Peter Brimelow writes: I was stuck when President Obama, in his July 1 speech denouncing Arizona’s SB1070, dismissed federal laws against illegal immigration as “unenforceable”. This seems to me to cast doubt upon the sincerity with which he took the oath of office, and to raise the specter (as it did in the case of George W. Bush) of ultimate impeachment. The blogger Federale here details how the Obama Administration is already implementing an administrative “stealth” amnesty. A Republican Congress could stop him. America’s institutions continue their diversity-driven slide toward “irrepressible conflict”.
But then, in Bush’s last eighteen months, after the failure of amnesty legislation in 2006 and 2007, there was a curious Sturm und Drang of aggressive enforcement and huge advances in the areas of E-Verify, Secure Communities, and 287(g).
The Obama administration has the same long-term object goal: amnesty. But, in contrast to Bush, it has indeed initially emphasized enforcement—at least for public relations purposes. Obama realized early that a legislative amnesty was not likely, given the political climate. So his Administration has acted on its own.
The short-tem goal of the Obama Administration: to have as many illegals here for the upcoming amnesty and, even more importantly, encourage more illegals to come. It aims to achieve this through Executive Branch action—an administrative, or “stealth”, amnesty which will be a precursor to, and maybe even substitute for, a legislative amnesty.
Obama clearly believes, like Rush Limbaugh, that amnesty is a long-term political benefit for the Democratic Party. He knows that the illegals will be voting Democratic in the future, just as the beneficiaries of the 1986 Amnesty voted Democratic. The Democrats can accept a temporary setback in 2010 and even 2012—if they ultimately get an amnesty through.
After all, the history of the amnesty process is that Republican administrations acquiesce to both the program itself and the fraud in the program. Remember it was the Reagan-administered amnesty that accepted at least two million fraudulent applications, including terrorists, in the 1986 Amnesty. The 1986 Amnesty was only a rehearsal for the massive fraud that the next amnesty would give us—and I estimate that there are already about 20 million illegals currently in the U.S.
The fix is in. The US Citizenship Immigration Service [USCIS] was already ordered by the Bush Administration to prepare for the upcoming amnesty, and is still staffed up for it.
The Obama Administration’s first ploy was to claim to deal with the “worst of the worst”—by which it meant the criminal element among the illegal alien population. The policy purported to concentrate on incarcerated felons and those aliens arrested by local police agencies.
With great fanfare, the Obama Administration has trumpeted the deportation of already-convicted illegal alien felons, who are easy picking because they are readily available for removal due to their incarceration in State and Federal prisons. But it was a shell game, designed to disguise a general relaxation of enforcement. (I agree with Ed Rubenstein that the many MSM reports that deportations have increased under Obama are mistaken—and I note that, as Rubenstein predicted, the Administration has indeed quietly failed to meet its 400,000 target).
Even so, the Obama Administration’s attitude to criminals evolved in the direction of laxity. First, all criminals were to be the target. But later the Administration would slowly expand the number of aliens even with criminal records who would merit amnesty. Slowly, the Administration would let ICE and local agencies know that it didn’t want all that many criminals arrested. The emphasis on felons was for show.
As an example: behind the scenes, most ICE Special Agent in Charge (SAC) offices started instructing local agencies not to refer to ICE those illegals charged with traffic and other minor offenses. Local law enforcement officials who did not cooperate, like Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, had their authority to enforce immigration laws reduced and restricted.
Then the Obama Administration made the policy official. Local agencies were told that they could not hold or process illegals under 287(g) unless they actually charged the illegals in local courts and had serious, rather than minor, charges pending.
Previously, ICE would initiate removal proceedings just based on the fact that a local agency made an arrest and referred the illegal alien to ICE.
For illegal aliens in local custody, deportation was used in lieu of the criminal justice system. But now the illegal must be prosecuted locally first, convicted, sentenced, and have served his time—and then, and only then, the illegal can be removed.
Obviously, the Obama Administration was looking for any excuse to not initiate removal proceedings against illegals.
The Obama Administration also announced a new policy on worksite enforcement: no longer raiding employers of illegals, but auditing them. Employers were to be forced to lay off illegals—but (tellingly) the illegals were to be allowed to remain in the United States.
The only follow-up the Obama Administration allowed: a renewed emphasis on sending out by mail “Notices To Appear” (NTAs) to the illegals identified from the audited companies. This is a notification to an illegal that they have been placed in removal proceedings. The NTA is usually (but not always) served on the alien after they are arrested. But the new policy is to send the NTA out by mail, instead of to illegal alien when they were detained in raids, for example. These notices are routinely ignored by the aliens, who have no incentive to appear as OI only has their names and not their fingerprints. In any future amnesty, all they have to do is change their names
For obvious reasons, this is known in the enforcement community as a “run letter”. But—funny thing—illegals don’t have to run now: there’s no follow-up! In support of the stealth amnesty, ICE has refused to assign the resources necessary to track down such absconders and arrest them.
The Obama Administration’s actions also created more work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE]. As you might not know, ICE was divided into two major offices, the Office of Investigation (OI) and the Detention and Removal Operations (DRO). The OI arrests the illegal aliens, then DRO manages the immigration hearing and removal process.
If an alien fails to appear at a hearing, then DRO is charged to search for and arrest the aliens who failed to appear. Then OI just moves the files to DRO, which then adds the illegals to the hundreds of thousands of aliens who have absconded.
So, instead of solving the problem by making an arrest, the new Obama policy is make-work for both OI and DRO. Great numbers of ICE employees will be creating and moving around paperwork to no effect.
(Of course, the Administration still has to deal with the public relations problem of the increased numbers of absconding aliens. Pre 9/11 that was much less of a problem than it is now.)
However, as the Obama Administration giveth, it taketh away. The Left went on the war path over DRO’s operations directed at absconders, producing studies, newspaper articles, and complaints complaining that DRO was doing its job too well—and arresting too many illegals.
So the Obama Regime ended DRO’s policy of assigning teams to search for absconders with arrest quotas. Arrests by DRO collapsed. This upset DRO management, because it was afraid Congress would notice and reduce funding, but it was slapped down by Obama ICE head John Morton for its trouble.
Also in anticipation of amnesty, the Obama Administration has introduced a kinder, gentler detention policy. Both the Clinton and Bush Administrations had continued the long-standing policy of contracting out the detention of aliens to either privately-run prisons or to State, county and city jails and prisons. Though not cheap, it was a dependable source of bed space. This mattered because, especially after legislation in the 1990s, Congress had gotten interested and was requiring that criminal illegal aliens at least be held in custody during the long removal process.
This policy of detention had the added advantage of encouraging illegals to acquiesce and leave without going through the long appeal process. Better to be back home—and maybe try again to run the border—than in a jail.
But the Obama Administration is changing the detention policy to encourage illegals to remain, and use the endless appeals available to them through the Executive Office For Immigration Review (EOIR), the immigration court, which is hopelessly backlogged for years. Again, the blatant motive: to allow the alien to remain in the U.S. until a legislative amnesty can be passed or an administrative amnesty can be implemented.
At first, the idea was to improve the quality of detention facilities by having ICE directly operate and manage a fewer number of large facilities closer to where the illegals are arrested. But that was impossible, because of the massive cost of building and staffing new facilities. The later policy: to put detainees in easily-evaded home detention using electronic monitoring. Other methods of detention include a system of hotel-like facilities that are not as secure as jails. Needless to say, these facilities will not save any money and be easy to escape from.
The next and most flagrant actions by the Obama Administration came close on each other: two memorandums describing various ways that aliens might be allowed to remain in the U.S.—and Congress presented with a fait accompli in an attempt to force their hand.
The first memorandum, on amnesty, was an obvious copy of a proposal by the Immigration bar: that all illegal aliens in the U.S. be offered parole status with accompanying employment authorization.
Parole is a legal status, though it was not designed to be used willy-nilly for every alien—much less all illegal aliens. It is code for Obama just not enforcing the laws—allowing illegal aliens to remain free from fear of arrest and deportation.
The next scheme from the Obama Administration was even more lawless. The new plan envisioned amnesty for all illegal aliens, this time using the fig leaf of “deferred action status” and “deferred enforced departure”. Both terms of art are immigration Newspeak, words having meaning the opposite of what they truly mean.
“Deferred” is the key phrase. To the layman it means that something will be happening in the future. But that is just the opposite of the meaning of these phrases to the immigration bureaucracy and to the Obama Regime. It means that nothing will be happening in the future. It is what Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called “Boob Bait for Bubbas”. It is meant to obscure, hide, fool, and hide from the public and from Congress the true meaning of policy—not just refusing to enforce the law, but awarding benefits to the illegal aliens; in this case, employment authorization and welfare benefits.
While both papers are supposedly in the discussion stage, the Obama Administration has begun a test run of full administrative amnesty in Houston. There it has, under the guise of “efficiency”, has begun to dismiss deportation proceedings against illegal aliens on a wholesale level. Charges against aliens with no option to remain have been dropped and the aliens released from custody.
For the moment, most of the aliens are receiving no other benefit—for example, they are not receiving employment authorization. But since the Obama Administration is not proposing any expansion of E-Verify, illegal employment is the obvious option for the newly-freed illegal aliens.
ICE has further announced that it will begin implementing nationwide a new policy of “relief” a.k.a. release for all illegal aliens with relatives in the U.S. who have petitioned—or, apparently, might petition—to have the illegal immigrate legally under the vast “family reunification” provisions.
ICE will also no longer bring charges against such aliens—sounding the clarion call for everyone in the world with relatives in the U.S. to come here.
This is only one case where ICE is supposed to enforce the law, but instead has been directed to encourage illegal aliens to violate the law. Another case: illegal alien college students have apparently been given a free pass.
ICE here reinforcing the long-established policy for illegals: they are essentially free once they pass the immediate border area. This means the onus falls on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is responsible for stopping the entry of illegal aliens.
Which raises another point. A less well-known aspect of Obama’s administrative amnesty is the machinations regarding the structure of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Prior to the Homeland Security Act, the responsibility for border control was split between the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. USCS dealt with goods entering the United States. The INS dealt with people entering the country. Basically, there were two agencies dealing with border issues; one for things, one for people.
Then came 9/11 and some idiots came up with the idea that three separate agencies should deal with aliens: ICE, CBP, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And the idiots decided that two agencies will deal with things crossing the border; ICE and CBP. Add to this the reality that within CBP, the U.S. Border Patrol is a separate and independent agency that parallels ICE’s enforcement duties, and in effect you have four agencies dealing with immigration.
Now, in its wisdom, the Obama Regime has decided that it will add an additional layer of immigration enforcement. It has separated ICE into two agencies, mirroring the former separation of USCS and the INS offices of investigations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), distinguishing the previous Office of Investigations (IO) from Detention and Removal Operations (DRO).
This gives us a convoluted system of five different agencies or sub-agencies with immigration related enforcement authority—a recipe for disaster if ever there was. Cases will get lost in the confusion, responsibility will be vague and all will decide that another bureaucracy will be responsible. All will blame the other for lapses and only the illegal aliens will benefit.
Just another part of the Obama Administrative Amnesty. No-one will be held responsible for enforcement, because that responsibility will be fragmented.
My conclusion: at every level, the Obama Administration is sabotaging immigration enforcement, whether from deliberate non-feasance, bureaucratic inertia, or incompetence.
But mark it clearly: as long as Obama in office, he will work to implement amnesty, administrative and/ or legislative, by hook or by crook.
Depending on the results of Tuesday’s election, an immense conflict with Congress could be developing.
The blogger Federale (email him) is a 4th generation Californian and a veteran of federal law enforcement, including service in the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
Federale's opinions do not represent those of the Department of Homeland Security or the federal government, and are an exercise of rights protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.