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Jail sued over holding immigration detainees

A lawsuit was filed Friday, July 21, in Wasco County Circuit Court claiming the regional jail is violating state law by holding immigration detainees.

The lawsuit, filed by the Oregon Law Center in Portland on behalf of four Wasco County residents, asks the court to stop the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities (NORCOR) from holding the detainees.

The four plaintiffs in the suit are Brian Stovall, John Olmstead, Connie Krummrich and Karen Brown.

A 1987 state law prohibits the use of state or local resources to “detect or apprehend” people whose only offense is being in the country illegally.

The lawsuit states Oregon law defines apprehend to include “restraining an individual’s liberty so that the [government] can assert the authority of legal process over that individual.”

The suit contends the jail is in violation of that state law through its contract “which requires it to incarcerate individuals solely to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Will Carey, attorney for NORCOR, said that while state law says resources can’t be used to detect or apprehend illegal residents, “We aren’t doing any of those things, we are just housing prisoners. We also have a policy that we won’t hold anybody who is only being held because they’re a citizen from another country and don’t have proper papers to be here.

“As a matter of fact, the head of NORCOR, our jail administrator Bryan Brandenburg, went through the list the other day and found two people that he didn’t think qualified. He called up ICE and made them come down from Tacoma and pick them up.”

Carey said the lawsuit is a complaint that “an institution is violating Oregon law because it’s cooperating with the United States. So you’re in violation of Oregon law because you’re cooperating with the U.S. That’s going to be an interesting concept. I don’t think they’ve probably even faced this since the Civil War.”

Almost since the jail opened in 1999 it has housed immigration detainees. After a detention facility for detainees was built in Tacoma, the federal government stopped sending detainees to the regional jail, causing a budgeting crisis for the jail.

In 2014, the jail signed a four-year contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to hold federal detainees. It was amended in 2015 to include detainees from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE].

Brandenburg has previously said that all detainees being held at the jail have final deportation orders.

The jail’s current budget anticipates that ICE will use around 22 jail beds per day, though sometimes it is as few as five. The anticipated revenue for the current fiscal year is $1 million.

The lawsuit states the contract requires the jail to accept federal detainees who “are awaiting a hearing on their immigration status or deportation.”

Carey said he believed the lawsuit is “a pure political thing” that was a result of the presidential election. While deportations were high under former President Barack Obama – and the regional jail housed detainees for years without controversy — President Donald Trump campaigned on a hard stance against illegal immigration.

Citizens began attending regional jail meetings earlier this year, and were asked by jail board officials why they were only now focused on the fact that the jail houses detainees. One attendee said she hadn’t realized it before, but was now taking action.

The lawsuit contends the jail does not house federal detainees because of any violation of state or local law.

Rather, the jail uses “county money, personnel and equipment to incarcerate people solely because they allegedly are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.”

The suit says the 1987 state law is intended to prevent agencies from assisting “federal officials at any stage of the immigration enforcement process.”

Carey said, “We’ve told the marshal’s office and we’ve told ICE, if they’re not charged or convicted with a crime, then we won’t hold them.”

The lawsuit states, “Whether or not these persons have criminal charges or convictions, the sole reason they are held by NORCOR is to assist ICE in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”

In a press release distributed Monday, Jessica Campbell, co-director of the Rural Organizing Project, a statewide network of over 60 groups organizing for human dignity across Oregon, said, “NORCOR officials have been violating Oregon law by using taxpayer money to detain people for federal immigration purposes.

“This is not only a violation of the law, it’s a violation of the trust Oregonians have in their locally elected officials and their public institutions.”

In May, a spokeswoman for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum told the Associated Press the 1987 state law did not apply to NORCOR's contract to house ICE detainees because "it doesn't appear that NORCOR resources are being used to detect or arrest people."

Mat Dos Santos, legal director for American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, told Willamette Week in May that he believed the Attorney General’s office was wrong.

“We think it’s a clear violation of state law for a local facility to house ICE detainees.”

He said “apprehend” not only means arrest, but “detain.”

The suit contends the plaintiffs are subject to the risk of additional future taxes.The ICE contract states the jail is responsible for all medical care provided inside the facility to detainees. (The federal government is responsible for all medical care provided outside the facility.)

The contract assumes the jail’s medical expenses are covered in the $80 per diem rate for each inmate.

The lawsuit notes the jail is only paid in arrears for holding detainees, subject to the availability of funds appropriated by Congress.

It notes the contract requires the jail to apprehend escapees at its own expense, at federal direction.

Carey said it costs $6.2 million a year to run the jail, and the four member counties, Wasco, Hood River, Sherman and Gilliam, contribute $3.8 million. Wasco County pays about $2 million of that.

The regional jail helps support the cost of running the jail by renting beds to ICE, Carey said. “So it’s not like we’re taking money away from Wasco County taxpayers, we’re actually precluding them from being taxed for more money.”

Andrea Williams, the executive director of Causa Oregon, a statewide immigrant rights organization, said in a press release, “We applaud the courage of those who are challenging NORCOR’s use of local public funds and hope that NORCOR stops detaining people for federal immigration purposes.

“We must uphold the integrity of Oregon’s 30-year-old law that limits our local resources from being used to enforce questionable federal immigration policies,” said Williams, who is not involved in the lawsuit.

Carey said the Oregon Law Center sent him a letter July 12 telling him that if NORCOR did not notify the federal government it would stop accepting ICE detainees by Friday, July 21, it would file suit.

Help overturn Oregon's Sanctuary Statute - gather signatures for IP #22

Alert date: 
2017-07-21
Alert body: 

Oregon was the first state in the country to pass a "sanctuary" statute 30 years ago.

Today, with illegal aliens causing a myriad of problems in states across the country, it makes no sense to have laws that prohibit law enforcement officers from aiding in the enforcement of our Federal immigration laws.

Illegal aliens are not and should not be a "protected class" of people, allowed to break our laws if it suits their purposes. 

Oregonians for Immigration Reform and three Oregon Legislators (Rep. Sal Esquivel, Rep. Greg Barreto and Rep. Mike Nearman) are working to overturn Oregon Revised Statute 181A.820 - Oregon's Sanctuary Statute - to allow law enforcement to more easily assist ICE in removing criminal aliens from our communities.

Please help OFIR by volunteering to collect the needed signatures of your friends, family, at events you attend etc. to get this initiative on the November 2018 General Election ballot.  Voters can tell our Oregon Legislature, loud and clear,  to stop shielding people in our country illegally.  Remove the state statute that prohibits law enforcement officials from working with ICE to remove criminal aliens from our state!

Call 503.435.0141 to request signature sheets.  If you get the answering machine, please leave the following information:

FULL Name

FULL Mailing address  - including County

Telephone number

How many TEN line signature sheets you would like OFIR to send to you

Let's get busy!

Thank you!

 

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

Lane County commissioners weigh protections for local unauthorized immigrants

Lane County commissioners on Tuesday could add new language to the county’s policy manual barring county employees from using public funds to enforce federal immigration laws in most cases.

A board order commissioners are scheduled to vote on Tuesday would add a provision to the Lane County Manual, under “foreign citizenship,” banning the use of money, equipment or personnel for “detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.”

The language would allow county staff to help if a federal judge had ordered a person to be arrested for violating federal immigration law. However, such situations appear to be extremely rare.

The language virtually echoes Oregon law, as well as an ordinance the Eugene City Council approved in March. The Oregon law applies to the state and to all political subdivisions in the state, including county governments.

The county move comes amid a national debate over so-called “sanctuary city” policies, and efforts by liberal-leaning states that don’t want to use local staff and money to enforce stricter federal immigration policies sought by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The proposed Lane Manual change puts into county rules the policies already practiced by agencies such as the Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Lane County Health and Human Services, county officials say.

The proposal “makes it more clear at a local level how (state law) plays out here for the county,” Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said. “So it’s valuable in that sense. It takes a look specifically at county services and how it will guide how employees will work within that framework.”

The language doesn’t violate state or federal law, Ashbridge said. A provision permits the sheriff’s office to give information to federal immigration agencies about someone arrested for a criminal offense.

It also authorizes the sheriff’s office to arrest anyone charged with violating federal immigration law if a federal judge issues an arrest warrant.

But Lane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Carrie Carver said the agency is “not aware of any specific cases” of someone being arrested solely on a such an order. Typically, the federal government arrests illegal immigrants without a judge’s order.

Members of the public have spoken up at recent county commissioners’ meetings about protecting local unauthorized immigrants who haven’t committed any crimes besides entering and living in the country unlawfully.

In November, Lane County, mayors of nine cities and other organizations co-signed a statement of unity vowing to protect marginalized residents such as immigrants.

But dozens of speakers and numerous letter writers have urged local governments such as the city of Eugene and Lane County to go further and commit to not help in federal deportation arrests — even though such assistance is already prohibited by state law.

Follow Elon on Twitter @EGlucklich . Email elon.glucklich@registerguard.com .

It's not over yet! CALL or EMAIL today! HB 3464 is still in play!

Alert date: 
2017-07-05
Alert body: 

Oregon Senate Votes This Week on Expanding Dangerous Sanctuary Law

The Oregon Senate might attempt to jam through so-called "emergency legislation" to expand Oregon's dangerous sanctuary law this week before it adjourns -probably THURSDAY!  We need your help right now to stop them. 
 
Sanctuary policies prohibit or restrict law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, allowing criminal aliens to live and work freely in communities. House Bill (HB) 3464 worsens Oregon's existing sanctuary law to make it nearly impossible for state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials and allows criminal aliens, even those convicted of the most serious crimes, to escape immigration enforcement. 
 
Please call or email your State Senator right now and tell him/her to oppose this dangerous expansion of Oregon's sanctuary policies! 
 
H.B. 3464 prohibits state and local officials from disclosing the immigration status of individuals they encounter thereby prohibiting cooperation with federal officials in the enforcement of immigration law. The Senate should not prioritize the interests of those with no legal right to remain to the detriment of Oregonian citizens. Public safety must be the top priority and HB 3464 moves Oregon in the wrong direction. 
 
Take Action Today 
 
Please call or email your Oregon State Senator and tell them to oppose HB 3464! 
 
If you don’t have contact information for your State Senator, you can find it through a link on the Legislature’s homepage headed “Find Your District and Legislators.”  When you enter your home address, a little card appears that displays the name, phone number, and email address of your State Senator.  If you have difficulty with contact information, call OFIR at 503-435-0141.

Immigration enforcement boost felt throughout Yakima Valley

In Granger, attorneys with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project can’t keep up with the number of deportation hearings.

In Yakima, inmates held on suspicion of violating immigration laws have nearly tripled since March.

And across the Yakima Valley, social service agencies report a drop in the number of immigrants seeking help, while crime victims in this country illegally are becoming more reluctant to file complaints.

These are all signs of President Donald Trump’s executive orders stepping up immigration enforcement, said attorney Lara Contreras, who directs the Immigrant Rights Project.

Contreras said her office of three immigration attorneys and two legal advocates can’t keep pace with a growing number of deportation proceedings in Seattle and Tacoma, where a huge backlog has fostered a five-year delay on final rulings.

“There are going to be many people representing themselves in front of an immigration judge,” Contreras said. “We don’t have enough staff to represent everyone facing deportation.”

On a recent morning, a half-dozen people came to the firm’s Granger office seeking advice.

Among them was Yolanda, who feared her 18-year-old son would be targeted for deportation if he applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

“There’s no category of an individual who is exempt from ICE enforcement.”

-Rose Riley, ICE Spokeswoman

A student at Heritage University, he works with his mother in the fields from 3 a.m. to about 3 p.m. before heading to classes at 4 p.m.

But her anxiety was calmed when she was told her son would not be exposed to deportation if he applied for DACA, the Obama administration’s policy that allows certain undocumented people who entered the country as minors to obtain a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, and eligibility for a work permit.

She said she doesn’t want her son to end up like her, trapped in field work. He’s majoring in business administration with a minor in computer science.

“People are fearful. There are people afraid to gather information regarding their cases,” Contreras said. “People are afraid to go to the police department because they are afraid they’ll get turned over to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”

Incarceration

Under a federal contract, the Yakima County jail typically houses 50 to 90 people suspected of being here illegally each month, with the exception of last October when about 150 Haitian refugees were housed here temporarily.

Most of them are brought to the jail from other communities throughout Central Washington, while a small number are identified by ICE after being arrested on local charges. The county receives about $84 a day for each inmate it holds for ICE.

But this year, the jail has seen a steady increase in ICE holds. In March, there were 141 inmates suspected of being here illegally in the jail — a 156 percent increase over the same month last year when 51 such inmates were housed. Numbers in April, May and June were double or nearly triple during the same time last year.

The bigger numbers are the result of Trump’s executive orders, which provide broader guidelines for seeking out undocumented immigrants, said Rose Riley, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman in Seattle.

And the vetting process has become less selective than in previous years, when ICE officials typically focused on serious criminals, Riley said.

“There’s no category of an individual who is exempt from ICE enforcement,” she said. “If they came into the country illegally or unlawfully, they will be subject to ICE enforcement.”

Under the executive orders, ICE officers don’t hesitate to ask anyone associated with someone who they arrest about their status, she says.

“It’s not dependent on their criminality, but on whether they are here legally or not,” she said.

“There’s definitely an increase,” said Department of Corrections Director Ed Campbell. “We’re seeing folks moved through from other jurisdictions.”

Campbell attributes some of the increases to an overall rise in the jail population, which has shot up from a daily average of 750 to 800 inmates to more than 900.

A clogged court

Last year, 2,124 people — 729 of them charged with a crime other than being here illegally — were removed from the region, which includes Washington, Oregon and Alaska, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.

This year, the region is on pace to surpass that. Within about a three-month period from Jan. 20 to April 29, a total of 1,070 people were deported, of whom 798 were charged with a crime.

But immigration courts in Seattle and Tacoma, where the region’s cases are heard, had more than 9,470 pending cases as of March 27.

Of those, 982 are in the Tacoma court, which hears cases of those incarcerated.

Nationwide, there are 598,943 pending cases, of which 24,431 involve people convicted of crimes other than being in the country illegally.

Many cases are being delayed for months with their final hearings pushed out five years, Contreras said.

Those delays have some willing to waive due process to avoid being detained during the proceedings, said Maru Mora with Latino Advocacy in Bellingham, which works with groups across the state on immigrant rights and advocacy.

“In some cases people are just saying ‘look, if you’re going to deport me, just go ahead and deport me,’ ” she said.

More than 90 percent of those detained in Tacoma do not have attorneys and many have limited or no access to legal libraries to prepare their cases, Mora said.

Many have been moved to a county jail in northern Oregon where a legal library isn’t offered nor any facility to work on cases, she said.

And those detained in Tacoma only get one hour a day in the legal library, Mora said.

“So when they come back to court they’re not prepared for their hearing,” she said.

“The huge backlog, it’s impossible to get a lawyer; it’s expensive, and you’re transferred to a county jail.”

Meanwhile, social service providers have seen dramatic dips in people seeking services.

In May, the YWCA reported huge declines in women seeking emergency shelter, with only 28 compared to the 140 woman and 158 children the agency helped the year before.

Catholic Charities of Yakima, which provides an array of social services including low-income farm worker housing, said it saw a similar dip in people seeking services early in the year, but now people are coming in again.

“When we see a dip, usually it’s attributed to ICE activity in the area,” said CEO Manual Villafan. “That keeps them from accessing services our organization provides.”

Contreras said victims of crimes are reluctant to come forward as witnesses or seek protection orders.

“They fear that an ICE officer is lurking by,” she said.

DHS to Expand Controversial H-2B Visa Program, Breaking Trump Campaign Promise

The Trump administration has decided to expand the controversial H-2B visa program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week. (ABC News, June 21, 2017). DHS spokesperson David Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has yet to decide how many additional H-2B visas will be made available, but that the number should be set soon. (Id.) Lapan said the department expects to start issuing visas as soon as late July, setting the stage for the betrayal of a key Trump campaign promise—protecting American workers from cheaper foreign competition. (Id.)

In early May, at the behest of the business lobby, Congress gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the power to more than double the number of H-2B visas issued this fiscal year. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 2, 2017) Shortly thereafter, Kelly indicated that he was receiving pressure from lawmakers and stakeholders on both sides of the issue, but hinted an increase was likely. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 30, 2017) “This is one of those things I wish I didn’t have discretion,” Kelly told the Senate Appropriations Committee. (Id.) “We’ll likely increase the numbers for this year, perhaps not by the entire number I’m authorized,” Kelly added at the time. (Id.)

The H-2B nonimmigrant visa program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. (USCIS H-2B Program Fact Sheet) There is a cap on the total number of foreign workers who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year. (Id.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress set the H-2B cap at 66,000 workers per fiscal year. (INA § 214(g)(1)(B)) However, last month’s $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Secretaries Kelly and Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by “the highest number” of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption. (FY 2017 Omnibus, Sec. 543) As a reminder, in December 2015, House Speaker Paul Ryan snuck into the FY 2016 omnibus a provision that exempted from the H-2B cap all low skilled workers admitted between 2013 and 2015. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 22, 2015) There is no reliable data on the number of H-2B workers who took advantage of the returning worker exemption. It is possible that this provision will allow 66,000 additional cheap foreign workers to flood the labor market through the end of September—further suppressing blue-collar wages and taking away opportunities from Americans trying to get back into the labor force.

FAIR criticized the announcement to further flood the labor market with foreign workers. “The administration's decision to exceed the 66,000 cap not only undermines struggling American workers, but betrays unequivocal promises President Trump made in his campaign,” FAIR President Dan Stein charged. (FAIR Press Release, June 22, 2017) “In President Trump's own words, ‘the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans—including immigrants themselves and their children—to earn a middle class wage,’” Stein added. (Id.)

FAIR’s June 21 letter to Secretary Kelly urging against an H-2B visa increase can be found here.

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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Top Justice Official Scoffs at Immigrant Crime Reporting "Chilling Effect"

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on the growth of the MS-13 gang and the nexus to immigration enforcement failures, a senior Department of Justice official strongly rebuffed assertions by two senators that cooperation between local police and ICE causes immigrants to fear reporting crimes.

This spurious claim, known as the "chilling effect", is the number-one rationale offered by sanctuary jurisdictions to try to justify their non-cooperation policies. The origins of the theory are unknown, but I first noticed it soon after stricter immigration enforcement measures were adopted in the wake of 9/11, particularly as they were applied to aliens from terror-associated countries. I have read every study I can find on this topic and explored voluminous government and law enforcement data to find evidence that crime reporting by immigrants suffers when local police cooperate with ICE, but it just isn't there; this is a myth created by anti-enforcement advocates. The most reliable academic studies and government data show that robust cooperation between locals and feds does not affect crime reporting by immigrants.

Nevertheless, this myth is routinely invoked in any discussion that involves ICE and local law enforcement agencies. The Senate hearing was no different; the "chilling effect" is the only argument available to politicians who want to push back on the common-sense approach of using immigration laws to target MS-13, one of the most brutal gangs ever to operate within our borders and whose membership consists largely of illegal aliens, including many youths who were allowed by the Obama administration to be resettled here as "unaccompanied minors".

Two senators, Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), tried to get the Justice Department witness, Kenneth Blanco, to validate the chilling effect. Instead Blanco pushed back, and essentially told them it was bunk, saying that the fear that immigrants have in reporting crimes is fear of retaliation by the gangs, not fear that contact with police will lead to their deportation. Their exchanges appear below, verbatim.

FRANKEN: Mr. Blanco, in my state of Minnesota, former Minneapolis policy chief Tim Dolan used to say that crime victims are far less likely to dial 911 if they know that the police officer who responds to that call is going to check their papers, and the statistics bear this out.

A 2013 study from the University of Illinois found that 44 percent of Latinos report say they are less likely to call the police even if they are the victim of a crime because they believe officers will use that as an opportunity to check their immigration status. Forty-five percent say they are less likely to volunteer information about crimes they've witnessed. And this isn't even about immigrants, 28 percent of Latinos born in the United States say they are less likely to call the police when they are the victim of a crime because they fear police will ask them about their status or the status of people they know.

This study reports responses of Latinos asked to agree or disagree to a statement on a hypothetical situation that they would be less likely to report a crime for fear they or others would be asked about immigration status in a jurisdiction where police are "involved with immigration enforcement". There was no survey of natives or other ethnic groups to compare responses. In contrast, DOJ statistics and other reliable academic studies analyze actual crime victims and actual crime reporting across ethnic and/or citizenship groups, without using loaded questions.

Now that study was conducted before the 2016 campaign, a campaign in which then candidate Trump made scapegoating immigrants a central pillar of his platform. I would suspect that if this same study were conducted today after this administration has condemned cities that limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement that the study would find that even fewer Latinos are willing to call the police when they are in danger. Mr. Blanco, you've worked in law enforcement for a long time. You've been a US attorney, worked closely with other US attorneys, do you agree that in order to effectively fight MS-13 here in the United States, our police need to have strong relationships with our immigrant communities?

BLANCO: Thank you Senator. Yes, I've been in law enforcement for 28 years. I can tell you that it is very important to have trust and respect with our immigrant communities and for our immigrant communities to have trust and respect for the police. There are a host of reasons why a person may not call the police, and much of it has to do with the fear they have of the violent crime gangs, not so much of the police.And that really, in my 28 years, that has been the fear that they have of perhaps calling the police, not the other way around. They are really scared of them, they are terrified of these people who live in their communities. So its these people in the communities that the MS-13 gang members are targeting, and they are generally the immigrant community that come over. And that's generally what they fear, at least from what I've seen. > (Emphasis added.)

Later, Blanco again pushed back on invocations of the chilling effect, and said that immigrants also feared what would happen when local police released gang members or other perpetrators back into the community, as occurs in sanctuary jurisdictions:

BLUMENTHAL: To make the point that I think perhaps Senator Franken raised, depending on cooperation from victims means that discouraging them may actually have a counterproductive effect. Now you're somebody who's undocumented who is following the law, working hard, playing by the rules, as we often characterize them, may be discouraged from coming forward if they believe they're going to be deported, or if they believe they're going to be arrested. So I'm wondering whether you have suggested or would suggest any changes in policy, this is a question that could be answered by any of you, that would enable you to be more effective in going against these gang members to elicit more cooperation from victims and survivors.

BLANCO: Senator, I'll take that question first. Senator, there are a whole host of reasons I think we talked about a little bit earlier why victims don't want to come forward or witnesses don't want to come forward -

BLUMENTHAL: Fear being one of them -

BLANCO: Well, it could be –

BLUMENTHAL: Maybe a predominant one.

BLANCO: I can tell you that I haven't seen that in my practice in 28 years federally, I have not seen it, I understand that there is some discussion about it. I can tell you about one of the things that does concern them. One thing that concerns them is when they live in a community where these same people have been released back into the community, that worries them, and that prevents them from coming forward. When you have places where people get to hide because law enforcement can't get them. (Emphasis added.)

BLUMENTHAL: That's the fear of retaliation.

BLANCO: By the defendants, by those people who are committing crimes. That's one reason. There are a whole host of reasons.

BLUMENTHAL: Or by their friends and cohorts.

BLANCO: Could be, could be.

BLUMENTHAL: So all the more reason that they need support from law enforcement, and I don't know what can be done. Obviously the witness protection program can't be extended to thousands and thousands of people it's not feasible. But I don't know what more can be done to encourage that cooperation.

BLANCO: Well I can tell you hearings like this are important, and I can tell you having communications with our DHS counterparts is really important. This is, as you can imagine Senator, a lot of our discussion. But what one of the things I think is really important and I'll reiterate this, there is nothing like American law enforcement. There isn't, anywhere in the world. Law enforcement individuals every day talk about how we can help victims and witnesses, so this is something that's always on our mind. And I think that is also translating into these communities as well. (Emphasis added.)

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.


 

Trump reverses promise to "immediately terminate" Obama's executive amnesty

Despite his pledge to #forgottenAmericans, @realDonaldTrump has issued more than 100,000 work permits to foreign workers in U.S. illegally.

Last night, his administration expressed its intention to issue more.

Three days ago, acting ICE director, Thomas D. Homan told the House Appropriations committee that regarding enforcement, "no population is off the table" and deportation orders would no longer be ignored. "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling," he said.

Last night, however, DHS announced that it will continue to honor President Obama's 2012 executive amnesty (DACA), saying that "DACA recipients will continue to be eligible" for the program and "No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates."

"Trump Will Allow 'Dreamers' to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise" - New York Times
"Trump won't alter status of current Dreamers" - Politico

In a speech last August @realDonaldTrump pledged to "immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties": DACA and DAPA.

Instead of ending DACA, DHS announced that it was officially rescinding Obama's 2014 executive amnesty (DAPA), which had never been enacted.

"Trump scraps Obama-era program protecting undocumented parents" - McClatchy

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to implement the active executive amnesty. Last month, Trump's nominee to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Congress he expected the Trump administration to continue to issue work permits through DACA:

"I'm aware that both the president and Secretary Kelly have stated publicly and reiterated that the DACA program is to remain in place...

"...If confirmed, I would see my role to administer that program well, as it stands."

In his inauguration speech, @realDonaldTrump pledged that "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Two of every 5 Millennials of all ethnicities under age 30 with no college degree have no job of any kind. But Trump and Obama's DACA program grants work permits to people in the U.S. illegally who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were born after June 14, 1981.

Politico reports:

"One prominent Democrat said he'd extracted a promise not to alter the current protections for so-called Dreamers.

"'I'm grateful that President Trump has decided to keep the DACA program in place,' Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on the Senate floor Thursday. 'Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Nominee Francis Cissna have promised me personally and publicly that they will maintain the existing guidelines for the DACA program. I appreciate the commitment and intend to hold them to it.'

"Since Trump took office, renewal of expiring DACA permits appears to have continued as normal. More than 17,000 new approvals took place between January and March and more than 107,000 existing DACA recipients had their work permits renewed for an additional two years."

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