called for a new process that would award visas to the most skilled or highest paid applicants.

Pres. Trump has done little, yet, to address permanent, legal immigration, but he did include a strong statement in his Joint Address to Congress in February that called for reforming the current legal immigration system to a merit-based system that serves the national interest. He's also met with Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) to discuss their RAISE Act, which would end Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery and reduce overall immigration by up to 50%.

AREAS NEEDING ATTENTION

The Trump Administration has continued Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty, DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump said he would end the program on Day 1 of his presidency, but one of his January Executive Orders, calling for a review of all of the Obama-era immigration orders, specifically excluded a review of DACA. While the renewals and decisions over what to do with the current DACA population may be more difficult, his Administration's refusal to stop issuing NEW work permits flies in the face of his clearly stated campaign promise on that issue.

Trump has also allowed the Optional Training Program (OPT) to continue. OPT allows foreign students who graduate from a U.S. college or university with a STEM degree to stay and work in the U.S. for up to two years. The program places recent American STEM students in direct competition with foreign students for jobs immediately after graduation. OPT was started by George W. Bush, expanded by Barack Obama, and has never been authorized by Congress. It would be easy for the Administration to eliminate the program.

Perhaps the most important immigration lesson of the first 100 days of the Trump Administration is that simply sending a strong message of enforcement is enough to begin to dramatically reduce illegal entries. That alone has been a tremendous success. Yes, there are some unfulfilled immigration-campaign promises and some areas that need more attention, but it's only been 100 days. There's clear evidence that immigration enforcement is improving, and there are hopeful signs that legal immigration reductions could be on the horizon.

 
 

 

Immigration Hawks Ascend to Senior DHS Positions

Two leading advocates for reforming illegal and legal immigration enforcement were appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as senior advisors for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Jon Feere, the former legal analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, and Julie Kirchner, the previous executive director for the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), have both been appointed to senior positions.

Feere, who work with the Trump campaign and transition team on immigration policy, will serve as the senior adviser to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency Director Thomas Homan.

Kirchner, a campaign alum as well, will serve as the senior adviser to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian told Breitbart Texas that the Trump Administration appointed a person who “knows the ins and outs” of immigration when they chose Feere to serve.

“ICE needs somebody like Jon because he’s worked on immigration policy for many years,” Krikorian said. “After eight years of Obama, there were civil servants and people at ICE who weren’t as quite up to date on immigration enforcement.”

FAIR spokesperson Ira Mehlman told Breitbart Texas that Kirchner’s appointment is welcome news.

“They’re both people with long experience and deep knowledge and they’re highly qualified for their positions,” Mehlman said.

Both the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR have long been advocates for increased border security, a wall, reforming foreign guest worker visas and lower levels of legal immigration to help American wages to rise.

The appointments have come with the usual media backlash that the Trump Administration has grown accustomed to.

CNN, for instance, has written that Feere and Kirchner’s appointments have “alarmed” the open borders lobby. The network propped up opposition to the appointments through the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, with Director Heidi Beirich claiming that that the Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR publish “racist” and “xenophobic” reports.

Krikorian, though, said the open borders lobby is only outraged because they know how effective both nominees could be.

“This isn’t a complaint about qualification,” Krikorian told Breitbart Texas. “Jon and these others know what they’re doing and that’s what the anti-borders groups are afraid of.”

John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

More than 80 arrested in Pacific Northwest ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, immigration fugitives

SEATTLE – A previously deported Mexican national charged with child rape, who was recently released by local authorities despite an immigration detainer, is among the 84 foreign nationals arrested during a three-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Alaska, Oregon and Washington targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.

Of those arrested during the enforcement action, which ended Monday, 60 had criminal histories, including prior convictions for sex crimes, drug offenses and domestic violence. In addition to the pending child rape charge, the Mexican national referenced above had prior convictions for assault, domestic violence, and immoral communications with a minor. Others taken into custody during the operation included:

·         A Russian national felon arrested in Portland whose criminal record includes a prior conviction for possession of methamphetamine; and

·         A previously deported Mexican national with pr­­ior convictions for domestic violence and assault.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS*

Driving under the influence

19

Weapon offense

1

Assault

7

Stolen property

1

Larceny

4

Dangerous drugs

1

Domestic violence

3

Lewd or lascivious acts with minor

1

Sex Assault

2

Damage property

1

Larceny from building

2

Drug trafficking

1

Cocaine possession

2

Sex assault carnal abuse

1

Possession of weapon

2

Marijuana possession

1

Amphetamine possession

2

Illegal entry

1

Fraud

1

Traffic offense other

1

Violation of a court order

1

Cocaine sell

1

Heroin possession

1

Meth possession

1

Indecent liberty with a minor

1

Forgery

1

*Note: criminal aliens with multiple prior convictions are categorized based on their most serious conviction.

 

The operation, conducted by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), targeted criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who re-entered the country after being deported and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges.

Some of the individuals arrested during the enforcement action will be presented for federal prosecution for re-entry after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Those not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.

“This operation highlights our commitment to promoting public safety through the pursuit of targeted criminals residing in the U.S. illegally,” said Bryan Wilcox, acting field office director for Seattle ERO. “Our officers will continue in their efforts to create safer communities by identifying and removing those not willing to comply with U.S. laws.”

Last week’s arrestees (77 men and 7 women) included nationals from 12 countries – Mexico (64); Guatemala (8); Honduras (2); El Salvador (1); United Kingdom (1); Cambodia (1); Brazil (1); Laos (1); Philippines (2); Western Samoa (1); Myanmar (1); and Russia (1).

King County accounted for the largest number of arrests during the operation, but ERO personnel conducted enforcement actions in a total of 20 communities.

COUNTY ARREST TOTALS

King

19

Lincoln

3

Washington

13

Thurston

2

Snohomish

9

Grant

2

Multnomah

7

Whatcom

2

Lane

4

Chelan

2

Anchorage

4

Mason

1

Adams

3

Clatsop

1

Benton

3

Umatilla

1

Cowlitz

3

Wasco

1

Clark

3

Deschutes

1

 

ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. These operations involve existing, established Fugitive Operations Teams

During such enforcement operations ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.

# ICE #

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.

For more information, visit: www.ICE.gov.  To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.

Oregon’s Quest for Secure Driver’s Licenses

For over a decade, we’ve been engaged in a battle for a secure driver’s license in Oregon. Much of the drama has been self-inflicted and it’s about time we get with the program and move on.

It started in 2005 when Congress passed, and President Bush signed the Real ID act, which calls for a more secure driver’s license. We don’t have a national ID card, so state-issued driver’s licenses are accepted by the federal government as identification when boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

States have different standards, and so Congress, in response to the 9/11 Commission, set uniform, secure, standards for states to apply. Driven by costs and other considerations, states are in various levels of compliance. For years, Homeland Security has been granting waivers to states, including Oregon, if they make progress. Now, the gig is up.

In 2007, Governor Kulongoski issued an executive order mandating comprehensive and meaningful identification to be issued a driver’s license, which brought Oregon many steps closer to compliance. This is why you have to practically bring your file cabinet down to the DMV to renew your driver’s license.

The main shortfall from full compliance with Real ID is that the DMV does not permanently retain an image of the documentation you provide. In eight years, when you have to renew again, you’ll have to bring the file cabinet back down to the DMV. Indeed, in 2009, the Legislature passed a law which forbids ODOT from expending any resources to comply with the Real ID act.

As the Kulongoski executive order made it harder for persons not legally in the country to get drivers licenses, a solution was sought in creating a “driver card” for those who could not prove legal status in the US. It passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber in a front porch ceremony on May 1, 2013. Since it did not have an emergency clause, it could be challenged by a citizens’ referendum, and it was. In an embarrassment to the legislative establishment, enough signatures were gathered (many by me) and it was put to the people in the form of Measure 88 in 2014. It was repealed by a 2:1 margin and a majority in 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties.

So, as our waiver runs out, I and Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River) have separately introduced bills in the House and the Senate to repeal the prohibition on ODOT and allow the agency to comply with Real ID. This makes even more sense in light of the fact that the DMV has embarked on a $90 million software upgrade, and this could easily be included. Another bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena) creates a new, “Star ID” which complies with Real ID but leaves in place the current driver’s license as a less secure – and I think open to fraud — option.

Let’s not mess this up. Let’s have one Oregon Driver’s License, compliant with Real ID, and quit making me take my file cabinet down to the DMV each time I have to renew.

State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is on the board of directors of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and wants to make boarding a plane easier and more secure.

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