theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ten Questions on Obama Administration's Release of Criminal Aliens

 by CIS
"Editor's Note: According to NumbersUSA,  on Thursday, the House of Representatives approved two immigration enforcement amendments offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act. The bill includes funding for the Justice Department, and Rep. King's amendments addressed the recent report of more than 36,000 criminal illegal aliens being released from custody and sanctuary cities."
Many questions remain after a report from the Center for Immigration Studies revealed that the Obama administration released 36,007 convicted criminal aliensImmigration Reform Secure the Border into American neighborhoods in 2013. This group included aliens convicted of hundreds of violent and serious crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Despite the obvious threat to public safety, the Obama administration has remained largely silent and has not explained fully why these convicted criminal aliens, who had been convicted of a total of nearly 88,000 crimes, were released. Listed below are 10 questions that, if answered, will shine some light on the administration's policies and the impact on American communities.
1. How many individuals with criminal convictions were released by the administration from 2009 to 2012? The recent CIS report analyzed release data from 2013, the only year for which such data have been made available. However, the federal government's release of dangerous criminal aliens into the United States has been taking place for many years. An itemized list of criminal convictions tied to all of these individuals over time would shed light on the policy's long-term impact.
2. How were each of the releases justified? The Obama administration should clarify in more detail the justification for each release. For example, how many releases were court-ordered and which court ordered the release? How many were discretionary? How many releases were due to the alien claiming eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? How many releases were influenced by a petition, protest, or other outside intervention?
3. In what cities and towns were the criminal aliens released? The public has an interest in knowing when and where the releases took place. The Obama administration should provide the geographic location for each individual release, either the detention facility each individual was released from, or the zip code of the individual's last known address. Including the most serious criminal conviction for each individual along with the geographic location would help clarify the impact on public safety.
4. Were the victims notified about the releases? Why or why not? The 36,007 criminal aliens victimized many people who likely assumed the federal government would make every effort to remove the perpetrators from the country. Surely victims and next of kin have an interest in knowing if criminals are going to be released back into society. This is particularly true in the case of the 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, and 303 kidnapping convictions.
5. What were the conditions of release and/or forms of supervision for each individual? Were any criminal aliens convicted of crimes of violence released on their own recognizance? The 36,007 criminal aliens were released either by means of bond, order of recognizance (unsupervised), order of supervision (which can consist of nothing more than a periodic telephone call to ICE), an alternative to detention (such as an electronic ankle bracelet), or parole (a form of legal status). It remains unclear how the administration used these conditions of release and forms of supervision.
6. What is the immigration status of those released? Specifically, how many of those released were lawful permanent residents (LPRs), how many were illegal border-crossers, how many were overstays, and how many had some other form of legal status?
7. Did the Department of Homeland Security ever invoke 8 U.S.C. § 1253(d) and direct the State Department to stop issuing visas to countries that refuse to take back their citizens?Federal law requires the Secretary of State to stop issuing visas to the citizens of any country that refuses to take back its citizens. Though it has rarely been invoked, the law can have the effect of getting countries to cooperate, increasing the likelihood that the alien will be returned. The administration should describe any steps that were taken by the State Department to pressure individual countries regarding the return of their citizens.
8. Which countries are refusing to take back their law-breaking citizens? How many aliens have been refused repatriation by each of these countries? As detailed by the GAO in a 2004 report, according to ICE officials, several countries have consistently refused to issue travel documents or delayed issuing them, thereby limiting ICE's ability to return aliens to these countries. Specifically, ICE officials mentioned that they have significant problems with Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, China, India, Jamaica, former Soviet Republics, Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Poland, and Nigeria. A CIS report detailed the worst countries for travel document issuance and found that the lengthiest waits included Qatar (800 days), Cambodia (522 days), St. Kitts and Nevis (410 days), Kuwait (376 days), and Vietnam (368 days).
9. How many criminal aliens released in previous years have gone on to commit new crimes after being released? ICE should be required to track and disclose any additional crimes that have been committed by these individuals after their release. This information is critical to evaluating whether the releases are creating unnecessary harm to public safety.
10. How many of the criminal aliens released have since absconded from their immigration proceedings or become fugitives? Both DHS and the Department of Justice should disclose how many of these criminal aliens failed to appear for hearings and became fugitives after their release from ICE custody. Studies have shown that fewer than a quarter of aliens who are released from custody while awaiting the outcome of immigration proceedings will show up for immigration court to finish their case.
Source: CIS

Countdown to August Recess

Countdown to August Recess

by Bob Dane

A Primer of What’s Pending, What’s Possible, What to Watch.

The window is closing fast for so-called immigration reform to pass this year. The House will be in session for only 30 more days between now and the August recess, while the Senate has 40 work days left. As such – and we’ve been here before – the tighter the deadline, the harder and more audacious the push for amnesty always is.
In tandem with FAIR’s Government Relations Team, we’ve prepared a quick and hopefully helpful guide of what’s in motion.

ENLIST Act Won’t Be Attached to NDAA (No Risk)

Despite efforts by California Republican Jeff Denham to attach to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) his ENLIST Act (H.R. 2377), which would allow illegal aliens to join the military and grant them green cards and expedited citizenship in return, House and Senate leaders opposed it. Instead, House GOP leaders passed a “clean” NDAA bill without any amnesty attached, and key players in the Senate indicated that there was not a “consensus” among Senate Dems to include it the upper chamber’s version of the NDAA either.

ENLIST Act Could Emerge as a Stand-Alone Bill (Medium Risk)

Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have indicated that they are open to giving the ENLIST Act a vote as a stand-alone bill on the House floor. After saying that he would not allow the ENLIST Act to be attached to the NDAA, the Washington Post asked Cantor whether he would schedule a vote on Denham’s proposal at a later date. (Despite Cantor’s spokesman saying just days prior that it would not receive a vote even as a stand-alone bill, Cantor replied that “no decision has been made.”) Cantor’s comments echo that of Speaker Boehner, who also said “There have been discussions about that but no decisions,” leaving the door wide open.

ENLIST Act by Stroke of Obama’s Pen (Medium Risk)

Jessica Wright, the Acting Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness at the Defense Department, said the Obama Administration is looking into allowing certain illegal aliens who allegedly came to the U.S. as minors to join the military. Arguing that doing so would help satisfy the military’s need for more diversity, Wright said of a military amnesty: “Legislation like this would assist the military and potentially our recruiting efforts, and increase the pool of eligible young individuals that we can enlist. While it may create a larger pool of these enlistees, it may also further the diversity of our department, our fleet and our force.” In this scenario, the Obama Administration would likely call on Defense Secretary Hagel to use a provision in current law that allows the Secretary of Defense to allow those who are otherwise ineligible to join the military to enlist if doing so would be “vital” to the country’s “national interest.”

House/Boehner Moves a Variety of Bills (Medium Risk)

Several bills could emerge at any point that would increase legal immigration, foreign guest workers, high-tech workers, or grant amnesty to young illegal aliens (DREAM Act). And any of those bills could then be sent to the Senate with the risk that the massive amnesty bill (S-744) could remerge. While the Chamber of Commerce and high-tech industry, led by Mark Zuckerberg, continue to exert tremendous pressure on the GOP, the political realities of pushing amnesty may, dare we say…finally be occurring to House Speaker Boehner. Polling indicates his conservative base has little appetite for amnesty, a battle over it would further split the party and its passage would inalterably change the national electorate in favor of the Democrats. Tactically, Boehner may be wagering that if amnesty legislation does not move, Obama will do it by executive action and in that instance, would give Boehner more political ammunition with which to attack the president.
(But that’s the political calculus, not the moral position. Speaker Boehner deserves voter condemnation for taking not taking a firm, consistent and clear position against amnesty, for not defending American workers and for his reluctance to stop President Obama’s continued abuse of executive power.)

More Executive Action (High Risk)

If past performance is any indicator of future performance, all eyes are on some late Friday afternoon in August when Congress has left town and Americans are starting their vacations. That’s the ideal – and usual time – when the Obama Administration abuses executive power and announces sweeping changes to immigration law. (Think of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The ENLIST Act, the DREAM Act, or even larger scale amnesties are all possible recipients of Obama’s pen when no one is paying attention.
Democratic leaders have telegraphed their intentions quite clearly. Consider three quotes from the past two weeks:
President Obama told a group of law enforcement officials last week that enforcing immigration laws “isn’t smart.” Immigration enforcement is “just not a good use of our resources. It’s not smart. It doesn’t make sense,” Obama said. (See Daily Caller, May 13, 2014)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened House Republicans last week, telling them that if they did not pass an amnesty bill before the August recess, President Obama would have no other choice than to grant a broad unilateral amnesty through executive fiat. “We’ve waited 329 days, we’re willing to wait another six weeks,” Reid said referring to the number of days that have passed since the Senate passed its mass amnesty guest worker bill, S. 744, last summer. “But at the end of six weeks,” Reid continued, “if something hasn’t been done, then there’s gonna have to be a move made.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), made similar threats. “[House Republicans] have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess. If they don’t pass immigration reform them, the president will have no choice but to act on his own,” he said.

Gutting Secure Communities (Same Category as Death and Taxes…Count on it)

One change is almost certain. As part of the DHS’s review of deportation policies, Secure Communities will be either weakened, or axed entirely. On May 15, during an interview with PBS NewsHour, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson implied that the Obama Administration may be preparing to dismantle the Secure Communities program “The program” Secretary Johnson said, “has become very controversial,” and needs “a fresh start.”
The fresh start Johnson has in mind is probably a complete elimination.
Through the Secure Communities program, local law enforcement officers submit the digital fingerprints of all individuals they book for comparison against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) databases to determine if the person is an alien. If the DHS database identifies the individual as an alien, that information is sent back to both the local jail/prison and the local ICE office for further action, including the opportunity for ICE to issue a detainer and begin deportation proceedings.
The program is vital, and represents the last remaining immigration enforcement tool left for local police. The program enables local communities to identify illegal aliens and make sure they’re removed from the country after serving time, and not put back on the street. Without the program, inmates would just be released without anyone knowing that they’re illegal aliens and would represent a step backwards to the old catch and release practice.
This is the easy stuff for ICE to deal with – locating and identifying criminal aliens already in lockup.
That said, look for the “fresh start” to start soon., a project of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is a blog for people who want TRUE immigration reform in the American interest. It’s a fast-moving place for an edgy, candid perspective on immigration issues facing the nation, generated by people interested in restoring “America” to the American interest in immigration policy. is real immigration reform for Americans who understand that the term “immigration reform” and “comprehensive immigration reform” have been appropriated of late by amnesty advocates and Wall Street’s cheap labor interests. To learn more about the principles of true immigration reform, see FAIR’s fact sheet.

US soldier held captive by Taliban Freed

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American solider held captive in Afghanistan, has been released by the Taliban in exchange for five Afghan detainees, U.S. officials said Saturday.
Bergdahl was held captive for nearly five years, after leaving his base in east Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.
Officials said the detainees were in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the deal happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the government of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans.
“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call [Bergdahl’s] parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said. 
A Defense Department official gave Fox News the names of the detainees: Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Abdul Haq Wasiq. There are now 149 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay.
Bergdahl, a Hailey, Idaho native, was captured outside his base. However, whether he walked off the base or was captured by the enemy remains unclear.
He is thought to have been captured by members of the Haqqani network, which operates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and has been one of the deadliest threats to U.S. troops in the war.
The announcement of his release comes as the United States winds down its military operation in Afghanistan.
“Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” Obama also said.
Officials said the Taliban turned the 28-year-old Bergdahl over Saturday evening, local time, in Afghanistan. Several dozen U.S. special forces were involved in the exchange, which took place in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
Officials described the transfer as a nonviolent handover between the American forces and about 18 Taliban.
A U.S. official said when Bergdahl was aboard a military helicopter he wrote on a paper plate, because it was too loud to talk,"SF?" -- meaning are you Special Forces?
The operators sitting with Bergdahl responded loudly, saying, yes, we've been looking for you for a long time. Berghdal broke down crying, the official said.
Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity in order to describe the details of his release.
Bergdahl is expected to be transferred to Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, then on to the United States.
The Haqqani network, which the State Department designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012, claims allegiance to the Afghan Taliban, yet operates with some degree of autonomy.
The five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo were still at the base as of Saturday morning, but were being transferred into the custody of Qatar officials. Under the conditions of their release, the detainees will be banned from traveling outside of Qatar for at least one year.
They are being transferred via a U.S. Air Force C-17 plane.  Based on the terms of the detainees' release, they will be subject to restrictions on their movement and activities.
Officials said Obama spoke with Bergdahl's parents Saturday, shortly after their son had been taken into U.S. custody. Bergdahl's family was in Washington on a previously scheduled visit when they received the news.
“The responsibility to make sure all of our men and women in uniform return from battle, especially those taken prisoner and held during war, is deeply personal to me, as someone who has worn the uniform of my country and as someone who was deeply involved in those efforts with respect to the unfinished business of the war in which I fought." said Secretary of State John Kerry, who with Obama thanked Qatar officials.

Duck Dynasty patriarch hands GOP playbook for victory

'You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God'

Phil Robertson


NEW ORLEANS – Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson kicked off the Republican Leadership Conference at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans on Thursday with an entertaining speech in which he mixed his faith in Jesus Christ with an admonition to the GOP to return to the Bible and the fundamental principles of freedom upon which the nation was founded.

“You lose your religion, you lose your morality, you lose your freedom,” Robertson said. “You cannot be right for America if you are not right with God.”
In an event the GOP billed as an “unofficial kickoff” of the 2016 presidential campaign, Robertson drew repeated applause and more than one standing ovation by insisting, “If the country does not turn to God at a fairly rapid clip, we are going to lose the United States of America.”
Robertson jokingly suggested, “The GOP must be desperate to call a person like me.”
Glancing down at the outfit that is now linked with his Duck Dynasty television persona, Robertson quipped, “These clothes are the best I own.”
What Robertson did not hesitate to speak about was his strong faith in Jesus Christ.
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians. Where there is no Jesus, the love rate is always real low and the crime rate is always real high. It’s just that simple GOP. You want to turn the Republican Party around, get godly.”
He rejected the secular society created by Supreme Court decisions he interpreted as an attack on religion.
“We threw God out of the schools. We threw God out of the courthouses,” Robertson said, in a speech that featured quotes from several Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams and James Madison.
“Separation of church and state? I’m telling you right [now] what our Founding Fathers said and it doesn’t sound like separating God Almighty from the United States of America. It’s a lie. You remove the Bible out of schools, it was said more 200 years ago, and you are going to be wasting so much time punishing criminals. Education is useless without the Bible. Take the Bible out of schools and there’s going to be an explosion of crime.”
Robertson subtly rebutted charges of prejudice, making it clear comments he made to GQ magazine regarding homosexuality derived solely from his religions convictions.
“There is only one race on this planet and that is the human race,” he insisted.
“Look at all humanity as the human race. Therefore, you do not have the right to color code anybody. We are all one family and we are all made in the image of God Almighty. The color of your skin does not determine the character of your person. In the GOP we have the libertarians, and the conservatives and the establishment party, but you need to get off all of this divisive talk and be one party united.”
Commenting that one “can tell a lot about a man when you hear him pray,” Robertson recalled George Washington praying at the founding of the nation.
He then transitioned to discussing Barack Obama.

Sarah Palin
“I watch what I see coming out of the White House and it is downright embarrassing. How many lies are we going to tolerate? Our Founding Fathers created the greatest republic on the face of the earth and we screwed it up in 238 years. But I’m not throwing in the towel yet on it. As was said, the surest way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Robertson railed against abortion, asking the GOP audience how a nation that kills its unborn children thinks it can survive.
“The strength of this nation is not the Constitution,” he insisted, “but the law of God and the Ten Commandments upon which the Constitution was founded.”
Sarah Palin makes a surprise appearance
Before Robertson took the podium, introducing him became a competition between Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Alaska’s former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, who made a surprise, unannounced appearance specifically to make the introduction.
Jindal began his introduction by speaking strongly in favor of religious freedom, asking the audience in jest whether everyone enjoyed Obama saying at the National Prayer Breakfast, “If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.”
Palin, in her introduction, commented on Obama’s speech this week at West Point and drew strong applause.
“Soon our soldiers may have to exchange their fatigues for mom jeans,” she said.
Palin made a point of praising veterans as the Obama administration struggles amid a growing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal.
“Unfortunately, the Obama doctrine dismisses the price our veterans have paid for our freedom,” said Palin, who inspired conservatives as the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate.
“Perhaps what our president doesn’t understand today is freedom isn’t free. If you love freedom, you thank a vet.”
Jindal defends individual liberty
“If we really believe in an American dream that says our best days are ahead of us and that the next generation should have a greater opportunity ahead of them, then we must pass school reform,” Jindal insisted.
“In Louisiana, we have passed a law that says there must be a great teacher in every classroom,” he said.

Bobby Jindal
“If we really believe in great teachers, why don’t we pay them on how well they do in the classroom rather than paying them based on how long they have been breathing in the classroom,” he said.
“We believe in Louisiana the dollars should follow the child rather than making the child follow the dollars,” the governor said.
“I’m here to tell you that parents are the first and best educators, and we need to trust parents in determining where their children are best put to school. I believe parents, not government, know best whether their kids should be in charter schools, parochial schools or public schools.”
Jindal took a strong stance against Common Core, the controversial federal program establishing national standards in public schools.
“I’m all for standards, I’m all for making sure our kids learn and compete,” he said, “but there is something fundamentally wrong when the federal government thinks they know better than we do as parents what’s best for our kids.”
He took exception to Obama characterizing conservatives as people who cling to their guns and their religion.
“In Louisiana, we have plenty of guns and a lot of religion,” he said to strong applause.
“It’s hypocritical for the progressives to think they know what’s best for us, for President Obama to insist we have to send our kinds to public schools with Common Core when he would never send his kids to those same schools.”
He targeted the Obama administration’s insistence that Hobby Lobby must comply with Obamacare requirements regarding contraception and abortion benefits.
“I’m not sure what Harvard Law School taught Barack Obama,” he said, “but he might want to ask for his tuition money to be refunded.”
Jindal again drew strong applause when he insisted, “America did not create religious freedom, religious freedom created America.”
Reince Priebus
In a session with reporters, Jindal affirmed that he was thinking about launching a presidential run in 2016.
“Yes, I’m thinking about it,” he told the reporters. “I’m praying on it and so is my family.”
Priebus promises a competitive RNC in 2016
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Party, declared war on the Democrats and their plans to rig the mechanics of presidential elections every four years.
“We can’t be a national party that shows up every four years before a presidential election to raise a ton of cash,” Priebus said. “We have to build a national party that’s obsessed with the mechanics of winning elections.”
Priebus called for the audience to understand Republicans must challenge Democrats on the type of computer-driven voter intelligence systems Obama used to beat Mitt Romney in 2012.
“What do Democrats do?” Priebus asked. “They walk into a meeting like this and they say, ‘We’re going to identify and register 25,000 Democrats in Florida every month between now and 2016. It’s going to cost millions and I want you to write a check.”
Priebus charged that Democrats do not care who the candidate will be in 2016 or what the campaign message will be.
“But Democrats know that if they can register 25,000 Democrats in Florida every month between now and 2016, they will win,” he said.
Priebus vowed to change the presidential primary system.
“Our primary system is a total disaster,” he asserted. “The idea that we slice and dice ourselves for six months in Iowa is ridiculous.”
Priebus wants to move the Republican National Convention nominating the president to June or July, instead of the August convention that nominated Romney, to take advantage of rules that restrict the party’s presidential candidates from spending federal campaign funds until formally nominated.
Priebus also pledged to break the Democrats’ hold on presidential televised debates.
“This idea of holding 23 debates in a traveling circus is done,” he pledged, “and this time around we are going to pick the moderators.”
He urged Republicans to return to the principles that made the GOP great.
“We’re the party of freedom and we’re the party of opportunity,” Priebus told the group.
“We’re in a battle for freedom in this country. It’s the same battle that started this country. It’s the same battle that James Madison affirmed in the Bill of Rights. It’s the same battle that started this party.”
The move to defeat Mary Landrieu
The RLC meeting, the last, big conservative political event before the mid-term elections kick into high gear, also aimed to encourage Louisiana Republican voters to play a major role in capturing a Senate majority in November by defeating Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is expected to face a tough re-election bid defending Obamacare and Obama’s reluctance to push approval for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Three Republicans hoping to contest Landrieu for the Louisiana Senate seat spoke to the RLC on opening night: Louisiana state Rep. Paul Hollis; U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, representing Baton Rouge in the U.S. House; and Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel.
Appearing before the RLC in one of the introductory speeches, Hollis hammered Landrieu over Obamacare, promising, “If you elect me in November, I will work to get America on the right path again.”
The opening program featured a panel on free speech that argued conservatives must continue to file court challenges to prevent Democrats from setting election rules to favor progressives benefited by a largely supportive mainstream media and the ability of labor unions to apply member union dues to support Democratic Party candidates.
The panel included:
  • Shaun McCutcheon, an electrical engineer from Alabama, who brought forward the case that resulted in the Supreme Court ruling McCutcheon v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court struck down the overall limit on how much money individuals can spend in one election cycle, while leaving in place contribution limits on individual campaigns.
  • David Bossie, president of Citizens United, who was responsible for the landmark case Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations, associations.
  • Hans von Spakovsky, a former FEC commissioner and co-author of a new book about the Eric Holder Justice Department, called “Obama’s Enforcer – the Eric Holder Justice Department.”
Bossie announced that Citizens United will soon file a legal challenge to Democrats who are pressing for tax-deferred organizations to be forced to reveal their donors. Bossie claimed the measure is aimed at restricting the ability of conservatives to challenge advantages Democrats currently enjoy in electoral politics.