Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and the other Republican presidential hopefuls have still not responded on their campaign websites to the Obama Administration’s confirmation, in a letter from Homeland Security (sic) Secretary Janet Napolitano to Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and 21 other Treason Lobby Senators released August 18, that it is indeed implementing an administrative amnesty for illegal aliens undocumented Democrats.
Of course, as CNN.com’s Alan Silverleib wrote:
“The White House seems to be betting on…slipping out news of a major shift in the federal government's approach to illegal immigrants at a time when most Americans traditionally hit the road for summer vacation…
" ‘This kind of (policy rollout) may have worked 30 years ago,’ [Northeastern University political scientist Bill] Mayer said. ‘But given the way the media has developed, people on the other side will still be able to respond via talk radio and cable television and blogs.’"
[Immigration reform in August: why now?, August 22, 2011]
Notwithstanding the internet, however, it’s obvious that, as NumbersUSA’s Jeremy Beck has demonstrated, most of the dinosaur media simply has no intention of reporting Obama’s Administrative Amnesty—far less its dire implications for unemployed American workers.
Napolitano’s announcement is a de facto implementation of the repeatedly-defeated DREAM Act—illegal aliens in deportation proceedings who would be eligible for its protection (i.e. they are unlawfully attending post-secondary institutions. or are perhaps merely under age 35) can stay.
But the Napolitano letter also reveals that the Obama Administration plans to review all 300,000 current deportation cases and to suspend them if it considers the illegal alien undocumented Democrat poses no threat to “public safety and national security”. And the Administration has leaked that all these illegal aliens will be allowed to apply for (i.e. will be given) work permits:
“A senior administration official said… [t]he indefinite stay will not give illegal immigrants a path to legal permanent residency, but will let them apply for a work permit.
"As a matter of law, they are eligible for a work authorization card, basically a tax payer ID card, but that decision is made separately and on a case-by-case basis," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the policy change before it was announced.
The official said the change will give authorities the chance to keep some cases from even reaching the court system. The message to agents in the field, the official said, would be "you do not need to put everyone you come across in the system."
U.S. undertaking case-by-case review on deportation, AP, Aug 18, 2011
This is amnesty, pure and simple—not merely for the 12-20 million illegal aliens currently here, since the Administration is clearly signaling that it will not now begin deportation proceedings against them unless they have committed a serious crime, but also for the estimated 700 million foreigners who want to come to the U.S.
Obama’s signal to the world: if you can get in, and avoid being convicted of a serious crime, you will not be deported.
In the end, the Obama Regime Administrative Amnesty is a serious Constitutional crisis—not like the ginned-up claims regarding Iran-Contra or Bush signing statements, but a real crisis, and with serious implications.
This crisis has evolved from the claim that limited resources restrict the Executive’s ability to enforce the law, to the awarding of law violators with illegal benefits, to the latest extraordinary step—enforcing proposed legislation that failed to pass Congress on every attempt, whether with Republican or Democratic majorities.
Conservatives have long complained about “judicial legislation”—liberal judges imposing their agenda by decree—and it has become an issue in judicial nomination hearings. Now we have Executive branch legislation—liberal bureaucrats imposing their agenda by decree.
This is what a real Imperial Presidency is. It is, in fact, a slow and deliberate transformation of the Republic to a dictatorship. This is why I now refer to the “Obama Regime”.
NumbersUSA’s Roy Beck has just argued that the House Republicans’ favorite immigration legislation, the federal E-Verify law, is still worth passing even though it is now clear Obama intends to deport no-one—because employers would still tend to obey it; and because Obama’s ignoring would “prove he deserves impeachment”.
I tend to agree that E-verify is worthwhile (although I disagree with Beck that “deferred action” in deportation cases is legal). But I believe Napolitano lawless letter has already made it crystal clear: impeaching Obama’s officials, and ultimately the President himself, the only answer.
I detected the Obama Regime’s coming drive for an Administrative Amnesty on my blog Federale back on February24, 2009, just a month after Obama’s inauguration. Two hacks from the treason bar, Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta, argued that Congress stood in the way of an amnesty. They announced it was up to Barack Hussein Obama to give the country one, by hook or by crook. I remembered Clinton Administration White House operative’s Paul Begala’s comment describing the last Democratic President’s use of executive orders:
“Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool.”
Subsequently, I wrote about the Administrative Amnesty’s progress for VDARE.com under the prescient headline Will A GOP Congress Block Obama’s Ongoing Administrative Amnesty? (October 31, 2010).
Answer: see below. But first, some perspective.
The Democrats’ defiance of the laws of the United States regarding immigration enforcement actually began with Doris Meissner, Clinton Administration Commissioner of the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (1993-2000). She authored a memorandum concerning what she called “prosecutorial discretion” dated November 17, 2000—just before Clinton left office and less than a year before the 9/11 attacks, perpetrated by aliens who had benefited from the Clinton Administration’s consistent hostility towards enforcement at all levels. (And let’s not forget the anonymous thousands killed by illegal aliens, like the Bologna pere and fils killed by gangstas or the more pedestrian daily toll of illegal alien drunk drivers.
Meissner’s premise: the Executive branch, at the lowest level, could routinely ignore Acts of Congress.
In fact, of course, a failure to act by a Federal employee is routinely a dismissible offense—it’s called non-feasance—and, even more importantly, a direct challenge to the separation of powers embodied in the Constitution. Failing to act is in effect a claim by the Executive branch that it holds a nullification power over the laws of the United States.
Meissner started apparently reasonably, claiming that the agency has only limited resources.
True, the legacy INS had an annual budget and could not spend money not appropriated by Congress. But, from the President on down, each officer of the Executive branch takes an oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
So, for instance, if the budget for detention space has been depleted and no more aliens can be placed in custody, then clearly an officer cannot take an alien into custody. But that does not mean that the alien cannot be charged with an offense and placed into removal proceedings sans custody.
Nevertheless, Meissner and the Clinton Administration claimed precisely that limited resources justified their ignoring the law. And more: they claimed broadly that individual aliens not only could benefit from this de facto amnesty—but could also gain rights and privileges, including the always-coveted employment authorization.
The Meissner memorandum was the first step to the current Administrative Amnesty. She listed a series of attributes that would authorize an officer of the legacy INS not only to ignore a violation of law, but to inform t
he alien in writing of the agency’s decision to refrain from action—and, furthermore, to inform the alien of any available benefits. Thus she wrote:
“If, however, there is a potential benefit that is linked to the action (for example, the availability of employment authorization for beneficiaries of deferred action), it is appropriate to identify it.” (Any alien who has been granted “deferred action” can apply for permission to work legally using Form I-765—PDF).
Meissner did note a caveat—the alien must have been in deportation proceeding to gain such extra benefits. But under the Obama Regime, we shall see that is no longer the case.
Meissner even argued that, even when Congress specifically charged the Executive with performing a function—such as deporting illegal aliens—the Executive still had the authority to ignore this charge, on the grounds that it was just “standard terminology”. She wrote:
“As a law enforcement agency, the INS generally has prosecutorial discretion within its area of law enforcement responsibility unless that discretion has been clearly limited by statute in a way that goes beyond standard terminology. For example, a statute directing that the INS ‘shall’ remove removable aliens would not be construed by itself to limit prosecutorial discretion, but the specific limitation on releasing certain criminal aliens in section 236(c)(2) of the INA evidences a specific congressional intention to limit discretion not to detain certain criminal aliens in removal proceedings that would otherwise exist.”
Meissner did acknowledge that the agency could not always grant a benefit to which an alien was not entitled by law. But, nevertheless, she asserted that it could be done in some circumstances:
“In many cases, the procedural posture of the case, and the state of the factual record, will affect the ability of the INS to use prosecutorial discretion. For example, since the INS cannot admit an inadmissible alien to the United States unless a waiver is available, in many cases the INS’ options are more limited in the admission context at a port-of-entry than in the deportation context…
“For example, the INS has prosecutorial discretion not to place a removable alien in proceedings, but it does not have prosecutorial discretion to approve a naturalization application by an alien who is ineligible for that benefit under the INA.”
It was routine during the Meissner years for aliens to receive benefits based on “discretion”—including admission to the United States and benefits such as legal permanent residence for which the aliens were not lawfully entitled. But her memorandum made it explicit.
This was the genesis of Administrative Amnesty—residence and benefits for illegal aliens as a result of the law not being followed. Now it has reached full fruition with the release of two memorandums from Obama-appointed ICE Director John T. Morton, dated March 2 and (a more comprehensive version) June 17
After two years of quietly implementing Administrative Amnesty on a pilot basis, Morton laid out the groundwork for ICE officers and agents to begin an Administrative Amnesty openly.
Napolitano’s letter extends this Administrative Amnesty to aliens who are already in deportation proceedings.
The Morton Memos do claim that certain classes of criminal aliens, national security threats, recent illegal entrants, absconders, and those who commit visa fraud will be excluded from the amnesty.
But of course these exemptions were illusory. For example:
(This is not a new development for ICE. For example, in one notorious case ICE repeatedly failed to detain Salvadoran illegal alien gangbanger Edwin Ramos, who eventually murdered three Americans in San Francisco. Even under Bush, ICE was run by liberal activists who burrowed into the service under Meissner.)
Obama’s developing Administrative Amnesty takes several forms. But the basic pattern, as we saw from the Meissner Memorandum, is eschewing an action, and also conferring benefits on the illegal aliens—in effect, a sort of legal status and employment authorization.
DREAM is probably the most celebrated component of Administrative Amnesty. After DREAM consistently failed to pass Congress, the Obama Regime simply decided to implement it one illegal alien at a time.
One example: the case of Jessica Colotl, a Mexican illegal studying at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University. Despite being placed in deportation proceedings when detected after a traffic violation, she is still in the U.S.—with employment authorization. [Traffic stop puts KSU student in jail as an illegal immigrant, by Kathryn Dobies, The Marietta Daily Journal, May 01, 2010](She wants to be an immigration lawyer!) She had no legal avenue of relief, but she did have an illegal and unconstitutional avenue of relief: mere permission from John Morton to remain.
Similarly, Harvard student Eric Balderas was placed in proceedings after being detained at an airport, but subsequently released. [US may deport Harvard student, By Maria Sachetti, Boston Globe, June 12, 2010]
Other illegal aliens students are publically known to ICE but are allowed to remain unmolested—for example, Pedro Ramirez, student body President at Fresno State; Jose Salcedo, student body President at Miami-Dade College [Miami student leader reveals he is an undocumented migrant, By Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald, November 11, 2010]University of San Francisco 2011 honoree Isabel Castillo.
Similarly, earlier this year, Morton in effect single-handedly repealed the Defense of Marriage Act— which, like it or not, is after all the duly-enacted law of the land. Morton halted removal proceedings against Henry Velandia, a homosexual illegal Venezuelan “married” to Josh Vandiver, a homosexual U.S. citizen. [New hope for bi-national gay couples,The Washington Blade, July 2, 2011] (This policy too has now been confirmed by the Napolitano letter, and much of the minimal news coverage has been gloating about this aspect).
Remember—Morton’s actions are not even a Begala-style Executive Order signed by the President. They are just memorandums issued by an obscure bureaucrat.
On first glance, the Obama Administration’s much-touted focus on criminal investigations of employers looks like aggressive and successful enforcement.
But in fact it is what Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called “Boob Bait for Bubbas”—meant to obscure, hide, fool, and hide from the public and from Congress the true implication of policy.
These investigations waste time and resources on minimal criminal arrests while allowing illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. The strategy is as much part of the administrative amnesty as failing to deport criminal aliens, releasing arrested aliens, or implementing the DREAM Act without a law passed by Congress.
One recent example:
"Hundreds of illegal immigrants have fake driver's licenses from two Bakersfield DMV locations. And, two men are behind bars, charged in the driver's license scam.
DMV officials in Sacramento say this scheme speaks volumes about the threat to homeland security. But, in this case authorities are confident they have caught the two people responsible.
Investigators are calling it an elaborate scheme to help illegal immigrants from Korea and China get California driver's licenses.
One of two suspects in jail accused of carrying out the scam is Chong Huang Kim. He and Dae Wahn Ahn are accused of forging documents to help illegal Asian immigrants stay in this country.
Authorities say Kim and Ahn provided fake Canadian passports and legitimate social security numbers to help undocumented Asian immigrants obtain California driver's licenses."
(Driver's license scam leads to two arrests, August 26, 2011. Emphasis added)
Sounds great. But ICE’s own press release (May 19, 2011) contained the telling admission that, of those “hundreds of illegal aliens” who obtained not only California Driver’s Licenses but also facially legally issued Social Security Cards, ICE was able to make a total of only six arrests—two criminal arrests (both were visa overstayers) and four administrative arrests of illegal aliens (some of whom were undoubted released as is the wont of ICE in most cases). This despite the fact that those “hundreds of illegal aliens” provided their addresses to which the driver’s licenses were mailed.
Obviously, ICE was simply not interested in rounding up and deporting those “hundreds of illegal aliens”. It was much more interested in “exercising discretion” than making arrests.
ICE spent untold hours on the case, but all America got for certain is that hundreds of illegals from China and Korea, which is on the Visa Waiver Program as well, are now wandering here unmolested.
And that is quite acceptable to John T. Morton, Obama Regime front man on the rolling amnesty.
Another example: The ongoing saga of Chipotle Mexican Grill—hundreds of illegal aliens were employed, but after an ICE audit and a continuing criminal investigation, none have been arrested. Hundreds resigned after being confronted with their crimes, but they went free. The arrogant illegal aliens have even invaded Chipotle locations and demanded reinstatement and back wages—all ignored by ICE. (Of course, no Chipotle executives have been arrested either—the company will merely pay an affordable fine).
Symbolic of the Obama Regime’s priorities, the ICE bust of Guatemalan day laborers headed to the Baltimore Ravens’ Gillette Stadium to shovel snow from the pitch:
“But early on Jan. 6, federal immigration agents targeting ‘specific fugitives from deportation’ stopped the work crew in Foxboro. Nine were taken into custody. The rest were told to show up at future immigration proceedings, and then cleared to go to the stadium. In fact, the agents drove them there.’
(How did dozens of illegal immigrants end up shoveling snow at Gillette?, by Karen Lee Ziner, Providence Journal, January 31, 2010. Emphases added.)
I headed my blog entry on this absurdity: ICE Taxi Service.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the so-called immigration “courts” where aliens are supposed to be ordered deported or removed, in the parlance of the Immigration and Nationality Act, have long been releasing them and/ or giving them benefits in the name of “discretion”. Exposing this scandal has been the specialty of VDARE.com writer Juan Mann.
But under Obama’s Administrative Amnesty, the scandal has reached new heights. In Houston, Dallas, and Miami, all hotbeds of illegal immigration, aliens in deportation proceedings have had their charges dropped and are being released, mostly with no legal status or even employment authorization, free to continue their illegal presence and, most likely, unlawful employment at places like Chipotle.
The classic example: Obama’s own Aunt Zeituni Onyango, an illegal alien who surfaced in the last days of the 2008 campaign, eliciting no sentient response from the McCain campaign. She was subsequently amnestied by an EOIR bureaucrat on transparently specious ground; there was no appeal. http://federaleagent86.blogspot.com/2010/08/immigration-court-amnesty.html. (Similarly, ICE did not appeal an EOIR decision to release career criminal Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Sandoval).
A craw in the Obama Amnesty’s throat has been resistance by local police, patriots like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Section 287(g) authority and the unwelcome illegal alien arrests they all combine to produce. So the Regime has begun to punish local law enforcement and to ignore the aliens they bring to its attention by local law.
Whether it be DREAM Act recipients arrested by local police, other illegal aliens arrested by the locals, or the ongoing harassment of Arpaio for his success at arresting illegal aliens, the message is that the Regime just doesn’t want to know about immigration violations.
Every day brings more evidence of the Obama Administrative Amnesty—such as Jose Antonio Vargas—a threefer for the Left as an illegal homosexual alien of color. Despite his very public acknowledgement of his illegal status in the New York Times Magazine and the cancelation of his Washington State driver’s license, Vargas remains at large.
Immigration has, at least since the 1980s, been one of those wedge issues that separates ordinary Americans from their political class. Both parties had their own rationale for supporting immigration—Republicans in thrall to the “Slave Power”; Democrats enthralled by the prospect of Electing a New People that will ensure them permanent majorities (they think). But both parties were united against the American consensus for limited immigration and assimilation.
The gloves came off with the failure of the Bush Administration’s attempts at amnesty. That put the radical left and international business on notice that there could be no repeat of the Reagan Amnesty.
But Congress, unlike the Executive branch, was not of one mind. One moment, it was writing and passing helpful laws like The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which really did aid immigration enforcement and reduce immigrant welfare usage. Next moment, it was continuing piecemeal Reagan-era amnesties, with favors to welfare-addicted immigrant groups with the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act.
Congress’ ambivalence let the Executive branch take the lead. Without any doubt, a weak Legislative branch by default allowed the President and the bureaucracy to make policy regardless of the law.
And the answer to my earlier question—Will A GOP Congress Block Obama’s Ongoing Administrative Amnesty?
Sort of. There has been at least some reaction to Obama’s usurpation of Congress’ legislative authority.
Rep. Lamar Smith’s HALT Act does seek to limit most aspects of the Administrative Amnesty. It restricts Temporary Protective Status, Cancellation of Removal, Humanitarian Parole (and by implication Public Interest Parole), and waivers to bars to admission, as well as the legal fictions of Deferred Action and Extended Voluntary Departure.
But, typical of Republicans, these restrictions only last only until January 21, 2013—the possible end of the Obama Regime. It then allows any succeeding administration—let’s say, randomly, Republicans—to continue the Bush Administration’s own, lesser version, of the Administrative Amnesty.
Who knows—will some future Republican, for instance Rick Perry, emerge after January 21, 2013 as the immigration equivalent of Bob Dole, tax collector for the welfare state?
What will be the next defeated legislation that Obama will enact by decree? We already have a taste with proposed attacks on the Second Amendment, Cap and Trade implementation by the EPA threats, and unauthorized wars in the Balkans and Libya.
The past and present inform us of the shape of things to come—unless and until Congress reaches for its ultimate weapon: impeachment.
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.