Written by Alan Caruba
The Obama administration loves to pass unpopular legislation—Obamacare—and release news of unpopular policies on Christmas Eve. The assumption is that people are too distracted to pay attention and, anyway, there's nothing they can do about it.
Illegal aliens received a Christmas gift when the chief of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), John Morton, released new guidelines for local police who might think it was their job to cooperate with ICE by detaining illegal aliens stopped for probable cause. Previously ICE had a "287 (g) program" that facilitated the process, but no more.
As ICE explained this change, the administration's goal is to limit the role of local cops with regard to the detention of illegal aliens arrested for misdemeanors (offices punishable by jail sentences of between 30-days and one year) or violations (offenses punishable by jail sentences of 30-days or less). Apparently there are just so many of these arrests that ICE doesn't want to bother with them anymore. And, after all, it only involves someone here ILLEGALLY.
According to ICE, the policy change will "further enhance our ability to focus enforcement efforts on serious offenders" by "changing who ICE will issue detainers against."
Need it be said that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pushed hard to get this policy change, along with a variety of immigrant and refugee advocacy groups, including the Arab-American Institute.
I was reading a new book by Brett Braaten, "Homeland Insecurity: Failed Politics, Policies, and a Nation at Risk", when the new ICE policy was announced. The author is a former special agent whose career spans 29 years with both the U.S. Customs Service and, after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He saw how these agencies operated from the inside.
In his book, he warns that "The tangled web of guidelines, each one more convoluted than the last, stifles every innovative though that might otherwise see the light of day. The political correctness and cultural sensitivities that abound in the federal system, shackle law enforcement officers who are simply trying to do right by the American taxpayer and get everyone home safe at the end of the day."
What he learned along the way is the pecking order of the FBI, the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.) "There had never been, nor would there ever be, a selfless spirit of cooperation among these agencies." After 9/11 the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 was supposed to create greater cooperation among its components, but old rivalries die hard. At the bottom of the pecking order was and remains now the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"Customs personnel quickly found that dealing with illegal alien processing and deportation was unwieldy and mind numbing. Layers of bureaucratic fine print, immigration laws saturated with loopholes, and exceptions to exceptions, slow the process to a near halt." During its first term, it became obvious to anyone paying attention that deporting illegal aliens had a very low priority.
If you are here illegally, unless you engage in serious crimes, you are not likely to be returned to your homeland. Indeed, the U.S. has become your homeland and one that where you can get a job and have access to multiple social programs which should be reserved for U.S. citizens.
Under the aegis of the Homeland Security Department, immigration enforcement has become a bad joke. The Center for Immigration Studies recently criticized DHS saying that "the agency responsible for overseeing educational institutions hosting foreign students rarely exercises its enforcement authority." There are nearly 1.2 million foreign students and their dependents in the U.S., attending close to 7,000 educational institutions. We are likely to learn that some of them are here for purposes of terrorism, but by then it will be too late.
Braaten warns that "There is no way that law enforcement can be efficient in the execution of its mission when it is little more than an expression of the political policies designed to serve the best interests of the current administration, regardless of affiliation." The nation's problem with illegal aliens has a long history. Occasional amnesties have only served as an inducement to enter illegally.
To those Americans who think border control is not a priority or that the presence of illegal aliens pose no real problem, Braaten says, Whether (they) like it or not, illegal aliens bring the ills of their respective societies with them. Lacking any reasonable societal pressure from (native born and naturalized Americans), there is no impetus to assimilate into American culture. There's no pressure to learn English in a society that falls all over itself to accommodate a vast population that lacks the interest or ability to learn it."
Large portions of California and the Southwest have literally been reclaimed by their illegal populations. "The southwest border," says Braaten, "has devolved to a state of near chaos. Communities, overrun with a crippling demand for social services from a foreign populace, find themselves falling deeper and deeper into deficient spending with no relief in sight."
The Obama administration has managed to cover up the "Fast and Furious" scandal in which the ATF allowed nearly 2,000 guns to get into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. It cost the life of a border patrol officer and is currently protected against further Congressional investigation by an executive order. In the course of the investigations, however, Eric Holder became the first Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress.
While Braaten focused on revelations about customs and immigration enforcement, he also took note of Department of Homeland Security failures that we know about, the uselessness of the Transportation Safety Administration that makes air travel a nightmare, and, in effect, the widespread belief that the U.S. is adequately and actually being protected by the alphabet soup of DHS agencies, and others charged with protecting the nation.
© Alan Caruba, 2012
Alan Caruba blogs daily at Facts Not Fantasy.
An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.