The White House, acting through John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has set up a mandate that could wind up granting amnesty to many illegal aliens.
Morton dared not act without White House approval, and the president ignored the constitutional requirement for congressional action on immigration reform legislation.
ICE Director John Morton issued a memorandum dated June 17, 2011, entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens.”
The memo sets forth categories that DHS officers, agents, and attorneys are to consider in determining whether or not to cancel deportation/removal proceedings or efforts — regardless of where in the system an alien may be.
The memo notes that “the list is not exhaustive.” The disingenuous excuse offered for the memo is that it will “preserve government resources” (funding). The actual reason is that the president is running for re-election.
Prosecutorial discretion means that DHS officials are to make judgment calls on illegal aliens using guidelines such as the following:
- Did the alien graduate from high school — what is the alien’s education status?
- Was the alien brought here as a child?
- Does the alien have a relative in the U. S. military — National Guard or reserves included?
- Is the alien a security risk?
- Is the alien pregnant or breast-feeding?
- Does the alien care for disabled, infirmed, or mentally challenged relatives?
- Does the alien work?
- Does the alien serve the community?
Such guidelines will lead to utter chaos with thousands of DHS employees making helter-skelter decisions as to whether an alien should be granted amnesty.
The result will be selective enforcement of the nation’s current immigration laws. The granting of unbridled discretion to DHS officials will subject them to a myriad of troubles including bribery.
The 2011 Morton memorandum constitutes the second attempt by the Obama administration to effectuate amnesty for illegal aliens through a bypass of the legislative process.
A June 27, 2011, Houston Chronicle article, “Report: Feds downplayed ICE case dismissals,” traces the recent Morton memo to an earlier version issued in 2010 that called for ICE to prioritize the deportations of illegal immigrants and granted ICE personnel wide discretion in dismissing immigration cases.
The same reasoning was provided then that limited resources required prioritizing deportations.
According to an Aug. 25, 2010, Houston Chronicle article, when U.S. Senate Republicans, ICE employee union officers, and newsmedia began questioning the 2010 Morton memo, DHS officials stated that dismissals of deportation cases were only for those aliens with pending green card applications.
Tre Rebstock, president of the Houston ICE employees union, expressed concern that ICE field personnel would lose the public’s trust, as the DHS actions had “the hallmarks of a cover-up.”
He said that the DHS officials lied or at the very least misrepresented the truth regarding what they were doing on the dismissal of deportation cases. He repeated these allegations on June 28, 2011.
On that same day, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security held a hearing on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act) last rejected by Congress in 2010.
Although the Democrats stacked a larger-than-usual hearing room with illegal aliens, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, a witness at the hearing, said there would be no arrests.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, questioned her on DHS efforts to mislead Congress regarding the 2010 Morton memo. He also questioned her on the 2011 memo that advances DREAM Act policies.
Napolitano explained that the ICE Houston field office “conflated two different memos” released by Director Morton and thus the agency policy was “misconstrued.” Cornyn was among those senators who did not buy her explanation.
Obama’s Hispanic support has eroded due to his failure to push immigration reform as promised.
With the 2012 election closing in, the president means to reclaim that vote. The 2011 Morton memorandum, by incorporating DREAM Act provisions, advances Obama’s immigration reform without a Congressional vote.
At question are what did congressional Democrats know about the 2010 and 2011 Morton Memoranda and when did they know it.
What the president cannot achieve through legislation, he means to get through executive order or bureaucratic Departmental regulations, orders, or directives, such as the Morton Memoranda.
Republican members of Congress, with few exceptions, appear stymied and are doing little to stop this White House usurpation of power.
Many Democrats see efforts to detain and deport criminal aliens as civil rights violations. Democratic governors of Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York refuse to comply with efforts such as the Secure Communities Program (SCP) that uses FBI and DHS databases to identify criminal aliens at the time of booking.
Over at the Department of Homeland Security, Obama appointees have issued a directive to enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative authority.” Liberal politicians nationwide continue to pressure Obama to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
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