Immigration Reform News and Impact on US Homeland Security November 4, 2014

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is reporting Obama  is receiving recommendations next week on his executive amnesty options. 

  • Obama to Receive Executive Amnesty Recommendations Next Week
  • State Department Disavows Plans to Bring Foreign Ebola Patients to U.S.
  • Suspect in Killing of Two Cops Had Many Encounters with Local Authorities

Obama to Receive Executive Amnesty Recommendations Next Week

President Obama is expected to receive Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder’s recommendations for executive amnesty by the end of next week. (buzzfeed.com, Oct. 28, 2014) Additionally, Obama Administration sources revealed that the President is considering further reducing deportations as well as making changes to increase legal immigration. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014, (subscription needed)) However, White House officials predict that President Obama will delay taking unilateral action until after Congress passes a bill to fund the government beyond mid-December. (Id.)

According to the sources, the recommendations include several ways for an illegal alien to qualify for executive amnesty. First, two sources said the President is considering broadening the eligibility criteria for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). (Id.) DACA, the unilaterally implemented DREAM Act that Congress has repeatedly rejected, granted deportation reprieves and work authorization to illegal aliens who claim to have been brought to the country as minors and meet other criteria. (See FAIR Legislative Update, June 19, 2012) To date, over 580,000 illegal aliens have already received amnesty through DACA. (USCIS DACA Statistics, June 2014)

The recommendations are also expected to include new amnesty programs based on illegal aliens length of time in the U.S. as well as relationships to U.S. citizens. First, sources confirm that illegal aliens who have lived in the U.S. unlawfully for at least 10 years will qualify for executive amnesty. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014, (subscription needed)) However, one source suggested that the President is also considering including recent arrivals but did not define the scope of “recent.” (Id.) The second group expected to benefit is illegal alien parents of U.S. citizens. (Id.) However, sources added that the President might broaden this category to include other relatives who are U.S. citizens as well as the parents of DACA recipients. (Id.) Additionally, the President is considering further eroding interior enforcement by narrowing the class of illegal aliens the Administration considers deportation “priorities.” (Id.; see FAIR’s Summary of Morton Memos)

It is unclear how many illegal aliens will benefit from the executive amnesty. According to the Migration Policy Institution (MPI), which has been consulting with the White House, the forthcoming executive amnesty will benefit between one to four million illegal aliens. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014, (subscription needed)) However, MPI previously estimated 8.5 million illegal aliens will benefit from executive amnesty. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Sept. 9, 2014) Yet, other Administration officials suggest the numbers will be much lower, with one saying “low seven figures” and another saying “3 million.” (buzzfeed.com, Oct. 28, 2014)

Finally, the Wall Street Journal suggests the President plans on taking additional steps to cater to the business lobby. A source says the President is considering declaring that green cards not issued in previous years are still valid, what open borders advocates call the “recapturing” of green cards. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014 (subscription needed); see FAIR Legislative Update, Aug. 26, 2014) Also under consideration, allowing foreign students to remain in the U.S. until they receive an employment-based visa. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014, (subscription needed))

Despite pleas from Members of Congress to inform them of what President Obama is considering, the White House is refusing to go on the record about the forthcoming executive action. (See House Judiciary Committee Letter to President Obama, Sept. 22, 2014) “It is premature to speculate about the specific details,” insisted White House spokeswoman Katherine Vargas. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014, (subscription needed)) Notably, a White House source indicated Obama wants a plan that will remain intact after his Presidency, saying the action “has to be politically sustainable.” (Id.)

State Department Disavows Plans to Bring Foreign Ebola Patients to U.S.

Last Wednesday, a State Department memo surfaced detailing the Obama Administration’s plans to parole aliens infected with Ebola into the U.S. for medical treatment. (Fox News, Oct. 29, 2014; State Department Memo)

The State Department’s plan was first reported by a government watchdog group, but then was pursued by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). (Judicialwatch.org, Oct. 17, 2014; House Judiciary Press Release, Oct. 21, 2014) On October 21, Goodlatte sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson and Department of State Secretary John Kerry about the media reports and asked if either department or their employees were discussing such a plan and for relevant documents. (House Judiciary Letter, Oct. 21, 2014) On television, Chairman Goodlatte explained that he wrote the letter because his office had received “information from within the Administration” that such plans were in the works. (Fox News, Oct. 29, 2014; Breitbart News, Oct. 27, 2014; see video clip, Oct. 27, 2014)

Shortly thereafter, the State Department and the White House both denied the truth of the story. A State Department official told Fox News last Tuesday that it was discussing the possibility of using U.S. planes to transport Ebola patients to their home countries. (Fox News, Oct. 29, 2014) But, the official claimed, the department had “absolutely no plans” and had not “contemplated” bringing any non-American patients to the U.S. for treatment. (Id.) “Allegations to the contrary,” the official stated, “are completely false.” (Id.) On the same day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also said he did not know of any such plans. (Id.)

The very next day, Fox News published a copy of an internal State Department memo detailing and advocating a plan that would do just that. (Id.; State Department Memo) The memo recommends that State and DHS devise a system of “expeditious parole” for foreign Ebola patients to be medically evacuated to the U.S. for treatment. (Id.) The memo notes that Ebola infected aliens are normally inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 212(a)(1)(A)(i), because it restricts the entry of those carrying any communicable disease “of public health significance,” which, by regulation and Executive Order, specifically includes Ebola. (Id.; see 42 C.F.R. 34.2(b) and Executive Order No. 13295; see also FAIR Legislative Update, Oct. 7, 2014)

Therefore, the memo explains, in order to permit such aliens to enter the country, DHS has two options. (State Department Memo) The first option to allow them into the country is to waive their inadmissibility, which is possible under INA § 212(d)(3)(A). (Id.) The second is to parole them into the country under INA § 212(d)(5)(A), which allows, on a case by case basis, inadmissible aliens to enter the country temporarily for urgent humanitarian reasons. (Id.) The memo concludes that issuing a “properly annotated” visa under these two options would take too long for the Ebola patients, and thus DHS and the Bureau of Consular Affairs should work out a special procedure to procure “expeditious port of entry waivers” for the travelers. (Id.) The cost of bringing these Ebola patients to the U.S., it also estimated, would be “$200,000 for medevac” and $300,000 for treatment” per case. (Id.)

But despite the release of the memo, the State Department stood by its original story that it had no plans to bring Ebola infected foreign nationals to the U.S. (Fox News, Oct. 29, 2014) State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed on Wednesday, that the memo was “weeks old” and had been shelved and that there were “no plans” to bring foreign Ebola patients to the U.S. Moreover, she added that the memo was written by “a midlevel official.” (Id.) “Any assertion that the memo was cleared by decision makers is inaccurate,” she said. (Id.) She repeated that there are “no plans” to bring non-citizen Ebola patients to the United States. (Id.) However, according to the Washington Times, a tracking sheet attached to the memo indicates that the document was cleared by the offices of the deputy secretary, the deputy secretary for management, Central African affairs, and medical services. (Washington Times, Oct. 28, 2014)

Republican leaders blasted the Administration’s response. In a statement released Wednesday, Chairman Goodlatte said that it was “alarming” that senior officials would “vehemently” deny the existence of any plans to bring non-citizen Ebola patients to the U.S. when a leaked memo shows that “such a proposal indeed exists and was approved by Administration officials.” (House Judiciary Press Release, Oct. 29, 2014) “[T]his lack of transparency is just another example of the Obama Administration trying to hide its actions from the American people.” (Id.) He also noted that neither Secretary Kerry nor Secretary Johnson had responded to his letter. (Id.) Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also criticized the Administration. He told reporters that the memo contemplating efforts “to skirt the immigration laws and fast track the admission of people with Ebola” both “fails to consider the risk to Americans,” and adds to the President’s “absurd refusal” to institute “common sense travel restrictions.” (Breitbart News, Oct. 29, 20114)

Suspect in Killing of Two Cops Had Many Encounters with Local Authorities

In California last Friday, an illegal alien named Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte allegedly shot and killed two sheriff’s deputies and shot another man in the head for resisting a carjacking. (Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2014) Monroy-Bracamonte first shot Sacramento County deputy Danny Oliver in the forehead with an assault rifle at close range as Oliver approached his car outside of a Motel 6. (Oye! Times, Oct. 27, 2014) This led officers on a six-hour chase, during which the suspect killed detective Michael David Davis, Jr., and wounded two others before officers were forced to use tear gas to smoke him out of a house in Auburn, Calif. (Id.)

The case has garnered wide media attention because Monroy-Bracamonte is an illegal alien with a well documented criminal history. Indeed, before being arrested for murder last week Monroy-Bracamonte had been deported TWICE. (Breitbart News, Oct. 26, 2014) In 1997, he was deported after being convicted in Arizona for possession of narcotics for sale. (Id.)In 2001 he was deported again after being arrested for an unspecified offense. (Id.)In addition to immigration violations, Monroy-Bracamonte had a long criminal history in the United States. He racked up at least ten traffic tickets and multiple misdemeanor offenses between 2003 and 2009 without once being turned over to federal immigration authorities. (Id.) Currently, Monroy-Bracamonte is also charged with two more attempted carjackings and one successful carjacking, unrelated to Friday’s incident. (Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2014) Authorities now suggest that Monroy-Bracamonte was able to escape detection because he operated under multiple aliases and had a valid Utah driver’s license under one of his fake names. (Id.)

Monroy-Bracamone’s case highlights the importance of state and local assistance in the enforcement of our immigration laws. Under the pressure of illegal alien advocates, state and local jurisdictions are increasingly instituting policies to prohibit their law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials. (Breitbart News, Oct. 26, 2014; CBS 5, Oct. 27, 2014) These policies, which proponents argue are intended to foster “trust” with law enforcement in immigrant communities, are designed to protect criminal aliens from detection and removal from the United States by restricting compliance with detainer requests, often called ICE holds. (Pew Charitable Trusts, Oct. 31, 2014; ICE Detainers FAQ)

Some policies, like California’s 2013 TRUST Act, allow law enforcement to comply with detainer requests by federal officials only if the aliens’ crimes are deemed minor, as defined under the Act, thus circumventing the already extremely narrowed removal priorities set the Obama administration. (Assembly Bill 4) Others, however, are so far reaching that law enforcement are completely restricted from cooperating with federal immigration officials. (Pew Charitable Trusts, Oct. 31, 2014) Many policies, including legislation recently rushed through the New York City Council, even prohibit law enforcement from communicating an alien’s incarceration status or release date to federal authorities. (Introduction 487)

But despite the adoption of these policies that affirmatively impede the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, the Obama Administration has done nothing to stop them. Pam Davis Owens, aunt of Detective Michael Davis, appeared on Fox News’ Hannity last week to discuss how the tragic death of her nephew, which occurred exactly 26 years after Davis’ father was also gunned down in the line of duty, makes her entire family angry at the government’s failure to secure the border. (Fox News, Oct. 29, 2014) “It’s got to stop. There can’t be any more like this,” Davis Owens said. (Id.) “I don’t want anybody to ever go through what we’ve gone through, not once, but now twice.” (Id.)