Congress

DHS plans to release 5,000 illegal immigrants due to sequestration

House investigators learned Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials developed plans to release about 5,000 illegal immigrant detainees, although Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has denied responsibility for the decision.

“An internal document obtained by the House Judiciary Committee shows that Administration officials at ICE prepared cold calculations to release thousands of criminal aliens onto the streets and did not demonstrate any consideration of the impact this decision would have on the safety of Americans,” committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced.

The ICE document contains a table that proposes “reduc[ing] invoiced daily population by 1,000 weekly.” Between February 22 and March 31st, this plan would drop the number of detainees from 30,748 to 25,748.

“The decision to release detained aliens undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to keep our homeland secure and instead makes our communities less safe and more vulnerable to crime,” Goodlatte said. “[R]egardless of sequestration, DHS actually has plenty of funding to pay for the detention of criminal aliens. Unfortunately, it seems Administration officials are more interested in using sequestration to promote their political agenda than as an opportunity to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.”

Napolitano said that it wasn’t her decision, even though ICE is part of DHS. “Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” she told ABC.

She also confirmed that the releases would continue. “We are going to manage our way through this by identifying the lowest risk detainees, and putting them into some kind of alternative to release,” Napolitano said at a Politico event, per The Daily Caller.

The New York Times profiled a “low risk” detainee released by ICE. The detainee was taken into custody “when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time.” NRO’s Jim Geraghty asked, “If convictions for ‘simple assault, simple battery and child abuse’ make you ‘low-risk,’ what do you have to do for Janet Napolitano to consider you ‘high-risk’?”

A Washington Narrative Meets Reality

During his visit to El Paso in May 2011, President Obama mocked calls for border security. After declaring that sufficient measures had been taken to stem illegal crossings, he joked that his critics would always demand more, perhaps even calling for alligators in a moat. While the line drew howls from the national media, local residents did not laugh. The quip revealed only ignorance or callousness to the escalating dangers that are part of their daily life. Since that time the administration has repeatedly declared the border more secure than ever while simultaneously making it more vulnerable with executive pardons for whole classes of illegal aliens and calls for a mass amnesty that have triggered an exponential increase in human smuggling.

We got a local perspective of the situation during our recent tour through south Texas. Led by Jerry Kammer, our group followed the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Brownsville on an itinerary that covered more than 1,100 miles. In meetings with various people along the way, common themes emerged: Illegal crossings are soaring, violence and exploitation are routine, and area residents are increasingly alienated.

A group of ranchers who manage game lands about 70 miles from the border told us that they have seen a 500 percent increase in illegal-alien traffic since last summer. In past years the flow has fluctuated with the seasons, but there has been no recent cessation. Nearly every day they encounter groups of illegal aliens who have been left by smugglers to wander the vast landscape. Sometimes they find dead bodies or loads of drugs. The Border Patrol can take hours or even days to arrive because of staff limitations and the agents will not come at all if the number of illegal aliens reported is deemed too small. It is estimated that only 10 percent are detained.

The continuous flow of human traffic requires constant vigilance from the ranchers, who must devote considerable time to managing the dangers and disruptions. Another group we spoke to agreed with this assessment and is working closely with the county sheriff, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and volunteers in attempts to stem the flow.

Throughout the region people told us that illegal crossings have increased significantly. These observations parallel recent trends in Arizona. Just south of Laredo we stopped for a few minutes beside the Rio Grande and happened to see Border Patrol agents apprehend a group of Honduran illegal aliens who had just crossed in the middle of the afternoon. The incident occurred on private property belonging to a couple who told us that foreign nationals cross through their land on almost a daily basis.

A woman we visited near Brownsville told us that the commotion from people crossing regularly wakes her at night. She advised against driving down to the river, which is only a few hundred feet from her house, even though it was midday. She said that a local golf course has recently lost business and that the University of Texas at Brownsville has had to relocate student parking because of gunfire coming from the border.

Two of Mexico’s most notorious gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, are headquartered just across the river in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Their influence has been so devastating to civil society that some observers say Tamaulipas is a failed state. A couple years ago, authorities found the bodies of 72 Central and South Americans who were slaughtered en masse after refusing to work for a drug gang who had intercepted them on their way to America. The violence has eroded any sense of community. Jim Kuykendall, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Guadalajara, told us that public events such as festivals and rodeos no longer take place.

A young woman who manages a motel in Rio Grande City said that her family owns a house just across the river. They have been unable to collect rent from their delinquent tenant for four years because they will not risk venturing into the area, which she describes as a ghost town. Not one person we spoke to in the entire region still travels into Mexico.

The people who live on this side of the Rio Grande say that the cartels are always monitoring their property in order to funnel drugs and humans into the country and that theft and vandalism are rampant. Dob Cunningham, a retired border patrolman who was born and raised on the border, claims that the behavior of the crossers has fundamentally changed. Decades ago most illegal aliens came from rural parts of Mexico. They were tough young men who came on their own, respected property, and offered to do the most menial tasks in exchange for assistance. Cunningham says that illegal aliens now arrive from all over the world. They pay smugglers exorbitant fees to get them into the United States and are ruthlessly exploited, oftentimes kidnapped, raped, or forced to carry loads of drugs.

Recently retired Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez has spent more than 30 years enforcing the law in Zapata County. He served his last 16 years as sheriff after his predecessor was indicted for drug smuggling, an offense that is now routinely committed by law enforcement officials along the border. The sheriff told us stories of nihilistic violence as he showed us around San Ygnacio, Zapata, and Falcon Lake.

He said that the Mexican side is patrolled by young gang members armed with automatic weapons. The cartels, always looking for ways to shock and intimidate competing organizations, have resorted to gruesome methods of execution. Severed torsos and bodies that have been boiled to death have been found. The violence is mostly meted out on rival syndicates, but sometimes innocents get caught in the struggle. This is what Gonzalez alleged happened in the highly-publicized murder of David Hartley, who was sightseeing on Falcon Lake with his wife. Mexican authorities later arrested a Zeta member in the case.

Sheriff Gonzalez explained that spillover violence in Zapata has typically been home invasion burglaries. Wealthy border residents with no apparent connection to the drug trade have been targeted. What is more prevalent, however, is a type of capitulation along the border. While showing us around downtown Laredo, Kuykendall explained how vibrant and exciting the city was in his youth. Those days are gone as fancy shops and hotels have been replaced with thrift stores and rundown housing. Days before we visited, three grenades exploded feet from the U.S. consulate across the river in Nuevo Laredo. Such incidents have had a depreciating effect on local enterprise. Longtime border residents have witnessed dramatic changes. Kuykendall says that there are so many illegal aliens in Laredo nobody really makes a distinction. Two nations have become one. This includes the influence of the cartels, which employ a growing number of people on this side of the border.

In the midst of all this, residents are alienated. Mexican authorities have proven incapable of combating the cartels and they actually encourage illegal immigration. But more frustrating than the corruption there, is the political environment here. Despite his years in the Border Patrol, Cunningham emphatically stated that he fears being prosecuted by the United States federal government more than being harmed by foreign nationals. He knows several people who are serving lengthy prison terms for trying to stop illicit activity.

The perception that federal prosecutors are focused on diplomacy and accommodation rather than law and order also applies to the Department of Homeland Security. Most of the people we spoke to have good working relationships with their local Border Patrol agents. But climbing the political hierarchy brings disillusionment. Washington has repeatedly made decisions that undermine enforcement, so much so that the Border Patrol unions devote a considerable amount of time fighting management to retain their stated responsibilities. Swaths of the border go unmonitored due to inadequate numbers and agents who do their job face political obstacles. This has led Sheriff Gonzalez to believe that the only way to secure the border is through local control.

Recent declarations that the border is secure are intended to encourage congressional passage of a mass amnesty. The politicians and activists who are pushing this couch their efforts in humanitarian terms, questioning the morality of those in opposition. But what they do not understand is that amnesty benefits human smugglers. Their business of exploiting the desperate booms every time a careless politician or commentator starts self-righteously talking about a pathway to citizenship. Such talk creates chaos on the border and undermines the rule of law.


 


 

Join conservatives March 8 - 10 at the Dorchester Conference

Alert date: 
2013-03-01
Alert body: 

The Dorchester Conference is your opportunity to speak to dozens of conservative lawmakers from here in Oregon and from Washington DC.

The conference will be held in Seaside, OR at the Seaside Convention Center March 8 - 10...Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday morning.  If you don't want to pay to attend the conference, just visit the exhibit hall and and see all the booths packed with information.  Legislators, Congressman, past Governors, and many political candidates will be there, too.

They are anxious to talk with you and share their ideas and hear yours.

Plan to come for the day...or the whole weekend. 
 

Real Border Control Has to Come First in Any Immigration Deal

A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has proposed an immigration reform plan that appears to broadly reflect what voters would like to see. But there's a catch.

Most Americans (56 percent) want our nation to have a welcoming policy of legal immigration. With such an approach, the only people who would be excluded are national security threats, criminals and those who would seek to live off our generous system of welfare and other benefits. Sixty-one percent of Republicans favor such a policy, along with 55 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of unaffiliated voters.

But while favoring such a welcoming policy of legal immigration, voters want to stop illegal immigration. Eight out of 10 think this is an important policy goal, including 58 percent who say it's very important. Once the borders are secure, people are quite willing to support almost any proposal to legalize the status of illegal immigrants already in this country: 64 percent see this as an important goal, including 33 percent who say it's very important.

With this background, it's no surprise to find initial support for the plan rolled out by the senators. It provides a combination of improved border security with a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here. Fifty-nine percent of voters nationwide favor the approach, while only 18 percent are opposed. Most Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters are on board.

Especially popular is the inclusion of strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Sixty-four percent support this provision. Voters have long been supportive of penalizing employers and landlords who profit from illegal immigration. They would rather punish them than penalize the immigrants. For most Americans, it's easier to understand why people would want to better themselves by coming to America than to tolerate U.S. companies that knowingly encourage them to break the law.

Yet despite the broad support for the outlines of the bipartisan legislation, the prospects for its passage are far from clear. The reason has little to do with the immigration issue itself and everything to do with the lack of public trust in the government. If the proposal were to become law, only 45 percent of voters believe it is even somewhat likely that the federal government would make a serious effort to secure the borders and reduce illegal immigration. That figure includes just 15 percent who think the government is very likely to make such an effort.

As on most issues, Democrats are far more trusting of the government. Two-thirds of those in the president's party think the government is likely to enforce the entire law. However, 69 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of unaffiliated voters think the government is unlikely to follow through on the provisions to reduce illegal immigration.

Overcoming this skepticism is the key to maintaining support for any comprehensive reform. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the group of eight, has said that the enforcement provisions will have to be working before the pathway to citizenship can be opened. That's consistent with public opinion. But Rubio and his colleagues have their work cut out convincing voters that the plan really will work that way.

To find out more about Scott Rasmussen, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 SCOTT RASMUSSEN

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Senator Wyden to hold Town Halls in your area - plan to attend

Alert date: 
2013-01-11
Alert body: 

Senator Ron Wyden has scheduled several town halls in January. Please plan to attend, invite a friend to go along with you and question his immigration views.

President Obama recently announced as a high priority now, enactment by Congress of an amnesty for illegal aliens. Leaders of the Democratic Party support this, as well as some in the Republican Party. Also there will be new efforts to grant instate tuition to illegal aliens. These moves are very dangerous to our country, as they legitimize illegal immigration and encourage more of it, bringing disrespect for the rule of law which is the foundation of civilized society.

Amnesty will hurt all citizens, employed and unemployed, by greatly increasing numbers of legal job seekers at a time of grave economic stress, and by inflating the population when our environment is already seriously degraded from overpopulation. Seven massive amnesties have been passed in recent years, each one resulting in ever-increasing numbers of illegal immigrants. A 2012 Rasmussen poll showed that 60% of likely voters think gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers.

Times and places for the town halls are listed below. You can get driving directions and maps from links on Sen. Wyden’s website: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/oregon/events.

Here’s a good article on the best way to stop illegal immigration: “Attrition Through Enforcement Is the True Middle-ground Solution.”

https://www.numbersusa.com/content/learn/issues/american-workers/attrition-through-enforcement-true-middl.html

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings of Senator Ron Wyden

Clatsop County Town Hall Meeting

Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 - 9:30AM

Seaside High School, 1901 North Holladay Drive, Seaside, OR

 

Columbia County Town Hall Meeting

Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 - 1:00PM

Vernonia High School, 1000 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia, OR

 

Marion County Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 - 9:30AM

South Salem High School, 1910 Church St SE, Salem, OR

 

Polk County Town Hall Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 - 2:00PM

Polk County Readiness Center, 12835 Westview Drive, Dallas, OR

 

Clackamas County Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 - 9:20AM

Estacada High School, 355 Northeast 6th Avenue, Estacada, OR

 

Wasco County Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 - 9:30AM

The Dalles Wahtonka High School, 220 East 10th Street, The Dalles, OR

 

Hood River County Town Hall Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 - 1:00PM

Hood River Middle School, 1602 May Street, Hood River, OR

Investors Business Daily publishes OFIR VP article

Once again, OFIR's Vice President Rick LaMountain has written an exceptional article.  An overview of the GOP's folly of a plan to woo the Hispanic vote, 'Illegal-Alien Amnesty Gives Democrats 7 Million New Voters'  dissects and breaks down the plan with indisputable facts.

Senate Intern Arrested as Undocumented Immigrant, Registered Sex Offender

An unpaid intern to Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., was a registered sex offender and undocumented immigrant and is now facing deportation, a DHS official confirmed Wednesday to ABC News.

The intern, 18 year-old Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta from Peru, who worked in a New Jersey office for Menendez, was arrested on December 6th. News of the arrest was first reported by the Associated Press.

The senator’s office was informed Monday of the arrest and the senator was informed today, Menendez said. The Senator defended his office’s action today, emphasizing that the intern applied, was recommended and vetted by his school for the internship, not the Senators office.

“We asked status of all of those college interns, nothing didn’t indicate anything about his status and we certainly wouldn’t have known through any background checks since he is a minor about any sex offender status,” Menendez said on MSNBC this afternoon.

Once Menendez’s office was informed of the arrest, the Senator’s New Jersey staff director let the intern go from the program.

“He’s an unpaid college intern so it’s not like he’s a staff paid person,” Menendez said, “There is no way we could know about his status. We ask about status…there is no way we could know about any allegation as a juvenile about what his background would be in terms of any criminality.”

Menendez is a advocate for immigration reform and noted today that this does underscore the urgency of such reform.

“I can’t know who is here to pursue the America dream versus who is here to do it damage if I can’t get people to come forth out of the shadows, go through a criminal background check and determine who is here to pursue the dream and make sure those who are here and who have criminal backgrounds ultimately get deported,” he told MSNBC today.
 

True Immigration Reform Must be Rational, Affordable, and Manageable

H.L. Mencken once observed that “complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers.” In the aftermath of the 2012 elections, both political parties seem poised to implement a simple, easy to understand, and disastrous solution to our nation’s complex immigration problem.

There is no disputing that immigration reform is urgently needed. The problem is that the framework for reform, long offered by the Democratic Party and now belatedly embraced by the leadership of the Republican Party in the aftermath of an electoral defeat, is essentially our existing policy on steroids. If we are ever going to have an immigration policy that enjoys broad public support, we must start by making it work for the broader public interest. True reform must result in a policy that is rational, affordable, and manageable.

Making Immigration Rational

A rational immigration policy would select immigrants based on their likelihood to succeed in a post-industrial 21st century economy. We must, therefore, end our current policy of chain migration that results in the admission of millions of people whose skills do not meet the needs of our economy. The system must be redesigned to admit more limited numbers of people who bring unique skills, talents, and education that will expand the productive potential of the American economy.

A rational immigration policy must include a “stress test” that assesses the impact of immigration on American workers and makes adjustments accordingly. Certainly, during times of sustained high unemployment, U.S. immigration policies must have a mechanism for reducing the influx. The impact of perhaps tens of millions more people competing for jobs in the manufacturing, construction, and service sectors would signal the death knell of the blue collar middle class.

Making Immigration Affordable

A more rational immigration policy would also be a more affordable one – an important consideration for a nation with a $16 trillion accumulated debt that grows by upwards of $1 trillion annually. U.S. households headed by immigrants are 50 percent more likely to rely on some form of government assistance than those headed by a native born resident.

Any tax revenues generated by immigrants who arrive here poorly educated and poorly skilled lag far behind the costs required for their education, health care, and housing. When the costs associated with means-tested benefits for their U.S. born children are factored in, the price tag for maintaining the current system is unsustainable. Alternatively, immigrants who are selected based on their skills are far more likely to be self-sufficient and net tax contributors.

Making Immigration Manageable

Future flows of immigration must also be manageable. The sheer volume of today’s immigration flow – more than 1 million legal admissions each year and hundreds of thousands of guest workers – make the system virtually impossible to manage effectively. Only by reducing the influx, establishing clear criteria for admission, closing loopholes or frivolous avenues for backdoor admissions, and streamlining the adjudication process can we once again reassert control over immigration.

Manageability also requires having systems in place that minimize the possibility that people who break the rules can succeed. Most importantly, we must eliminate the strongest magnet to illegal immigration – the availability of jobs to illegal aliens. To accomplish this, all U.S. employers must be required to check the work eligibility of the people they hire using the E-Verify system

Finally, it must be moral. Americans must be confident that all laws will be enforced consistently, and not be held hostage to the political agenda of whatever administration holds office. As we have witnessed in the past several years, the integrity of our immigration policy can be undermined by a president who simply decides he will not enforce laws that do not serve his political aims.

Unfortunately, the deal now being discussed in Washington is neither rational, affordable, manageable nor moral. Its centerpiece is a massive, expensive, and chaotic amnesty plan to be followed by the expansion of family chain migration to satisfy Democratic special interests, while piling on some additional skilled worker visas to appease business interests.

True "reform" means solving today's problems in a manner that prevents any recurrence down the line. Is anyone willing to provide this kind of leadership? After years of fruitless effort to truly reform our nation’s immigration policies, it seems the two parties may find agreement on one idea– a concept that is simple, easy to understand, and wrong.

Dropping out is not an alternative

Dropping out is an appealing escape route, and many good men and women have already taken that path. But true patriots will resist and overcome that temptation.

I'm certain you have all noticed how the media handles the stories of the day.  But it's our job to point out to them that we see it and don't like it.  We must insist on honest, fair and complete reporting without the media bias we have become so accustomed to.  It's shameful!

Read Tom Tancredo's excellent article and you decide if it's time to speak up.


 

Congress extends E-Verify for 3 more years with near-unanimous support

Oh, how things have changed in just a few years.

It was just 3 years ago that an E-Verify extension was in doubt, making Thursday's near-unanimous House approval so significant.

To be clear, neither action was about mandating E-Verify for all employers. But for the government to even be allowed to offer E-Verify for voluntary use, the extensions had to be passed in 2009 and again this month.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved, with almost unanimous support, a bill that extends E-Verify for another 3 years. The electronic employment verification program, which NumbersUSA believes would have the biggest impact in ending the flow of illegal immigration to the United States, is set to expire at the end of the month, but, now that it's passed through both chambers of Congress, we fully expect Pres. Obama to sign the extension into law.

The extension was offered in the Senate, by Democratic Senator Pat Leahy, where it passed with unanimous consent. The bill then showed up on Tuesday's House calendar under a House procedure called "Suspension of the Rules". The House suspends the rules when House Leaders believe the bill is "non-controversial" and has support of at least two-thirds of its Members. When the bill is brought to the floor, a motion to suspend the rules is raised. No amendments are offered and a two-thirds vote is required for passage. In many instances, there's no roll call, just a voice vote. After coming to the floor on Tuesday, the vote was delayed until Thursday when it passed by a 412-to-3 margin .

E-Verify is now officially, in the minds of Congress and its Leaders, "non-controversial". The E-Verify extension didn't come without compromise, though. The bill also extends three small visa programs, including religious worker visas, investor visas, and cultural exchange visas.

Why was today's vote such a big deal? Three years ago, an extension of the E-Verify program was a bit more contentious.

It was set to expire in March of 2009, so lawmakers began working on an extension in the fall of 2008. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, however, wouldn't lift a hold he placed on the extension without a massive increase in green cards, so Congress kicked the E-Verify can down the road until the spring.

Facing expiration at the end of March 2009, a new debate started during the Senate's consideration of a must-pass, omnibus spending bill earlier in the month. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama offered a 5-year E-Verify extension as an amendment, but a motion to table the amendment was raised - ironically by Sen. Leahy. The motion to table passed by a 50-to-47 margin, but Congress did gave E-Verify a 6-month lifeline by extending the program through September 2009.

In June 2009, the debate surfaced again with the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee including a 2-year reauthorization in its markup of the DHS spending bill for 2010. The bill would eventually pass through the House.

In July 2009, Sen. Sessions offered an amendment during the Senate's consideration of the DHS spending bill, but this amendment would permanently reauthorize E-Verify. Again, a motion to table Sen. Sessions amendment was raised, but unlike in the spring, and with the unemployment rate soaring, the motion was defeated by a 44-to-53 margin. (Read Roy's analysis of the vote.)

The DHS spending bill, however, never became law, and it wasn't until a continuing resolution passed in October 2009 that E-Verify was re-authorized.

So after all the drama of 2009, here we are in the first week of legislative business after a month-long summer recess, and the House has quietly passed a bill, without controversy, that will extend E-Verify through September of 2015.

We would have liked a permanent reauthorization of E-Verify like the one Sen. Sessions offered back in 2009, but an extension of E-Verify before it expired and without controversy is a major improvement over 2009, and maybe one small step towards a nationwide mandate of E-Verify for all employers in the future.

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