by Tom Fitton
That’s the best way to describe President Obama’s approach toward immigration policy in the aftermath of the election giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress. As early as next week, the president is expected to announce a substantial and far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that would allow up to five million illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. free from the threat of deportation. The plan would also provide illicit work visas to millions of illegal immigrants. In reality, this is but the latest in a series of Obama maneuvers aimed at granting amnesty at the expense of the public interest, national sovereignty – and the law of the land. I told Fox News yesterday, that “if experience is any guide, [Obama’s latest plans] will lead to one of the greatest mass migrations in history” into our country.
There’s a largely unreported element of this story that deserves greater attention and scrutiny as it provides insight into the administration’s aims and ambitions-and reveals the backroom conniving and outright duplicity inherent in the entire Obama amnesty scenario.
On January 29, 2014, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a “Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought: Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children” seeking a contractor to provide the following services:
The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC [Unaccompanied Alien Children] or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air. Escort services include, but are not limited to, assisting with: transferring physical custody of UAC from DHS to Health and Human Services (HHS) care via ground or air methods of transportation (charter or commercial carrier), property inventory, providing juveniles with meals, drafting reports, generating transport documents, maintaining/stocking daily supplies, providing and issuing clothing as needed, coordinating with DHS and HHS staff, travel coordination, limited stationary guard services to accommodate for trip disruptions due to inclement weather, faulty equipment, or other exigent circumstances.
In January, the Obama administration put out a call saying there would be “approximately 65,000 UAC in total.” And in June, 52,000 UACs illegally crossed the U.S. border. A mere coincidence? Perhaps. But very likely not. Now, remember that that ICE RFI was posted in January 2014. And it was not until June 2014-some six months later-that the U.S. news media began reporting what the New York Post described as a “‘Katrina’ of illegal immigrants flooding into border states daily.” On July 3, 2014, the New York Times reported that “240,000 migrants and 52,000 unaccompanied minors…crossed the border illegally in recent months.”
To get to the truth, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against DHS seeking “any and all records” relating to the ICE plan to handle the deluge caused by Obama’s lawlessness.
And yet, there’s more. . .
As President Obama readies a post-election immigration power play to provide amnesty for millions of illegals, his immigration czar said recently that the border is bracing for another surge of undocumented children, raising this year’s wave across the southern border to some 130,000. Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, said that the federal government is already working to “prepare for another potential surge” across the border.
Make no mistake about it: There’s a direct connection between President Obama’s nullifying of our nation’s immigration laws and the breakdown of security along the border. Public safety, health, national security, transparency and the rule of law are all afterthoughts in this administration’s reckless abandonment of immigration enforcement. Obama’s actions run counter to the clear convictions of the electorate.
In fact, a Judicial Watch-Breitbart poll on the night of the recent historic election showed that voters oppose Obama’s lawless approach to immigration:
• A majority of voters (58 percent) believe “We should enforce current laws that require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries.” And half of all Americans (50 percent) believe the United States should change current immigration law to slow the rate of legal immigration.
• Among minorities, 57 percent of Blacks and only 53 percent of Hispanics agree with the statement, “We should change immigration law to provide legal status to illegal immigrants present in the United States.” Only 25 percent of white respondents agree with that statement.
• When asked, “Do you agree or disagree that President Obama should through executive action allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States, 63 percent disagree (53 percent “strongly,” 10 percent “somewhat”). Only 30 percent agree. Among minorities, 52 percent of Blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics agree that Obama should allow illegal immigrants to remain through executive action.
In short, just as he has done repeatedly since taking office, Obama is ignoring, in a lawless and unconstitutional way, the will of the American people-including a substantial number of the minority populations Obama and his media enablers pretend are fully behind his lawless amnesty actions. And this time, with his leaked executive “action” granting blanket amnesty coming within days after the “wave” election, there is no glossing over Obama’s unbridled contempt not only for the Constitution but for the views of Americans who expect that he obey and uphold the law.
And just as we go to press today, there have been some new developments…
We announced just yesterday the filing of another FOIA lawsuit against DHS seeking “all records” concerning a February 25-27 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Juvenile Coordination meeting.
ERO is the division of ICE that, according to the government website, has the responsibility, “To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally….” Juvenile Coordinators have the responsibility for enforcing ERO directives nationwide with regard to UACs.
Quite clearly, neither agency has been doing its job. In the summer of 2014, they let down their guard altogether. And we need to know why.
Perhaps we were given a hint shortly after the February ERO Field Office Juvenile Coordination Washington meeting when, in March 2014, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) issued a National Center for Border Security and Immigration “Unaccompanied Alien Children Report.” In its interviews with ICE and ERO agents, it found that they were then blaming the “lack of deterrence” for the substantial increase in UAC border crossings. According to the UTEP report:
Both Border Patrol and ICE ERO officers agreed that the lack of deterrence for crossing the US-Mexican border has impacted the rate at which they apprehend UACs. Officers are certain that UACs are aware of the relative lack of consequences they will receive when apprehended at the U.S. border. UTEP was informed that smugglers of family members of UACs understand that once a UAC is apprehended for illegal entry into the United States, the individual will be re-united with a U.S. based family member pending the disposition of the immigration hearing. This process appears to be exploited by illegal alien smugglers and family members in the United States who wish to reunite with separated children.
What JW intends to find out now is whether the ICE and ERO officers raised the same concerns at their February Washington meeting as they did at UTEP. If not, why not? Were they intimidated-or, perhaps, even instructed not to do so? And if they did raise those same concerns, why didn’t the Obama administration clamp down on the borders instead of allowing the ongoing “Katrina” of illegal aliens that has now overwhelmed our country? These are questions that need to be answered.
Let’s cut right to it: the Obama administration is trying to cover up the truth about the border crisis caused by President Obama’s lawless amnesty. I have little doubt that the Obama administration knew from its own immigration enforcement personnel that its refusal to enforce immigration law was going to cause a border crisis. Yet, rather than secure the border and follow the law, the Obama administration aided and abetted the human trafficking operations that planted hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens all over the nation-overwhelming our schools and putting the health and safety of Americans at risk. And now President Obama wants to grant illicit amnesty to those who rushed here this summer thanks to his previous lawless amnesty! The DHS is breaking immigration law on orders from this president and is now engaging in illegal secrecy to cover it up so Obama can do another round of immigration law-breaking.
Obama’s future plans are a menace, but our lawsuits show that his lawless amnesty is already here. The new Congress may act with lawsuits and funding cut-offs. Republicans are afraid of impeachment, so I doubt that they will stand fast on refusing to provide funding, the only other “constitutional option” to rein in Obama. I had some advice for Republicans grappling with Obama’s lawlessness:
“If the new Republican leadership in the Senate is only talking about what they can’t do, that’s going to be very demoralizing,” said Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group that convenes a regular gathering called Groundswell. Any sense of triumph at its meeting last week was fleeting.
“I think the members of the leadership need to decide what they’re willing to shut down the government over,” Mr. Fitton said.
This statement appeared on the front page of the New York Times, so I hope it gets the attention of Republicans and Democrats who have decided that throwing out the Constitution isn’t worth the mess of pottage that is political power.
Though I must say, even if impeachment and funding cut-offs were to begin tomorrow, Obama would not be impressed. Self-government, elections, laws, and other essential aspects of our constitutional system seem of little concern to the corrupt leader of this gangster administration. Judicial Watch will continue to take the lead in exposing and stopping this lawlessness. Your Judicial Watch is considering major litigation to stop Obama’s dictatorial amnesty agenda. We will keep moving forward toward accountability, and won’t wait for Congress and the rest of Washington to catch up.
FCC versus Free Speech
For centuries, our nation’s press has become accustomed to exercising its own news and editorial judgments largely free from government interference. It’s all part of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press. But now, all of that could be about to change, if Obama administration officials have their way.
In May 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its intention to proceed with what it described as a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” that would probe into how members of the news media make editorial decisions on the stories they cover. At the time, the FCC said the “pilot” study would enable the agency “to ascertain the process by which stories are selected … perceived station bias … and perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” [Emphasis added] Government officials would, of course, determine what they perceive as “bias” and who they decide are “underserved populations.”
Here are some of the invasive-and, in fact, chilling-questions FCC Critical Information Needs (CIN) agents were to ask private news media companies, some of whom whose broadcast licenses could depend upon providing the FCC the “right” answers:
• “What is the news philosophy of the station?
• “Who decides which stories are covered?”
• “How much does community input influence news coverage decisions?”
• “What are the demographics of the news management staff?”
• “What are the demographics of the news production staff?”
The FCC plans also called for government monitors “crawling” the Internet sites of newspapers, local governments, blogs, non-profits, and citizen journalists. All of which is an affront to the law and the First Amendment.
One committee chairman in the House sent a letter demanding more information. In a December 2013 letter to the FCC, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) termed the CIN study an attempt “to control the political speech of journalists” and urged the agency to “put a stop to this most recent attempt to engage the FCC as the news police.” Since then? Crickets-from both Congress and the Obama gang (and, despicably, most of the liberal media.)
That’s why on October 16, 2014, JW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FCC after it failed to respond to a FOIA request in February asking for:
“Any and all records in the possession of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relating to the Multi-Market Critical Information study to be conducted by the FCC, including, but not limited to, studies, memoranda and communications between FCC commissioners and/or staff members related to Multi-Market Critical Information Needs study.”
We want to know exactly how the Obama FCC overlords came up with their CIN interrogatories-and how high up this assault upon freedom of the press originated. Fortunately, we are not alone. The FCC’s hostility toward First Amendment freedoms has elicited a strong response from prominent voices. In a letter to the FCC, the National Association of Broadcasters termed the FCC proposal “constitutionally questionable.” And FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, warned that the study would “thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country.”
In response to the controversy, the FCC in late February announced that it would suspend the study. The operative word there, of course, is “suspended,” rather than “abandoned.” Specifically, the FCC has also said it will no longer ask media outlets based in South Carolina to participate in a pilot program where they would be compelled to share their newsroom philosophy.
The problem, of course, as Weekly Update readers well know, is that in Washington nothing is as it appears to be. So, while the study has supposedly been suspended, we still need to find out why it was initiated in the first place. The actions of the Obama administration have demonstrated a record of hostility to the First Amendment freedoms of citizens and the press. This much is evident in the latest Reporters Without Borders recent survey of world press freedom that now ranks the United States forty-sixth, below even that of Botswana and Romania and only one position above Haiti. Little wonder USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page told a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar on October 25 that the Obama administration is “more restrictive” and “more dangerous” to freedom of the press than any in history. You can ask James Rosen of Fox News about this. You can also ask the Associated Press. Both had their records rifled through on orders of a lying Attorney General Eric Holder or his minions.
Unfortunately, the study is simply the latest version of the ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ a FCC regulatory scheme ended during the Reagan administration that was used to regulate political speech on radio and television. This time, true to the Obama administration’s racialist agenda, the FCC sought to pressure media under the guise of racial diversity and community organizing language. Given all this background, is it any surprise that President Obama, earlier this week, personally endorsed the federal takeover of the Internet by the FCC?
This FCC scandal also echoes the Obama IRS abuse, which illegally targeted groups and individuals based upon their political philosophy. The FCC, which is charged with making sure regulated media companies obey the law, refuses to obey the Freedom of Information Act and tell the American people why it wanted to interrogate newsmen and monitor the blogs of everyday citizens. JW will continue to do the work of defending our freedom through this latest lawsuit to help keep the Obama FCC news police at bay.
Election Integrity Project: The New Hampshire Report
While voter identification is a technical requirement in New Hampshire, the law is riddled with loopholes that threaten to render it ineffective as any sort of check on fraud. That’s what a team of Judicial Watch attorneys and volunteer observers, who were in the Granite State on Election Day, determined. Although election officials will accept standard IDs such as drivers’ licenses and passports, potential voters may also present any other photo ID less definitive “deemed reasonable” by those officials.
And, that’s not all.
A potential voter who has no photo identification-either standard or “alternative”-may still vote after simply filling out an affidavit and swearing to his or her identity and asserting that he or she is eligible to vote in New Hampshire. How can the state’s voter ID law have any real effect with these broad exemptions in place?
In close elections, voter fraud can make the difference between the will of the people and the wiles of the political elite. That’s why we sent this team of lawyers and volunteer observers to New Hampshire on Election Day as part of our Election Integrity Project, which is directed by Robert Popper, a seasoned attorney and former Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Voting Section. Our goal is to prevent voter fraud so legitimate voters are not disenfranchised. This year alone, Judicial Watch successfully resolved lawsuits in Ohio and Indiana built around a provision of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) that requires state officials to maintain clean voter rolls. We have also released data that shows 11 states plus Washington D.C. have out-of-date voter rolls in various counties where the number of registered voters exceeds the voting age population. We are pressing ahead as we consider potential NVRA litigation in Colorado, Iowa and the District of Colombia. And we are also investigating the voter rolls in Alabama, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
In New Hampshire, citizens have a right to monitor elections so long as they do so unobtrusively, and this is how we operated. The attorneys on our team included Chris Fedeli and Lauren Burke and were led by veteran poll watcher Robert Popper. The volunteers were local Judicial Watch members who patriotically contributed their time to assist with this effort. In the weeks leading up to the election, Judicial Watch attorneys had trained these volunteers to be on the lookout for a variety of poor electoral practices or outright violations of state election laws.
Team members were told not to make challenges or otherwise to interfere with the conduct of elections. Rather, their purpose was simply to take notes and to gather evidence regarding the State’s electoral practices. Where particular problems were observed on Election Day, Judicial Watch attorneys would notify the appropriate State authorities. Our team was able to observe voting and registration procedures in about 20 polling sites throughout the state. They concentrated their efforts on the more populous locations in Nashua and Manchester, as well as polling places in Pelham, Exeter, Litchfield, Keene and elsewhere.
What our team found in New Hampshire was disturbing.
They saw many individuals submitting affidavits in lieu of any actual photo IDs. They also saw extremely high rates of same-day registration. At most of the sites we visited, the same-day registration rate varied between 6-10 percent of all those voting. At one site, the rate was an extraordinary 12.7 percent, or about one out of every 8 voters. At another site, there were at one point three individuals waiting to vote-while another 17 individuals were waiting to same-day register. And some of them had Massachusetts T-shirts.
A major challenge to ballot integrity in New Hampshire, and in other parts of the country, stems from the practice of same-day registration. This procedure allows an individual to register to vote on Election Day at any polling site, and then to walk over to the voting booths and cast a ballot. This is a problem for obvious reasons. For starters, state officials do not have time to confirm the validity of the registration. Even when there is good reason to suspect a fraudulent vote, the only response is a meaningless post-election investigation (kind of like when the NFL front office agrees to “review” a bad call in a pivotal game-on Monday).
The person who gave a false name and address is long gone, leaving nothing but false paperwork. More to the point, in any case where fraud is suspected but not proved, the resulting vote still counts. There’s also a huge opening for students, and other out-of-state residents to vote illegally thanks to permissive “domicile” requirements. This past summer, a Stafford County judge overturned a state requirement that someone claiming state residence had to register their car and obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license. And top state officials encouraged polling places to set aside a special “no photo ID” table for voters who did not bring photo identification. This directive came from the state’s attorney general’s office, which does not seem overly concerned with raising standards and protecting the rights of legitimate voters. These “no photo ID” tables were too busy for those of us concerned about election integrity.
Our poll watching experience in New Hampshire shows that voter identification requirements need to have real teeth to them.
The Obama administration will be of no help and will oppose reform for cleaner elections.
Attorney General Eric Holder has made it his personal mission to block voter identification laws, most recently claiming they are in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, or VRA.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of voter ID back in 2008 in a case involving an Indiana law. Most recently, the Supreme Court also upheld voter ID in Texas. None of that has stopped Eric Holder, who, with the support of President Obama, is waging a war on voter ID (so that illegal aliens and foreign nationals can illegally vote for leftists without much impediment).
But proponents of voter ID have the rule of law on their side. That’s the good news. The bad news is those government officials at the state and federal level who are out to undermine voter ID will continue to have any ally in the Justice Department.
Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder, appears set to continue his policies. Lynch is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch has made it clear she approves of lawsuits the DOJ has filed against states like North Carolina in an effort to block voter ID. JW will expand its Election Integrity Project nationwide in upcoming elections. And as the Senate considers the nomination of apparent Holder-clone Loretta Lynch, we will diligently investigate her qualifications and biases.
In the meantime, we will do the work of the Justice Department, which has no interest in investigating voter fraud of the sort that may have helped elect President Obama and other liberals. Our Election Integrity Project will expand its work as we plan to monitor elections in additional states in the 2016 presidential election.
Tom Fitton – President