Written by Tom Fitton
This week the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform bill, which provides instant amnesty and a path to citizenship for tens of millions of illegal aliens, passed a procedural hurdle in the United States Senate.
Per Fox News:
The Senate passed preliminary but key votes Tuesday in its march to approval of sweeping, bipartisan immigration reform, but final passage remained uncertain as Republicans pushed for tighter border-security provisions and tougher rules for those seeking legal status.
The two procedural votes effectively put the bill formally before the Senate and open for amendments. Both drew more than 80 votes, reflecting a bipartisan desire to have the debate that now is expected to last three weeks.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, President Obama continued to push for passage of the mammoth illegal immigration reform bill, saying the “moment is now” to put in place a plan to provide amnesty to illegals: “Referring to the 11 million currently in the country unlawfully, he said, ‘Yes, they broke the rules; they didn’t wait their turn. They shouldn’t be let off easy. They shouldn’t be allowed to game the system. But at the same time, the vast majority of these individuals aren’t looking for any trouble. They’re just looking to provide for their families, contribute to their communities.’”
Allow me to read between the lines. The president is effectively saying that because most illegal aliens are nice people (his estimate) we should overlook the fact that they broke the law. And since they can’t be allowed to “game the system,” instead we’ll change the system to accommodate their law-breaking and give them the privileges of legal residency, taxpayer-subsidized benefits and then citizenship.
And let’s not let the president’s wild claim that illegal aliens are only here to contribute to society go uncontested. We’ve heard this before, as a justification for the Obama administration’s “prioritized deportation scheme,” which supposedly only allowed peace-loving illegal aliens to escape deportation.
Here’s the problem. JW was able to prove through documented evidence that the Obama administration abandoned deportation proceedings against illegal aliens convicted of serious and sometimes violent crimes. Time and time again, we’ve seen these illegal alien criminals harming American citizens after law enforcement authorities, following sanctuary policies, sent them back onto the streets. (In fact, as JW previously disclosed, one of the Boston bombers should have been deported in accordance with the law.)
Moreover, the Obama administration has no idea how dangerous some of these illegal aliens are because, according to documents we recently obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) stopped doing background checks late last year!
Instead, the agency adopted costly “lean and lite” procedures in an effort to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications spurred by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, which grants illegal aliens a two-year deferment from deportation. This DACA program is one of Obama’s lawless amnesty programs through which he unilaterally is ignoring the law to let these illegal aliens avoid deportation.
Here’s how we got hold of these documents. Acting on a tip from a whistleblower at a federal law enforcement agency, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request with DHS, for “all communications, memoranda, emails, policy guidance, directives, initiatives, and any other correspondence respecting the scope and extent of background checks to be performed (or not) on aliens applying to the Obama administration’s DACA program.”
JW filed the FOIA on October 26, 2012. The Immigration and National Security Act (INA) mandates a “coordinated, uniform, and efficient,” system of background checks. Instead, the FOIA documents reveal a costly, haphazard process, with only cursory review for the backgrounds of illegal aliens seeking “deferred status.”
Here are some of the highlights from the records:
In a series of agency memos beginning in September 14, 2012, field offices were told to expect the National Benefits Center (which collects all DACA applications) to conduct only “lean & lite” background checks on illegal alien applicants, and that, henceforth, “NBC will not perform full TECS checks or any evidence review on these cases before we ship to the field.” An October 14 memo reiterated that under the new “lean and lite” policy, “Hits will be sent to the field without resolution.” On October 25, the St. Paul Field Director conceded to staffers that the new “lean & lite” procedures were for an indefinite period of time, saying, “I just can’t tell you when things will revert back to the way they used to be.”
An email chain from September 5 and through November 14 indicates managerial pressure not to turn any illegal alien applicant away for lack of ID, including the explicit directive in an October 3 memo, “Biometric processing should not be refused solely because an applicant does not present an acceptable ID.” In an October 1 memo further restricting independent action by agency personnel, they were instructed, “Every two weeks field offices will report the number of DACA requestors who appear for biometrics collection at an ASC during the previous two week period, but were turned away without fingerprints or photographs being taken. Field offices will also need to provide the reason why the DACA requestor was turned away by the ASC ISO.”
The documents suggest added taxpayer costs for the new deportation deferral program. On June 28, 2012, all Regional Service Managers were informed that they were to “come up with the number of guards that would be required and a dollar amount” in order to meet the new DACA processing requirements. On July 31, 2012, the agency announced, “In support of the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, USCIS is procuring 40 additional biometrics workstations.”
On November 9, 2012, just three days after Obama was reelected, in an “!!! IMPORTANT DACA MESSAGE!!! The agency was directed to: “Please put all DACA work on hold until further notice.” There are no later-dated documents in the production to indicate how or when USCIS resumed DACA background checks or application processing.
The documents also reveal that, contrary to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claim that DACA applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “through no fault of their own,” the directive actually created a new avenue of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to a June 18, 2012, agency memo from District 15 Director, David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”
These smoking gun documents show that the Obama administration seems to be throwing public safety and national security out the door in implementing its illicit and unilateral amnesty program for illegal aliens. Whatever happens in Congress, we must confront Barack Obama’s scheme to enact illegal alien amnesty via executive fiat. It’s wrong, unconstitutional, and it’s dangerous.
And as it relates specifically to the Gang of Eight amnesty in the Senate, the costs and security lapses of this program show that this administration can’t be trusted to implement any of the new security measures, weak as they are, in the amnesty bill in the Senate.
So we have two issues before us. The current crisis caused by Obama’s unilateral actions, contrary to law and the Constitution, to suspend enforcement of our immigration laws. And the second crisis is the current legislation in the U.S. Senate that both fails to address Obama’s lawlessness and further undermines the law by rewarding lawbreakers with amnesty, citizenship, and taxpayer cash.
Judicial Watch is doing its part to address these attacks on the rule of the law through its investigations and litigation. And all of this work educates the American people about the importance of enforcing the law in immigration matters.
I encourage you to let your views be heard in Congress. Right now, you should call your Senators. You can reach them at 202-224-3121.
This week another scandal exploded into the news, when Edward Snowden, a former tech contractor and CIA employee, admitted last Sunday night that he leaked classified details about a National Security Agency spy program. Codenamed PRISM, this program involved, in part, the “broad monitoring” and collection of phone records and other data from the American people.
Why kind of data? Video and voice chats, videos, photos, voice over IP conversations, file transfers, login notifications and social networking details – all were collected and analyzed.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things…I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under,” Snowden explained in an interview with The Guardian. My initial views on these matters is that, whether or not the intelligence activity is illegal or unconstitutional, we must carefully examine what the Obama administration is up to. Why? Because the Obama gang too often lies and violates the public trust on national security matters.
Now Mr. Snowden, who is reportedly hiding away in Hong Kong, faces criminal prosecution and the Obama administration is wasting no time in pursuing accountability. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Justice Department…said it had started a criminal investigation ‘into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access.’”
This is the same DOJ that seized the records of Associated Press reporters in a DOD leak investigation, a decision AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion”. The DOJ also obtained the records of FOX News based on the absurd claims, signed off on by Attorney General Holder, that Fox News reporter James Rosen was involved in some type of espionage conspiracy.
The Obama administration lately has demonstrated no patience for leaks – at least leaks that make it look bad.
Just contrast the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of justice against Snowden with the preferential treatment given to those involved in the leak of classified details about the bin Laden raid to the filmmakers behind Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.
Last week, courtesy of the Project on Government Oversight, we learned that the Obama administration has been “sitting on a report” by the Office of Inspector General which concludes that the former CIA director and defense Secretary Leon Panetta leaked classified details to Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmaker Mark Boal.
Panetta also discussed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret” during his presentation at the awards ceremony, according to a draft Pentagon inspector general’s report published Wednesday by the Project on Government Oversight.
A source close to Panetta said Wednesday evening that he was unaware anyone without the proper security clearances was present at the event, which included both CIA and military personnel.
Does this not also represent an “unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access?”
It would certainly seem so.
And in terms of whether or not this information could be harmful to our national security, the Obama administration is already on the record in the affirmative. In our related FOIA lawsuit in the matter, Obama administration lawyers disclosed in sworn court documents that sensitive information released to the filmmakers for Zero Dark Thirty, could cause an “unnecessary security and counterintelligence risk” if released to the public.
If you’d like some more background on JW’s bin Laden leaks investigation, click here. JW previously obtained records from the DOD and the CIA regarding meetings and communications between the government agencies and the filmmakers in preparation for the film. We demonstrated that the Obama administration was actively seeking to have high visibility in bin Laden related projects ostensibly to help the president’s approval ratings in an election year.
And our work on the bin Laden raid leaks led to a criminal referral to the DOJ against Undersecretary Mike Vickers (who also disclosed the name of one of the Navy SEALS) that went nowhere, as far as I can tell.
So let’s review.
One the one hand, Obama administration officials release classified details they admit could be harmful to national security to filmmakers making a blockbuster movie that portrays Obama as a “gutsy” Commander-in-Chief. It appears the then-CIA director himself is implicated in the leaks. The government conducts an investigation (at the request of the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King) and then stonewalls the completion and release of the report (like the IRS report on the targeting of conservatives, well past the November elections). So far there has been zero action taken by the administration to hold the leakers to account.
On the other hand, a contractor leaks information about an intelligence program that almost everyone in Washington assumed was in place and this low-level leaker is subject to almost immediate prosecution.
Politico hits the nail on the head: “Word that Panetta, a key member of Obama’s national security team, might have been responsible for improper disclosures without encountering any known repercussions comes as the administration faces questions over the fairness of the aggressive anti-leak investigations and prosecutions being mounted by the Justice Department.”
And what does the administration have to say for itself?
White House spokesman Jay Carney had no response. He claimed to be unaware of the report, but said he’d look into it. In 2011, Carney exercised no such discretion, blindly labeling Rep. King’s suggestion that the administration leaked classified details to the filmmakers as “ridiculous” and “simply false.”
“We don’t discuss classified information,” he said.
Wrong again, Mr. Carney. You leak when the information suits your purposes and you stonewall when it does not. And that is the sort of selective transparency that has completely undermined the people’s trust in you, the president and his administration.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Political correctness is dangerous, even deadly, especially when it is practiced by one of the nation’s most important law enforcement agencies.
Judicial Watch recently released hundreds of pages of FBI memos and other documents revealing that, in 2012, the agency purged its anti-terrorism training curricula of material determined by an undisclosed group of “Subject Matter Experts” (SME) to be “offensive” to Muslims. The excised material included references linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism, tying al Qaeda to the 1993 World Trade Center and Khobar Towers bombings, and suggesting that “young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance … may fit the terrorist profile best.”
These discoveries all stem from our investigation of a February 8, 2012, meeting between FBI Director Robert Mueller and various Islamic organizations. During the meeting, Mueller reportedly assured the Islamic groups in attendance that the agency had ordered the removal of presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that were deemed “offensive.”
As reported by NPR: “The FBI has completed a review of offensive training material and has purged 876 pages and 392 presentations, according to a briefing provided to lawmakers.”
To get the full story on the FBI’s attempts to placate Muslims, perhaps to the detriment of our national security, we filed a FOIA request on March 7, 2012. Specifically, we sought access to records detailing the meeting as well as “any and all records setting criteria or guidelines for FBI curricula on Islam or records identifying potentially offensive material within the FBI curricula on Islam.” We also asked for records detailing the directives to withdraw FBI presentations and curricula on Islam.
Predictably, the agency stonewalled, forcing JW to file a lawsuit on July 18, 2012. Six months later, January 15, 2013 we received our first batch of documents, followed by a second grouping on April 16, 2013. And here’s what we discovered regarding the reasons given by the FBI’s SME for purging “offensive” training documents:
In its May 22, 2013, article on some of the Judicial Watch revelations, The Washington Examiner reported, “While the Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. State Department’s official list of international terrorist organizations, some of its offshoots, including the Palestinian group Hamas, are.” Ironically, FBI Director Mueller, who ordered the purge of “offensive” material – including the exoneration of the Muslim Brotherhood – has described the organization as a group that supports terrorism in the US and overseas.
Here’s the bottom line: The FBI is rewriting history in order to help al Qaeda. And this clearly shows that the law enforcement agency is in need of serious top-to-bottom reform.
As we recently learned from the Boston Marathon terrorist attack, the country is less safe when we allow radical Muslim organizations to tell the FBI how to train its agents and do its job. The FBI’s purge of so called “offensive” material is political correctness run amok, and it puts the nation at risk. The Obama administration needs to stop putting the tender sensibilities of radical Islamists above the safety of the American people.
Lastly, for next week, Judicial Watch will have two major events going on. Beginning on Monday June 17th, at 8 ET, Judicial Watch’s hard-hitting documentary District of Corruption will have its national television broadcast premiere on AXS TV. Then on Thursday June 20th, Judicial Watch will host an panel discussion on the continuing Obama IRS scandal. Be sure to catch both of these exciting events!
Until next week...
Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. Through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation's public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.