Katie Pavlich
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As Erika touched on yesterday, the White House has released a new strategy surrounding the deportation of illegal aliens in the United States without Congressional approval. Yesterday on the White House website, under the disguise of "maximizing public safety and better focusing resources," Homeland Security Officials will now turn a blind eye to illegal aliens who "don't have a criminal record." The problem is, all illegal aliens do have criminal records. Entering the United States without permission is a crime per US Code-Section 1325- Improper Entry by Alien:

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection;
misrepresentation and concealment of facts Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty

White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz wrote the following on the White House blog yesterday:

President Obama is deeply committed to fixing our immigration laws and has been aggressively searching for partners in Congress who are willing to work with him to pass a new law. As he focuses on building a new 21st century immigration system that meets our nation’s economic and security needs, the President has a responsibility to enforce the existing laws in a smart and effective manner. This means making decisions that best focus the resources that Congress gives the Executive Branch to do this work. There are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number. So the Administration has developed a strategy to make sure we use those resources in a way that puts public safety and national security first. If you were running a law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, you would target those who pose the greatest harm before those who do not. Our immigration enforcement work is focused the same way.  

Under the President’s direction, for the first time ever the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States.  And they have succeeded; in 2010 DHS removed 79,000 more people who had been convicted of a crime compared to 2008.  Today, they announced that they are strengthening their ability to target criminals even further by making sure they are not focusing our resources on deporting people who are low priorities for deportation. This includes individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home. It also includes individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel. It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes.

So DHS, along with the Department of Justice, will be reviewing the current deportation caseload to clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk. And they will take steps to keep low-priority cases out of the deportation pipeline in the first place. They will be applying common sense guidelines to make these decisions, like a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record. In the end, this means more immigration enforcement pressure where it counts the most, and less where it doesn’t – that’s the smartest way to follow the law while we stay focused on working with the Congress to fix it.

The new strategy involves the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department reviewing deportation of illegal aliens on a case-by-case basis. The President, Munoz and Janet Napolitano have argued that "there are more than 10 million people who are in the U.S. illegally; it’s clear that we can’t deport such a large number," so if this is the case, why does the Obama Administration think the government has the resources to go through deportation cases on a case-by-case basis? Because the goal isn't deportation or enforcement of immigration laws, the goal is amnesty.

Back in June, I reported that an ICE memo essentially gave illegal aliens in the United States Amenesty based on certain criteria through the use of prosecutorial discretion.

Factors to Consider When Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion

When weighing whether an exercise of prosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given alien, ICE officers, agents,and attorneys should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to
 ­
•the agency's civil immigration enforcement priorities;
•the person's length of presence in the United States, with particular consideration given
to presence while in lawful status;
•the circumstances of the person's arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her
entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
•the person's pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the United States;
•whether the person, or the person's immediate relative,has served in the U.S. military,
reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in
combat;
•the person's criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest
warrants;
•the person's immigration history, including any prior removal, outstanding order of
removal, prior denial o f status, or evidence o f fraud;
•whether the person poses a national security or public safety concern;
•the person's ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships;
•the person's ties to the home country and condition~in the country;
•the person's age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly;
•whether the person has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent;
•whether the person is the primary caretaker o f a person with a mental or physical
disability, minor, or seriously ill relative;    ;
•whether the person or the person's spouse is pregnant or nursing;
•whether the person or the person's spouse suffers from severe mental or physical illness;
•whether the person's nationality renders removal unlikely;
•Whether the person is likely to be granted temporary or permanent status or other relief
from removal, including as a relative of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
•whether the person is likely to be granted temporary or permanent status or other relief
from removal, including as an asylum seeker, or a victim of domestic violence, human
trafficking, or other crime; .and
•whether the person is currently cooperating or has cooperated with federal, state or local law enforcement authorities, such as ICE, the U.S Attorneys or Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, or National Labor Relations Board, among others.


This list is not exhaustive and no one factor is determinative. ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should always consider prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis. The decisions should be based on the totality of the circumstances, with the goal of conforming to ICE's enforcement priorities.

President Obama is once again over-extending his hand to implement his political agenda previously struck down by Congress. The message to those thinking about coming to the United States illegaly is clear: come here, break the law by entering the United States, a sovereign country, without permission, use public services while burdening American taxpayers while not paying into the system, burden our schools and health care system, all without consequences to the illegal immigrant population.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is calling the move "adminstrative amnesty for illegal aliens" and a "blatant usurpation of Congress's constitutional authority."

"Today’s policy announcement clearly demonstrates the Obama administration’s defiance of both the constitutional separation of powers and the will of the American public in its relentless effort to gain amnesty for illegal aliens,” stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “From the outset, the administration has refused to enforce many immigration laws, essentially placing its own political agenda ahead of its constitutional responsibilities to carry out laws enacted by Congress. It has also acted aggressively to prevent state governments from implementing laws aimed at discouraging illegal immigration, including filing lawsuits against Arizona and Alabama.
 
“Supporters of comprehensive and targeted amnesties for illegal aliens have consistently failed to win approval by Congress or gain support from the American public,” Stein noted. “Having failed in the legislative process, the Obama administration has simply decided to usurp Congress’s constitutional authority and implement an amnesty program for millions of illegal aliens.”

The announcement seemingly comes in response to growing demands from illegal alien advocates that the administration exercise broad discretionary powers not to enforce laws against entire classes of people who are in the country illegally. “In spite of repeated statements from President Obama himself that he lacks the constitutional authority to implement an amnesty by executive fiat, the administration is now doing precisely that,” said Stein.
 
“This step by the White House amounts to a complete abrogation of the President’s duty to enforce the laws of the land and a huge breach of the public trust. Never, in the history of federal immigration enforcement, has an administration willfully and so egregiously usurped Congress’s and the people’s role to decide immigration issues. In essence, the administration has declared that U.S. immigration is now virtually unlimited to anyone willing to try to enter – and only those who commit violent felonies after arrival are subject to enforcement.  This is not the nation’s immigration law,” concluded Stein.

 

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Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.

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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography