ICE

A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Allegedly Aided Federal Agents in Courthouse Immigration Sting

On Jan. 25, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese pledged his office wouldn't help President Donald Trump deport undocumented immigrants.

"I believe we have a responsibility to nurture a relationship of trust with everyone in our community," Reese said....

As early as Nov. 15, local officials pledged that Portland will remain a "sanctuary city" for undocumented immigrants...

...Reese won't have to contend only with Trump, but with people in his own employ.

In late December, one of Reese's deputies allegedly helped deliver an undocumented immigrant to agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE agents apparently acted using information supplied by Deputy Larry Wenzel...

The Sheriff's Office has opened an internal affairs investigation into Wenzel's actions...

"What Oregon and Portland need to do now is stand up against the Trump administration," says Kasia Rutledge, an attorney with Metropolitan Public Defender Services...

The arrest of Rutledge's client came well before Trump took office Jan. 20...

As WW first reported Jan. 28, plainclothes federal agents wearing T-shirts and jeans have arrested several immigrants in the past two weeks at the Multnomah County Courthouse, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. Defense attorneys and other witnesses tell WW that ICE agents have also demanded names from people who appear to be minorities at the courthouse, and have taken custody of some people on their wanted lists.

It's hard to be sure whether those arrests mark an increase from ICE's typical activity. An ICE spokeswoman confirmed five arrests at or near a courthouse this month...

Local lawyers say the raids suggest a federal immigration agency emboldened by Trump's election and executive orders—and acting in ways that local elected officials may find more effective than they imagined.

"If underneath them their subordinates are sending people to the [ICE] Tacoma Detention Center, there's a problem," defense attorney Chris O'Connor tells WW. "There's no actual plan for the day-to-day interactions."

Multnomah County officials, including Reese, County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury and Presiding Multnomah County Circuit Judge Nan Waller, were alarmed enough to issue a joint statement Jan. 28.

"Anything that increases the fear of people accessing our courts is of grave concern," the statement said. "Now, they may be too afraid to show up."

The ICE arrests in Multnomah County come in the midst of nationwide uproar after Trump signed executive orders hostile to people born in other countries. Trump's orders included a Jan. 25 proposal to deny grant funding to cities that don't detain people for deportation, and a Jan. 27 travel ban blocking people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

In the wake of those orders, ICE and its sister agency, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, emerged as the enforcers of Trump's crackdown...

In Portland, ICE agents made 58 arrests in the month of January, five of them "at or near courthouses in Multnomah County," according to ICE Western regional spokeswoman Virginia Kice...

ICE officials said at least three of the people detained by ICE have significant criminal convictions, but they declined to provide names to verify the information.

Rutledge tells WW that Deputy Wenzel told her client, who faces domestic abuse charges and whose name she declined to provide, to come to the county's "close street supervision" office at the Multnomah County Justice Center on Southwest 3rd Avenue on Dec. 21 for a weekly pretrial check-in.

... the day before his appointment, she says, Wenzel called to tell him to come in specifically at 10 am—which is when the client and his mother found ICE agents waiting.

"When he and his mother came in, ICE was with the deputy, standing there behind the glass window," Rutledge tells WW.

She emailed Wenzel right away. "How did ICE know he was there?" Rutledge asked in an email.

"They asked when he would be here and I told them," Wenzel replied in an email obtained by WW.

After WW asked about Wenzel's actions, Reese issued a new memo to staff saying ICE "will be provided no greater information than is available to the public."...

"I don't think people have thought through the implications," Borg tells WW. "Because it's not just defendants. It's witnesses. It's family members.

"People are going to have to dust off their history books and see what the original definition of 'outlaw' meant. It was people who live outside the protection of the law."

WW staff writers Rachel Monahan and Nigel Jaquiss contributed reporting to this story.

  Read more about A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Allegedly Aided Federal Agents in Courthouse Immigration Sting

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury Tells President Trump: “We Will Stand Up to Bullying”

Officials across the Portland region—including Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese—pledged to defy President Donald Trump's pressure to hold undocumented immigrants for deportation.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Trump's executive order to remove federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" won't cause the county to yield.

"Federal funding is important," Kafoury said in a press conference today. "But we will stand up to bullying."...

(That was always unlikely. As WW reported this morning, to change the existing policy in Multnomah County would defy a U.S. District Court ruling from 2014. In that case, the judge ruled that Clackamas County had violated a woman's constitutional rights by holding her at ICE's request.)...

"People need to feel safe," Reese said. "We need to nurture a relationship to trust."

Reese and Kafoury were joined by County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Causa, SEIU Local 49, Our Oregon, and students from Portland Community College.

"I am here to tell you today that we are not going to turn our back on the most vulnerable members of our community because Donald Trump is threatening us," said Vega Pederson...

Matt De Santos of the ACLU of Oregon declared intentions to sue the White House... Read more about Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury Tells President Trump: “We Will Stand Up to Bullying”

Trump immigration orders force Oregon officials to revisit laws

Local agencies are analyzing President Donald Trump's executive orders that halt federal funding to sanctuary cities and allows law enforcement to perform the functions of immigration officers.

In one executive order , Trump states the federal government has failed in maintaining a federal and state partnership to enforce immigration laws.

The order requires all executive departments and agencies to "employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws in the United States."

The new policy empowers state and local law enforcement agencies to perform the functions of an immigration officer "to the maximum extent permitted by law."

Jerry Moore, Chief of Police for the city of Salem, said the order doesn't change the way Salem Police Department will operate.

"There is a state law that says we don’t enforce immigration laws and that’s how we’ve done business for as long as we can remember," Moore said. "This executive order doesn't really change that, so unless someone tells me that it has precedence over state law - it's business as usual for us."

Moore refers to Oregon Revised Statute 181.850, which discusses enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The statute states law enforcement agencies may not use agency money, equipment or personnel to detect or apprehend people who are only violating federal immigration laws by being foreign citizens in the United States.

Gretchen Bennett, human rights and relations federal compliance coordinator at the city of Salem, said city law enforcement follows the state practice in order to ensure people are not afraid to reach out to law enforcement for emergency help.

Bennett, who said she was speaking on behalf for Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett , said the city is analyzing Trump's executive orders to understand what, if any, potential policy changes are born from the actions.

"We’re in the midst of analyzing it and we’ve been talking with communities and learning about questions and concerns about fears that folks have about this," Bennett said.

Polk County Sheriff Mark Garton said Oregon law enforcement officers do follow protocol in the event they arrest an undocumented immigrant for a crime.

Upon an arrest, officers take fingerprints and send the prints through the National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The center compares the prints with any other people who have been arrested in the national system.

If the prints return with information stating the person is an undocumented immigrant and is a criminal in other country, officers are required to contact the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly known as ICE.

Garton said arresting deputies connect with ICE agents and ask if they would like a hold on the suspect. If ICE requests a hold, a law enforcement agency holds the suspect until they can be released to federal agents.

If ICE is not interested in holding the suspect, Garton said the law enforcement agency still lodges them on local charges.

"So does this order really affect what we do on a daily basis? I don't think so." Garton said. "We do our jobs and follow the laws as they are in place."

Trump's order also calls for a cease of funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law.

"These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic," Trump's order reads. "Tens of thousands of removable aliens have been released into communities across the country, solely because their home countries refuse to accept their repatriation."

Trump also plans on terminating the Priority Enforcement Program, or PEP, in order to reinstitute the "Secure Communities Program." The program was administered by ICE from 2008 to 2014 and resulted in the deportation of more than 166,000 undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes. 

The order includes a call to build a wall on the United States and Mexico border and the federal government to hire an additional 5,000 Border Patrol officers and 10,000 more ICE agents, asylum officers and immigration judges. 

"Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States," Trump said.

While Marion and Polk counties have not formally established themselves as sanctuary cities, officials from both counties will continue following Oregon law and closely assess Trump's orders and subsequent actions.

Jolene Kelley, public information officer for the Marion County Board of Commissioner's Office, said there is no formal definition of "sanctuary city," and the county has not made any formal action to determine that status.

"I think that everybody is watching the federal government to see what happens and see how it may, or could, affect programs," Kelley said.

Regions that have adopted that sanctuary moniker and refuse to comply with federal law face a cut in federal funding.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released a statement in response to Trump's executive order and stood by his city's status as being a sanctuary city.

"We will not be complicit in the deportation of our neighbor," Wheeler said. "We are a city built on immigration."

Cities for Action , a collaborative of mayors throughout the United States who aim to create an inclusive environment for immigrants, released a joint statement in response to Trump's order as well.

"Today’s executive orders do not change who we are or how we govern our cities, and we will fight against attempts to undermine our values and the security of our cities," the statement reads.

Mat dos Santos, legal director of the ACLU of Oregon , said the civil liberties organization called Trump's order "dangerous."

"Locking up asylum seekers that pose no danger or flight risk is unconstitutional and really benefits nobody," dos Santos said.

Trump's order states the secretary of Homeland Security will publish a comprehensive list of "criminal actions" by undocumented immigrants and any jurisdiction that fails to detain undocumented immigrants in a weekly "Declined Detainer Outcome Report."

"I think Trump hopes that local officials will buckle under the threats of stripping of federal funding, but (sanctuary cities) been working with local organizations to protect immigrant communities," dos Santos said.

As local and state government agencies across the nation delve into the executive orders to determine potential outcomes for their respective agencies, dos Santos said he knows one thing for sure.

"We'll see Trump in court," dos Santos said.

Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum were unavailable for comment at the time of publication. Read more about Trump immigration orders force Oregon officials to revisit laws

Forest Grove won't be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants

The mayor thought declaring Forest Grove a "sanctuary city" would be a no-brainer.

About a quarter of the Washington County city's 21,000 residents are Latino...

"They play a significant role in the culture of this community," Truax said.

But Monday night, in a tie vote that has divided the community, the council decided it wouldn't be a sanctuary city....

Councilors said they worried the term is too polarizing. President Donald Trump has vowed to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities...

Sanctuary cities have been around since the 1980s and use a variety of tactics to shield undocumented immigrants. Some prevent local law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of residents. Others refuse to hold suspected undocumented immigrants past their scheduled release dates.

After Trump won the presidency in November, dozens of officials across the country voted to declare sanctuary.

Oregon is, by practice, a sanctuary state. A state law prevents local police officers from inquiring about anyone's immigration status if they have not committed a crime. Still, some Oregon cities and counties have passed symbolic resolutions...

Last year, then Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler said Portland will remain a sanctuary city under his tenure. In December, Corvallis declared itself a sanctuary city. And Beaverton's council unanimously passed a sanctuary city resolution...

Washington County activists want others to follow suit. In January, a crowd rallied outside a Hillsboro City Council meeting to demand that city declare sanctuary....

"I think it would have given all of our residents the opportunity to know Forest Grove is an open and accepting community that honors diversity," Truax said.

The mayor drafted a resolution defining "sanctuary city" as one that is safe for residents, regardless of their immigration status, one that ensures undocumented immigrants can call police or fire crews for help without fear of being deported.

About 150 people packed a Jan. 9 public hearing. Six people opposed the resolution. Thirty-four people supported the idea. Most said they wanted the city to use the word "sanctuary" in its resolution.

"When cities declare that they're sanctuaries, those people know for a fact that they are welcome there, that they won't be torn away from their families...

Since then, 53 more people have sent in supportive comments, while two people wrote to oppose the resolution.

"When I see that kind of imbalance between those in favor and those opposed, to me my vote was a no-brainer," Truax said.

Other councilors agonized.

"This is the hardest decision that I have ever had to make," said Ron Thompson, who has spent 15 years on the council.

Thompson said he wants to make the city a better place for minorities. He has worked to add low-income housing for migrant workers. But he also worried approving the resolution might cause residents to revolt and vote down a public safety levy that pays for nearly a quarter of the town's police and fire bureaus.

"I don't want the sanctuary thing to split our community so that we are not working together to make improvements," Thompson said.

Timothy Rippe, a retiree who joined the council in November, said he knows Forest Grove residents have experienced "real fear, real vulnerability" following Trump's election...

Ultimately, Rippe decided he had to vote against declaring sanctuary. The label is too polarizing, he said, and Forest Grove can't risk losing any federal money. Other vulnerable residents depend on the dollars, he said.

According to staff reports -- printed in both English and Spanish -- Forest Grove will receive about $4 million in federal aid this year. The city is expecting $325,000 for a senior center kitchen remodel, $240,000 for sewer work and $3.6 million for road improvements.

Rippe worried especially about the money earmarked for the senior center. Meals on Wheels plans to use the kitchen, he said, to deliver food to the elderly.

"I just don't see how we can morally say one group is more important than another group," Rippe said. "We all have parents and grandparents who are getting older and more vulnerable. To jeopardize their well-being is not taking care of the entire community."

Matthew Vandehey, a new councilor who voted against Truax's proposal, said he worried declaring sanctuary would have given undocumented immigrants "a false sense of security."

"Throughout history, both church and political sanctuary offered immunity to arrest," Vandehey said. "That is how it can be interpreted, but that is not what the city can provide."

If federal immigration agents want to raid Forest Grove, local officials won't be able to stop residents from being deported.

Bridget Cooke, executive director of Adelante Mujeres, said people at her Latino community nonprofit are "saddened but not disheartened.

"We were hoping for a shout out of support, instead we got a whisper," Cooke said. "But we can work with that."

Truax said he is "deeply disappointed" and unsure of what to do next.

"A 3-3 tie is almost worse than a no vote," Truax said. "It really leaves us in a quandary."

Only a few hours after the meeting, Truax said he'd already heard from many angry residents on both sides.

"Make no mistake: When I talk to people who share with me disappointment right now, I say I share their disappointment," Truax said. "We will struggle on. The arc of justice, as Dr. King says, bends. But it takes time." Read more about Forest Grove won't be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants

Oregon Illegal Immigrants to Protest Ahead of Trump Inauguration

Hundreds of illegal immigrants living in Oregon are expected to protest at the State Capitol against expected tighter immigration enforcement under President-Elect Donald Trump, just days before his Inaugural Address.

Over 500 Oregon residents and illegal immigrants are expected to attend the event, according to the Portland Tribune. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) will also be in attendance at the rally.

The open borders organization One Oregon asked residents to “denounce Trump’s agenda of hate and exclusion” by joining the protest.

“We must unite to stop Trump’s first 100 days of hate,” One Oregon officials wrote in a news release. “We call on Oregonians, community organizations, and our local elected leaders to join us.”

The group objects to Trump’s immigration plans, which includes building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico southern border, reducing legal immigration levels, and deporting criminal illegal immigrants.

During a recent news conference, Trump said the building of the border wall would “start immediately” after he takes office on January 20, Breitbart News reported.

I could wait about a year and a half until we finish our negotiations with Mexico, which will start immediately after we get into office,” Trump said during his recent news conference. “But I don’t want to wait. Mike Pence is leading an effort to get final approvals through various agencies and through Congress for the wall to begin.”

“I don’t feel like waiting a year or year and a half,” Trump continued. “We’re going to start building,”

In California, one of Oregon’s neighboring states, open border allies like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have already concocted plans that attempt to halt the border wall, though the plans seem unlikely to change anything, Breitbart Texas reported.

“There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits,” Newsom said of trying to stop the border wall while being interviewed on a local podcast. “All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration.”

John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder. Read more about Oregon Illegal Immigrants to Protest Ahead of Trump Inauguration

ICE Deportations Hit 10-Year Low

WASHINGTON (January 12, 2017) – The Center for Immigration Studies new report analyzes the FY 2016 enforcement statistics from the Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), released by Department of Homeland Security on the last work day of the calendar year, on the eve of a holiday weekend. The deportation numbers credited to ICE are the lowest since 2006.

Aliens removed from the interior in 2016 have declined 73 percent from 2009, the year President Obama took office; and, unfortunately for community safety, there has been a 60 percent decline from the peak in interior criminal alien removals in 2010.

Unlike in past years, the annual enforcement reports contain only a fraction of the important statistics that traditionally have been published on the work of the immigration agencies. Past numbers allowed observation of historical trends and comparisons that are more difficult to make now.

View the full report at: http://cis.org/ICE-deportations-hit-10-yr-low.

Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s director of policy studies and author or the report, lamented, “DHS discloses few actual statistics now, and even fewer trends. Instead they claim success because most of those removed were 'priorities,' not because the agencies made any headway on the illegal immigration problem. The new reports are of interest only to those who believe that enforcement should be constrained as much as possible. They are of no use to the rest of us who want to know what the DHS agencies actually did all year with taxpayer funds.”

Key Findings

  • Deportations credited to ICE in 2016 increased by two percent. All of the increase was in cases of aliens arrested by the Border Patrol, not interior enforcement.
  • Interior deportations fell from 69,478 in 2015 to 65,322 in 2016, out of a population of illegal aliens now estimated at 12 million.
  • Deportations of criminal aliens fell from 63,127 in 2015 to 60,318 in 2016, out of an estimated population of 2 million criminal aliens.
  • The number of deportations under the Obama administration is not easily comparable to prior administrations because of the number of border cases included, but it certainly is not record-breaking, as Obama has claimed. The most deportations occurred under the Clinton administration.
  • DHS maintains that CBP arrests have always been a large share of ICE deportations, but in fact this is a new development under the Obama administration. In prior administrations only one-third of deportations credited to ICE were border cases; now about two-thirds are border cases.

A peek behind the curtains at ICE

 
Dan Cadman is a retired INS/ICE official with many years’ experience enforcing immigration laws back in that distant era when there was some actual enforcement of those laws.  He now writes for the Center for Immigration Studies, exposing case after case of malfeasance in our current immigration program. 
 
He applauds candidate Donald Trump’s promise to triple the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) deportation officers, and offers a fascinating inside look at how the US ICE of today developed, and how it came to be functioning as it does today.  The story is as byzantine as any movie Hollywood could dream up.
 
Here are some excerpts from his article of Sept. 7, 2016, A Closer Look at Trump’s Promise to Triple the ICE Officer Corps:
 
“Trump was careful to say that he would triple the number of deportation officers in ICE. That was a measured distinction — a recognition that ICE is itself divided into two somewhat incompatible functions. The two divisions within ICE are Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO — the 'deportation officers') and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI — the special agents). HSI probably has a bit more than half of the agent/officer corps within ICE. They are paid at a higher grade level. Once upon a time, HSI maintained the fiction that it did the ‘higher level’ immigration enforcement work while ERO was simply there to ‘pick up the bodies’. That was never really true, because when ICE was created the former U.S. Customs agents, disliking their shotgun wedding with the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers, undertook a hostile takeover of the investigations division and ruthlessly weeded out the immigration types, forcing them into ERO. Still, it recognized the need for at least a certain amount of maintenance work in the immigration arena. Even that facade has crumbled, in no small measure because this administration would much rather that the HSI agents do no immigration enforcement:   …
 
“HSI at the outset had a robust program designed to combat alien smuggling. This was in no small measure because it had inherited a seasoned cadre of anti-smuggling investigators from the INS. They too found a hostile work environment within HSI, a general lack of appetite for their work, and either voluntarily or under pressure migrated into ERO. Now alien smuggling efforts constitute significantly less than 10 percent of HSI's agent productive hours.  …
 
“Trump may not be fully aware of this ‘inside baseball’ look at ICE's structure and dysfunction as it has developed under the Obama administration, but it is clear that someone who is giving him advice on immigration matters is extremely knowledgeable about the current lamentable state of affairs; …
 
“Whoever it is that provided the advice to Mr. Trump, let me offer a word of thanks on behalf of the many Americans who are deeply concerned over the immigration vacuum that has developed, and let us hope that the next administration takes its responsibility to enforce the immigration laws seriously.”
 

The Miscarriage of Justice Department

The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

On Thursday District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas found that Obama Administration lawyers committed misconduct that he called “intentional, serious and material.” In 2015 he issued an injunction—now in front of the Supreme Court—blocking Mr. Obama’s 2014 order that rewrote immigration law to award legal status and federal and state benefits to nearly five million aliens.

When 26 states sued to block the order in December 2014, Justice repeatedly assured Judge Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security would not start processing applications until February 2015 at the earliest. Two weeks after the injunction came down, in March, Justice was forced to admit that DHS had already granted or renewed more than 100,000 permits.

Justice has also conceded in legal filings that all its lawyers knew all along that the DHS program was underway, despite what they said in briefs and hearings. One DOJ lawyer told Judge Hanen that “I really would not expect anything between now and the date of the hearing.” As the judge notes, “How the government can categorize the granting of over 100,000 applications as not being ‘anything’ is beyond comprehension.”

Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.

More to the point, an attorney’s first and most basic judicial obligation is to tell the truth. Judge Hanen concludes that the misrepresentations “were made in bad faith” and “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” Many a lawyer has been disbarred for less.

As a result, Judge Hanen ordered that any Washington-based Justice lawyer who “appears or seeks to appear” in any state or federal court in the 26 states must first attend a remedial ethics seminar on “candor to the court.” He also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prepare a “comprehensive plan” to prevent such falsification. Such extraordinary judicial oversight is usually reserved for companies with a pattern of corruption or racially biased police departments. Justice is sure to appeal, and whether Judge Hanen has the jurisdiction to impose his plan is uncharted legal territory.

Yet the misconduct he has unmasked should trouble Americans of all political persuasions. Prosecutors often abuse their powers in run-of-the-mill cases. But this is a constitutional challenge with major consequences for the separation of powers, and the deceit must have required the participation and coordination of dozens of political appointees and career lawyers. That suggests a serious institutional failure, not mere rogue actors.

Main Justice may have figured that the state challenge would be tossed for lack of standing, and thus its dissembling wouldn’t matter. This would mean that President Obama’s refusal to recognize the legal limits of his executive power has spread a culture of lawlessness among his lawyers too.

AG Lynch could salvage the credibility of the Justice Department by explaining how this breakdown happened. Whether you worry about how Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would wield government powers, everyone has an interest in an honest accounting of the facts that were denied to Judge Hanen. Read more about The Miscarriage of Justice Department

President Obama: Accessory to the Crimes Committed By Illegal Aliens?

On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security conducted a hearing on the topic, “The Real Victims of a Reckless and Lawless Immigration Policy: Families and Survivors Speak Out on the Real Cost of This Administration’s Policies.”

I urge you to watch the entire video of that important hearing...

The witnesses at this hearing were: Sheriff Charles Jenkins of Frederick County, Maryland; Michelle Root, the mother of Sarah Root; Laura Wilkerson,  the mother of Joshua Wilkerson; and Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the United Methodist Church.

The timing of the hearing could not have been better because the day before, on Monday, April 18th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the administration's implementation of the DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents)...

...President Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden to proclaim that “since Congress failed to act” he was going to take action. Of course to Obama, his concept of a "failure of Congress to act” was the refusal of Congress to pass bad legislation. When Congress votes down bad legislation, they most certainly are acting.

Obama also deceptively said that this was about children, kids and young people, even though illegal aliens as old as 31 years of age could apply for this program...

...Incidentally, I cannot pass up the opportunity to note that while the term “alien” has come under attack by Obama and his supporters, the open borders anarchists, the term “DREAMers” is derived from the acronym for the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors” Act. 

The “a” in DREAMers stands for “aliens.” ...

The congressional hearing that was conducted on the heels of oral arguments at the Supreme Court illuminated the level of carnage that Obama's executive orders, policy decisions and misuse of prosecutorial discretion has unleashed on America and Americans.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, opened the hearing with his statement that set the stage and the tone for what would follow. Breitbart.com used one of Rep. Gowdy's statements as the title for the article “Trey Gowdy: More Illegal Immigrants Convicted of Crimes At Large in the U.S. Than The Population of Pittsburgh.” Gowdy noted that simply stating that there are more than 350,000 known criminal aliens at large throughout the United States is a statistic and statistics are often not persuasive, so he thought he needed to put that huge number in perspective. And, indeed, he did....

Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas had previously chaired the House Immigration Subcommittee and the House Judiciary Committee...

Smith's understandable outrage at the April 19th hearing became readily apparent when he stated rhetorically that he wondered if President Obama might be an accessory to the crimes committed by illegal aliens since he has implemented policies that he knows are going to result in the loss of life to innocent Americans, noting that the administration had released from custody some 100,000 aliens who had been convicted of committing serious crimes. He also noted that although it has been estimated that illegal aliens account for about 3% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% of all murders -- making illegal aliens 10 times more likely to commit murder than anyone else.

Congressman Smith came up with some additional staggering and infuriating statistics. He noted that of the 100,000 aliens that Obama had released from custody, 473 had been previously convicted of committing homicides, 375 of these criminal aliens had been convicted of kidnapping, 890 of these released criminal aliens had been previously convicted for committing sexual assaults and others of this stellar group of “pre-citizens” (the term I decided to use when, during the Carter administration all INS personnel were told to stop using the term “illegal alien” to describe aliens illegally present in the United States) had been previously convicted of committing 10,731 assaults...

As bad as these statistics are, Smith went on to report that since the release of these criminal aliens, many have gone on to further their criminal careers by committing 124 additional (known) homicides from 2010 until 2014 and an additional 1,423 sexual assaults.

Trey Gowdy noted that people tend to not pay attention to statistics so he decided to compare the number of criminal aliens currently at large with the population of a major U.S. city.

...two of the witnesses who testified at the congressional hearing, as I noted at the beginning of this article, were Michelle Root, the mother of Sarah Root, and Laura Wilkerson, the mother of Joshua Wilkerson.

Ms. Root and Ms. Wilkerson both lost their children to illegal aliens.

The title of a Breitbart.com news article posted on the day of the hearing was based on Michelle Root's poignant and heart-breaking prepared testimony at the hearing: “Mother of Daughter Killed by Illegal: His Bail Was ‘Less Than it Cost to Bury My Baby.’

The illegal alien in this case was released on bail and it is believed he fled to his native Honduras, availing himself use of the “escape hatch” foreign criminals and terrorists frequently avail themselves of: the ability to flee our nation to escape the long reach of the law.

The day after the hearing CNS News posted a report about the compelling testimony of Laura Wilkerson at that hearing in an article that summed up the anguished mother's demands of our elected “representatives.”

The title of that article was, “Mother of Teen Murdered by Illegal Immigrant Tells Congress: ‘Do Something – It Is Your Job.’

Wilkerson’s prepared testimony provided horrific details about the torture and murder of her high school student son by Hermilo Vildo Moralez, an illegal alien.

Sheriff Charles Jenkins of Frederick County, Maryland discussed how since the “surge” of “unaccompanied minors” the high schools and even lower grade schools have witnessed a massive increase in gang activity by those aliens who flooded across our southwest border. Sheriff Jenkins noted that the majority of those gang members who have been arrested arrived across that border after 2013...

Rep. Bob Goodlatte is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and participated in this hearing. His final statement in his prepared testimony will serve as the conclusion for my commentary today:

By releasing known criminal aliens and refusing to secure our border, the Administration has sent a clear message to the American people that their safety and security are far less important than ensuring that these individuals remain here. I want to see these dangerous policies stopped, and I will continue working to stand in the way of President Obama’s pen and phone. The real costs of illegal immigration are something no family should be forced to pay.

Two arrested in Medford slaying

Medford police on Wednesday arrested both the suspected shooter in a downtown Medford homicide and the man they believe egged him on.

Shane Anthony "Scarface" Zornes, 25, of Spokane, who is suspected of fatally shooting 27-year-old Isaac Deleon early Sunday morning on Bartlett Street, was arrested by Medford police detectives and other law enforcement in the small town of Rosalia, Wash., near Spokane.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said two Medford detectives, Whitman County sheriff's deputies and Spokane police officers surrounded the home of an associate of Zornes Wednesday.

"He came out with his hands up and complied with officers' orders," Budreau said.

Zornes will be extradicted to Jackson County to face a charge of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, he said.

Medford police also added murder charges against Ruben Escareno Marmolejo, 30, of Spokane, Wash., whom they believe told Zornes to shoot Deleon, a Central Point resident.

Marmolejo was arrested on a Washington warrant listing drug charges about 30 minutes after the shooting in the area of Crater Lake Avenue and Bennett Street in Medford. Marmolejo was questioned about possible involvement in the homicide at the time, but was jailed Sunday on the drug charges, police said, and has been held in the Jackson County Jail since then.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted Zornes and Marmolejo on murder charges late Wednesday afternoon. The indictment charged Zornes with murder and criminal conspiracy to commit murder, and Marmolejo on murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder.

The grand jury heard from six witnesses Wednesday, including Medford police detectives Justin Ivens and William Ford and three civilian witnesses. Testimony took about 50 minutes, according to a release from prosecutors, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz and Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook. The grand jury deliberated for about five minutes before announcing that an indictment had been issued.

Budreau said detectives have yet to interview Zornes, and couldn't say how well Deleon knew Marmolejo and Zornes.

"We don't believe they were strangers," Budreau said.

Budreau said investigators don't believe gang activity was involved.

According to police reports, Deleon was walking near Bartlett and Main streets with friends at 2:15 a.m. Sunday when Zornes, Marmolejo and a third male approached them. After they talked for a short period, Zornes allegedly pulled a handgun out and shot Deleon in the chest and fled east.

The investigation so far has found no criminal culpability for a third person of interest who was with Zornes and Marmolejo. The third person of interest was later interviewed and released.

"Although he fled on foot, that doesn't constitute a criminal charge of murder," Budreau said. "He didn't have any criminal liability."

Police had tracked Zornes to the Motel 6 on Biddle Road in Medford at noon Monday, but just missed him. While they were canvassing the area, a witness claimed that a man matching Zornes' description reportedly tried to sell him two handguns in the parking lot of Witham Truck Stop Restaurant.

Budreau said that with the two suspects in the shooting captured, investigators will be better able to determine the reason behind Deleon's death. He added the cause of the shooting is still under investigation, and likely won't be divulged until Zornes' and Marmolejo's trials.

"As far as all of the stuff leading up to this, that's still under investigation," Budreau said.

NOTE:  MARMOLEJO, RUBEN ESCARENO - ICE HOLD

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