judiciary

Pres. Trump tells it like it is

In an interview last Sunday, April 28, President Trump describes the crisis at the border in plain terms.  His colorful language is well-suited to getting the meanings across without cover of diplomacy.

From a Fox News report:

Excerpts:

President Trump told “Sunday Morning Future”’ that illegal immigrants are pouring into the country at unprecedented rates “because our economy is so good’’ and ‘‘everyone wants a piece of it’" -- and, he asserted, Democrats have now provided major incentives for illegal immigrants to bring children with them as a legal shield.

‘’You have to have Perry Mason involved” in order to fight some immigration challenges and enforce border security, Trump said, alluding to the backlog of immigration cases and a recent Ninth Circuit ruling requiring that asylum applicants be allowed to go before a federal judge.

"We’re moving people out so fast," he added. "The problem is we have to register them, we have to bring them to court.  Another country just says sorry, you can’t come into our country and they walk them out.  In our country you have to bring them to court, you have to have Perry Mason involved, I mean, you know, it’s all legal.  You have lawyers standing at the border, our people, lawyers, wise guys standing at the border, signing people up."

Trump continued: "Every time they catch a cold they try and blame Border Patrol.  It’s a disgrace what’s going on, and it could be solved in 15 minutes if the Democrats would give us the votes, it would be over."

"What we need is new laws that don’t allow this so when somebody comes in we say sorry, you got to go out.  . ... We have a court system with 900,000 cases behind it. They have a court that needs to hear 900,000 cases," Trump said, referring to overloaded immigration and asylum courts. "It's a system Congress can fix -- and they don't get off their ass."

Trump called the situation at the border like "Disneyland" now that purported family units cannot be separated for sustained periods. Under the administration's "no-tolerance policy," adults who crossed the border with children were charged with illegal entry into the U.S. -- and, shortly afterwards, had to be separated from minors in their group under the Flores decree.

"We -- we go out and we stop the separation," Trump said. "The problem is you have 10 times more people coming up with their families.  It’s like Disneyland now.  You know, before you’d get separated so people would say let’s not go up.  Now you don’t get separated and, you know, while that sounds nice and all, what happens is you have -- literally you have 10 times more families coming up because they’re not going to be separated from their children."

Read the complete news report here.

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Courthouses as Sanctuaries?

There are over 300 jurisdictions today that obstruct cooperation with federal immigration efforts, by enacting laws or policies prohibiting police agencies from honoring immigration detainers or providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with the information needed to identify and apprehend alien criminals.

One of those sanctuaries is Multnomah County, Ore., in which an activist open-borders mentality apparently percolates through all three branches of government.

The county sheriff was recently interviewed after his office released a convicted sex offender rather than tender the alien to ICE on the detainer it had filed — a routine occurrence in that sheriff's office. The sheriff defended his decision by claiming the office couldn't afford to expend resources "toward immigration enforcement". I'm hard pressed to figure out exactly what resources are needed to simply hand an alien criminal over to ICE, or how the community's safety is better served by that choice.

But the sheriff's actions pale in comparison to those of Multnomah County judge Monica Herranz, who is "under internal investigation" after it's alleged that she helped an illegal alien escape from her courtroom rather than end up in the hands of waiting ICE agents. She apparently escorted him through back corridors available only to court employees and on to freedom. This happened in late February. ICE agents brought it to the attention of the U.S. Attorney's Office, whose chief, Billy Williams, an Obama administration appointee, apparently then simply took the complaint back to the Multnomah County judiciary for said "internal investigation" rather than do his job by convening a grand jury to begin the process of indicting and prosecuting Judge Herranz for harboring and shielding from detection an alien illegally in the United States — a federal felony (see 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii)).

It's been more than a month now and there is little reason to think that the matter is being handled in any way other than sweeping it under the rug. I'm presuming that Williams was one of those Obama holdovers whose resignation was recently requested by new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (I hope so.) Perhaps it's time for someone under Sessions' leadership at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to revisit the patently obvious shuffling-off of this outrageous and prosecutable offense, and to direct the U.S. Attorney's Office to do its job.

But following on the heels of this judge's disgraceful and illegal conduct — assuming it to be true, and all indications are that it is — how has the judiciary generally reacted?

Rather than express outrage at the conduct, or speak in a measured way about the proper role of the judiciary, California's chief justice weighed in to blast renewed federal immigration enforcement efforts under the new administration, and called ICE presence at courthouses an assault against the rule of law.

Washington State's chief justice also got involved and wrote to John Kelly, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to urge him to direct ICE agents to stay away from courthouses by declaring them to be "sensitive locations".

Since then, both DOJ and DHS have rejected the suggestion that courthouses should be put off limits, and they're right to have done so. Think about the whole thing for a moment: officers of the law being told that courthouses, those bastions of the law, are out of bounds? How logical is that?

At any rate, judges need to accept the reality that ICE agents are at those courthouses because it is one of the few avenues available to them to take alien criminals into custody when it becomes evident that the police or sheriff's office refuse to cooperate. It would be in everyone's best interest that custody transfers take place in a secure location like a county jail — but when that opportunity is by denied to them by foolish and misplaced sanctuary policies, ICE agents go where they must to do their jobs.

Of course, following the declination of DHS and DOJ to pursue such a course, along comes a member of Congress to file a bill attempting to force the matter through enactment of a law. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, from Oregon (no surprise), has joined with several other Democratic colleagues to introduce the "Protecting Sensitive Locations Act".

This is typical. If Democrats had their way, they would simply legislate away the ability of ICE agents to do their jobs by making the "sensitive locations" list so large and cumbersome that nothing would be left.

It's already been made hard enough in the past eight years through a horrendous admixture of former White House policy, and activist judicial decisions:

Worksites? Nope, pretty much off the table. Why actually do enforcement operations to remove aliens working illegally at various employer sites? Just make the pretense through occasional paperwork audits.

Homes? Heaven forbid! What kind of country is this, you jackbooted minions of the law?

Colleges or universities? How dare you intrude on this sacred institution of learning? Our students need their safe spaces.

Jails, prisons, sheriff's offices, or police booking stations? Absolutely not. How dare you try to "commandeer" our resources by asking for information or trying to take custody of an alien on our premises?

You get the idea.

But to go back to the matter of the judiciary: When asked during his confirmation hearings, newly invested Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was asked about tweets from the president lambasting the judiciary, which he dutifully lamented in his gentlemanly way, saying among other things, "I find that disheartening and I find that demoralizing."

My own take is that the current atmosphere of disrespect for the judiciary — by the public as well as the president — is in large measure a self-inflicted wound.

The question in many minds is: Why, exactly, do we support an institution, at least at the federal level, in which individuals are given lifetime sinecures for jobs in which they themselves are the only ones who hold the power to decide the limit of their power? This leads ultimately to an unbridled lack of restraint and the inevitable taint of politicization into the third branch of government, the only one of the three intended specifically to avoid that taint.

Perhaps it is time we in America undertook a reformation to see them systemically defrocked of such unlimited lifetime power. After all, the only members of the federal judiciary for whom this appears to be a constitutional requirement (and the language even there is not straightforward) are members of the Supreme Court. Legislative change would suffice for all of the rest.

I am not the first to make such a suggestion, nor to observe that lifetime appointments have not served to preclude politicization of the judiciary. If judges have come to see themselves as demigods, it is our own fault, for we have allowed them to invest themselves with those qualities. A judge who had to consider his future might be more prudent in the present.


 

Oregon judge accused of helping illegal immigrant escape under investigation

An Oregon judge is being investigated for allegedly helping an illegal immigrant evade Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in January, by letting the DWI suspect slip out through her own private entrance.

The Jan. 27 incident could land Judge Monica Herranz in serious trouble if she is shown to have helped Diddier Pacheco, 22, escape her Multnomah County courtroom as federal agents waited outside to deport him.

“This individual was allowed to leave that courtroom through a doorway that is not a public doorway, and which ultimately led to his ability to leave the courthouse undetected by ICE,” said U.S. Attorney Billy Williams.

“I found my client, told him that I’d seen ICE agents outside, that I had no way to know if they were there for him or not, but it was possible.”

- John Schlosser, attorney for Diddier Pacheco

Herranz is now under internal investigation by the Multnomah County Court Administration. She is cooperating with the probe, which is expected to be completed within a week.

The options for how Pacheco exited Herranz’ courtroom are limited, as there are only three doors. One is used by the Sheriff’s Department to bring inmates in and out. Another is used by the public and the last for the judge and courtroom staff to get back to their offices. It also leads to a staircase which goes to a first floor exit.

Pacheco’s attorney John Schlosser says he doesn’t know how his client left the courtroom. But he acknowledged both knew there were ICE agents inside the courthouse who might be there to arrest Pacheco.  He had passed several agents on his way into the courtroom.

“I found my client, told him that I’d seen ICE agents outside, that I had no way to know if they were there for him or not, but it was possible,” said Schlosser.

Federal law makes it a crime to “conceal, harbor or shield from detection” illegal immigrants. The U.S. Attorney in Portland decided not to prosecute after ICE officials told him they were opposed to an investigation of the judge. Instead, Williams met with most of the judges in the county and made it clear similar actions in the future would not be tolerated.

Herranz, a board member of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, is still working in the Multnomah County courts, but she could face internal discipline once the investigation is finished.

“I don’t want anything that in the eyes of the public undermines the integrity and the neutrality of the justice system being done,” said Presiding Judge Nan Waller.

Lars Larson, a nationally syndicated conservative talk show host based in Portland thinks Herranz should be finished on the bench and even lose her license to practice law.

“I think the judge broke the law,” said Larson, “I think as a lawyer, her ticket should probably be punched. I think she helped a criminal escape.”

Herranz declined a request by Fox News for a comment. Pacheco was caught by ICE agents outside the same courthouse two weeks later following another hearing. He’s been taken to an ICE detention facility in New Mexico where he’s awaiting deportation.

How Attorney General Jeff Sessions could make it easier to deport immigrants

The Department of Justice hired 59 immigration judges in 2016.

There are more immigration judges now – 296 – than at any point in the agency’s history. Given the 500,000-case backlog in the immigration court system, that current hiring spree is not expected to change.

But something that is expected to change is the person who decides who future immigration judges will be. Immigration judges are employees of the Department of Justice and, as head of that agency, the incoming attorney general will have a say in who is hired.

“Whoever is ultimately confirmed to head the Department of Justice is hugely significant,” said Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez, law professor at the University of Denver who runs a website that follows developments in immigration law and detainment policies.

For attorney general, President-Elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeff Sessions, a Republican Senator from Alabama who has made a name for himself as one of the most anti-immigrant voices in Washington.

The National Review, a conservative news magazine, credited Sessions with single-handedly destroying immigration reform attempts in 2004 and 2014. He is strongly opposed to illegal immigration and is also in favor of limiting legal immigration because he believes it harms domestic workers.

Sessions, or whoever the head of the Department of Justice is, can hire judges who will decide deportation, asylum and all immigration cases over the next four years.

During 2016's hiring spree, immigration judges were hired at courts throughout the country. However, since January 2015, the court in Imperial County has not had a sitting judge. It is the only immigration court in the country to have a vacant bench.

The case backlog in Imperial County is so large that hearings are being scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Julio Cesar Mendez, 42, has been fighting a deportation case in Imperial County since 2009.

“I’ve been waiting all those years,” he said. “It is very difficult, very stressful and frustrating. I don’t have a criminal charge.”

Mendez hasn’t had a court hearing since 2009. His next hearing is currently scheduled for Dec. 2017 but Mendez suspects that it will get pushed back.

While he waits, Mendez can stay in the country and pay $600 each year to apply for an annual work permit. He would like to buy a house, but the bank wants him to pay 30 percent upfront because of his status, which he cannot afford from the money he makes installing and repairing air conditioning units.

Mendez, who has one son at UCLA and another in high school who has been accepted to California State University, Fullerton, has thought of trying to move the case to immigration courts in San Diego or Los Angeles, but the motion costs $1,000 to file and there is no guarantee a judge will grant it.

Sessions could push current immigration judges, who do not share his politics, into early retirement by transferring them to undesirable locations like the Imperial courthouse.

“Short of firing, life can be made difficult or unpleasant for employees,” Garcia Hernandez said. “Superiors can increase workloads or transfer them to unattractive locations. These are highly qualified professionals with deep ties to a particular community so the prospect of being transferred may be enough for them to say, 'You know what, I might just do something else.'”

There is precedent for attorney generals pushing people out of the Department of Justice.

In 2003, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft asked five members of the Board of Immigration Appeals – a panel that reviews the decisions of immigration judges – to find new jobs. Critics saw it as a purge of their most pro-immigration members while the Department of Justice defended the move as a way to streamline the appeals process, according to media reports at the time.

If confirmed by Congress, Sessions will play a key role in realizing Trump’s campaign promises of deporting millions of immigrants and securing the U.S. borders.

As attorney general, he would not only be in charge of who he hires but also how immigration judges are trained. One way he could influence what kind of judges are hired is by prioritizing those with previous experience as prosecutors for the Department of Homeland Security who work deportation cases, Garcia Hernandez said.

“Immigration judges are employees of the justice department,” Garcia Hernandez said. “Just like any other employee of the Justice Department, they answer to the AG.”

Court dismisses lawsuit against Oregon Measure 88!

Over 6 months ago, 5 alleged illegal aliens, identified only by their initials and two illegal alien special interest groups, filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Eugene to overturn the defeat of Measure 88 and to restore SB 833 - providing state-issued photo ID in the form of driver cards to those who could not prove they are legally present in the U.S.
 
In the general election of 2014 nearly a million Oregon voters said NO, 35 of 36 counties voted NO, and all 5 congressional districts voted NO on giving state issued photo ID to illegal aliens. But, on the one year anniversary of the overwhelming defeat of driver cards, 5 alleged illegal aliens filed a lawsuit to overturn that resounding NO vote.
 
Today, the court has DISMISSED the meritless and frivolous case. The vote of Oregon citizens stands.
 
From the judges’ published opinion:
 
Under the Oregon Constitution, Oregon voters retain the right of referendum to approve or reject legislation enacted by the Oregon legislature. Or. Const. art. IV,§ 1(3)(a) ("The people reserve to themselves the referendum power, which is to approve or reject at an election any Act, or pati thereof, of the Legislative Assembly that does not become effective earlier than 90 days after the end of the session at which the Act is passed."). "When a referendum is invoked, the act of the legislature then becomes merely a measure to be voted on by the people, and, if the people vote in the affirmative, the measure becomes an act; if they vote in the negative, the measure fails."
 
Nearly a million voters said NO - and now the Court is standing with us. NO driver cards for those who can't prove they are legally present in the country.
 

 

Related news release
 
Victory in Oregon!
 
 
Immigration Reform Law Institute
25 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 335
Washington, DC 2001
 
 
Protecting the right of Americans to govern themselves 
 
May 16, 2016
 
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, a federal judge in Oregon dismissed a lawsuit (opinion attached here) brought by five admitted illegal aliens and two illegal alien special interest groups that requested the court force the State of Oregon to grant driving privileges to illegal aliens. In January, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (“IRLI”), along with Jill Gibson of the Gibson Law Firm, LLC, filed a motion to intervene in the suit and a motion to dismiss the case as lacking merit on behalf of their client Oregonians for Immigration Reform (“OFIR”).
 
Specifically, the lawsuit sought to overturn as unconstitutional the outcome of the November 2014 general election in Oregon, when, through the Oregon Constitution’s referendum veto process, Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected (by more than 66% of voters) a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor that would have extended eligibility for driving privileges to unlawfully present persons. OFIR was the driving force behind the referendum veto that collected the requisite number of signatures to get the issue placed on the ballot.
 
Today, the Oregon U.S. District Court ruled that it could “not order the State to comply with legislation that could not and would not become effective, and no ruling would redress plaintiffs’ alleged injury.” Moreover, the court stated that it had “no authority to substitute the voter approval required by the Oregon Constitution” and “principles of federalism underlying the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments forbid th[e] Court from directing the State to enact or enforce state laws.”
 
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director commented, “We are happy with the outcome of this case. This case had no merit whatsoever and was a waste of the court’s time and precious resources.” Wilcox continued, “As I stated previously, this case was about sour grapes as the overwhelming majority of Oregonians had spoken and rejected at the ballot box taxpayer-funded giveaways to those who have no legal right to be here.”
 
Read the full Court opinion.
 

 

Learn more
 

 

Shape Immigration System for Years to Come

"The state? I am the state!" — The Sun King, Louis XIV of France

"A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me." — George III of England

"I've got a pen, and I've got a phone." — Barack Obama

I will leave it to others better at punditry to offer the definitive remarks on President Obama's final state of the union speech. I found it to be an unappetizing blend of feel-good, defensiveness, and preacher-like hectoring on living up to our better natures — as defined by him.

Immigration figured prominently: "fix[ing] the broken immigration system" was mentioned right off the bat as one the items yet to be accomplished during his presidency. It also formed a consistent subtext in remarks about immigrants, inclusiveness, not blaming aliens for depressed wages, etc. But there was nothing in the way of detail for anyone trying to follow the direction these efforts to "fix" the system might take.

This may well be because the president has learned the peril of telegraphing his moves in advance, most particularly when they involve the invidious, imperial, and constitutionally dubious business of using "executive action" to achieve what he cannot bully Congress into doing.

But the clues are there.

When interviewed for a cloying article published in New York Magazine, recently appointed Attorney General Loretta Lynch commented that "My goal is to position the department [of Justice] where it will carry on in all of these issues long after myself and my team have moved on."

One suspects that it is not just Lynch, and not just the Department of Justice (DOJ) where this effort is taking place to embed into the organs of government, on a long-term basis, left-leaning progressive policies. How, exactly, might the president and his cabinet accomplish this?

There are two ways, and the first has become well known: using "executive action" to stretch the power of the presidency into arenas constitutionally preserved to other branches of government to achieve what they wish. Even if we were to assume that the next president promptly begins the process of rescinding these actions, there have been so many, and they have been so far-reaching, that it will take years to undo the damage, if indeed it can be undone. The federal bureaucracy is like a battleship; formidable, but slow to change direction precisely because of its awesome size and complexity.

Which brings us to the second way the president and his cabinet can push their agenda long after vacating their chairs. It is well known that presidents, all presidents, regardless of party, eagerly cram the federal judiciary with appointees who share their views, at the district and appellate court levels and — the crown jewel — even the Supreme Court when vacancies appear, which happens rarely because federal judges and justices are given lifetime appointments. While there are only nine Supreme Court justices, there are hundreds of district and appellate court judges, so vacancies appear regularly.

Less well known is how to manipulate the federal bureaucracy, which is so large and so all-pervasive in virtually every sector of society that it has been referred to by some as "the secret state." Others have observed that because of the extraordinary growth of government, our democratic republic has transformed itself into an "administrative state," in which power has accreted into the hands of powerful agencies responsible primarily to the executive branch. The Obama White House has excelled in understanding and manipulating this dynamic.

By taking control over key positions (and by this I do not mean the political appointees themselves, who come and go with each administration), an administration can influence events years into the future. Consider, for instance, DOJ, since we began this discussion with the Lynch interview. In the immigration context, a key component of DOJ is the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is composed of both the immigration courts and the appellate tribunal, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Every immigration judge or BIA member is appointed by the attorney general, and they are for all intents and purposes permanently tenured. It would take egregious acts of malfeasance to remove them.

These are the officials who literally define the course of immigration hearings throughout the entire nation. Place into those positions enough individuals who view immigration through the liberal filter of the Obama administration and you have skewed the direction of immigration enforcement for decades to come. Add significant new immigration judge or BIA positions into the mix, approved by Congress due to court workloads and backlogs, and you have even further shaped the future into a funnel of your choosing.

The same can be done at the Department of Homeland Security, again sidestepping the political appointees who come and go with regularity, and pushing down to the next one or two levels of the bureaucracy. By exercising philosophical and political litmus tests for those you choose to appoint as your head of asylum and refugee affairs (who will in turn select the officers who perform the function of approving and denying applicants for asylum), you have effected a near-permanent influence on how those adjudications will be performed. As recent events have shown us, there is a direct and sometimes adverse effect between the quality of those adjudications, and national security and public safety.

As we lurch through this last year of Barack Obama's presidency, some of the changes he effects may be invisible to the naked eye, but make no doubt that Lynch was being neither rhetorical nor hyperbolic in her remarks in asserting that they will be felt for generations to come.
 

Immigration judges' union advocates for independent, stand-alone court to rule on deportations

WASHINGTON — The federal immigration court system should be separated from the Justice Department and operated independently of federal law enforcement, the top two leaders of the immigration judges' union said Wednesday.

Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said immigration judges act as arbiters in deportation cases being argued by Homeland Security Department lawyers but judges also are treated as attorneys for the government.

As employees of DOJ's Executive Office for Immigration Review, Marks said, the judges' dual roles can potentially blur the lines for judges who are supposed to act as neutral arbiters in a complicated court system.

"Our goal is to serve as a neutral court, but paradoxically we are housed in a law enforcement agency," Marks said.

And often, decisions about how the court is run are made beyond the court system.

Marks said an example of this is the recent decision by the Obama administration to have immigration courts start hearing cases of newly arrived immigrant children caught crossing the border alone before all other pending cases.

She said there is no other court system in which the government would be allowed to order a total overhaul of the docket, placing particular cases at the top. Marks, a judge in San Francisco, spoke Wednesday at the National Press Club with Denise Noonan Slavin, a Miami-based judge who is the union's executive vice president.

In a statement, the DOJ agency said the immigration court system is designed to be handled within the Justice Department and separating it "would take significant resources."

The type of civil administrative adjudications that EOIR conducts are designed to be handled within the structure of the Department and it would take significant resources to create an agency separate from an executive branch cabinet officer.

Beyond potential conflicts of interest, the judges said the DOJ agency and the court system have been underfunded for many years, which has contributed in part to the backlog of more than 375,000 pending cases.

Because of the backlog it can take several years for an immigration cases to be resolved.

Slavin said investing more money in the court system would solve many problems. Just under 2 percent of immigration enforcement spending goes toward immigration courts, Marks said.

And while creating a new, independent immigration court system might be costly initially, she said it would ultimately be more efficient.

"If your gas tank has a leak do you keep filling it up with gas or do you fix it first?" Slavin asked.

Two released from Clackamas County jail since ruling that county violated woman's Fourth Amendment rights

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has released two jail inmates who officials were holding at the request of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said Wednesday ....released suspected undocumented immigrants from custody in the county jail if there is no warrant for their arrest. The move follows a federal judge’s ruling that the county violated a woman’s Fourth Amendment rights by complying with a request to keep her by immigration officials.

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office lifted 50 holds since the ruling.

U.S. District Court Judge Janice M. Stewart ruled Friday that county officials misinterpreted a request...

The requests to hold inmates in the jail are common, and the county complies...
 

Federal panel: Neb. city's immigration law legal

A federal appeals panel on Friday upheld an eastern Nebraska city's ban on renting to people who aren't in the U.S. legally, opening the door for the town of Fremont to begin enforcing its law and offering implications for other cities with similar ordinances.

Fremont voters handily approved a measure in 2010 that bans hiring or renting to people who can't prove they are in the country legally.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that parts of the ordinance denying housing permits to those not in the country legally were discriminatory and interfere with federal law. But the city has been enforcing its requirement that businesses use federal E-verify software to check on potential employees.

On Friday, two judges of a three-member panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that reasoning, leading the majority to reverse the ruling and vacate the lower court's injunction against that part of the ordinance.

Judge James Loken wrote that the plaintiffs failed to show the law was intended to discriminate against Latinos or that it intrudes on federal law.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they will confer with their clients before determining whether to ask the full 8th Circuit to review to the case.

The ruling appears counter to decisions in other courts on similar local laws, said Aaron Siebert-Llera, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund who represented several U.S.-born Latino home renters and a Fremont landlord who challenged the ordinance.

Siebert-Llera noted that two other federal appeals courts ruled against the communities of Farmers Branch, Texas and Hazelton, Pa., which have similar laws targeting landlords and employers to dissuade them from renting to or hiring people in the country illegally. Both cities have appeals pending before the full federal circuit courts.

"You've got the U.S. Senate passing sweeping immigration reform. You've got this huge, nationwide change going on," he said. "Then you have a decision like this coming out."

The American Civil Liberties Union, which also sued over Fremont's ordinance, bashed the 8th Circuit opinion.

"The court majority failed to recognize that Fremont's attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the city's borders is not only un-American, it's unconstitutional," said Jennifer Chang Newell, an attorney for the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

Eighth Circuit Judge Steven Colloton agreed with the reversal and vacating of the injunction, but said the plaintiffs lacked standing in the case, meaning they did not show how they had been or could be harmed by Fremont's law.

Siebert-Llera took issue with that opinion, noting that one of the plaintiffs showed she was forced to buy a mobile home, because she could not find anyone who would rent to in Fremont.

In a dissent, Judge Myron Bright agreed with the lower court that parts of the ordinance interfere with federal law.

"The ordinance will impose a distinct burden on undocumented persons by preventing them from renting housing in Fremont," Bright wrote. "This denial of rental housing is paramount to removal from the city. And, as the Supreme Court has made clear, removal is entrusted exclusively to the federal government."

Kris Kobach, a Kansas attorney who represented Fremont and helped draft its ordinance and others around the country, lauded Friday's opinion and said it will have implications for both Farmers Branch and Hazelton as appeals courts look at their ordinances.

"And I think it has indirect implications for cities all across the country, and certainly cities in Nebraska, that may wish to take similar steps to stop the negative effects of illegal immigration," Kobach said.

Kobach said as soon as next week, the city will begin enforcing the part that requires all renters in the city to apply for an occupancy permit and denies those permits to people not legally in the country.

The ordinance stirred a whirlwind of controversy in June 2010, when roughly 57 percent of Fremont voters who turned up at the polls supported it. The measure catapulted the city into the national spotlight and spurred comparisons with Arizona and other cities embroiled in the debate over immigration regulations.

Fremont, about 35 miles northwest of Omaha, has seen its Hispanic population surge in the past two decades, largely due to the jobs available at two meatpacking plants just outside the city. Census data show the number of Hispanics soared from 165 in 1990 to 3,149 in 2010.

It's unknown how many immigrants not legally in the country may live in Fremont. According to census figures, 1,259 noncitizens live there, but that figure includes people living in the U.S. legally.

Fremont city officials declined to comment Friday, saying they wanted time to review the ruling.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has closed its long-running, abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Alert date: 
2012-08-31
Alert body: 

The Feds have shut down an ongoing criminal investigation of Sheriff Arpaio.  No charges will be filed. 

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have conducted a personal vendetta against the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the State of Arizona because of their willingness to enforce laws against illegal immigration. The battle has often been front-page news.

On Friday, a day when politicians are prone to release unfavorable news, the Justice Department quietly announced that they are dropping the criminal investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio for alleged abuse-of-power charges. Unfavorable news for the Justice Department is good news for American citizens.Read the full story.

 

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