Posts Tagged ‘ice’

Tom Homan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Has Some Choice Words for “Sanctuary State” California

January 3, 2018

Tom Homan, Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Has Some Choice Words for “Sanctuary State” California:

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said California “better hold on tight” after its liberal Democratic governor allowed a sanctuary state law to take effect this week.

Neil Cavuto said that Gov. Jerry Brown claimed the law will protect illegal immigrants living quietly in the shadows of society from law enforcement intent on “yanking them out of there.”

“I think it’s terrible,” Homan said, adding that Brown’s action put politics in front of public safety.

Prank California highway signs ‘welcome’ felons, illegal immigrants & MS-13 http://fxn.ws/2CGV10c 

Prank California highway signs ‘welcome’ felons, illegal immigrants and MS-13

Drivers entering California are being greeted with signs proclaiming the liberal bastion an OFFICIAL SANCTUARY STATE, according to photos and videos circulating on social media appearing to show a…

foxnews.com

He said that rank-and-file police officers are opposed to the new measure and that Brown’s administration didn’t consult them before approving the law.

“If [Brown] thinks he is protecting the community, he’s doing quite the opposite,” Homan said. “[Brown] is knowingly putting law enforcement at risk.

Hundreds of Sacramento residents protested, listened and shouted while acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, left, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones held a community forum in March. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, left, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones held a community forum in March 2017 in California. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

“There’s no sanctuary from law enforcement,” he said. “California better hold on tight – they’re about to see a lot more deportation officers. If politicians don’t protect their communities then ICE will.”

Homan said illegal alien smuggling organizations will use the California law as a “selling point” and that Brown “bit off a lot more than he can chew.”

Homan said that Brown and other sanctuary-jurisdiction leaders may have violated 8 U.S. Code § 1324 – relating to “harboring certain aliens.”

He said he hopes the Justice Department will look into whether officials can be criminally charged under the statute.

According to text of the federal law cited by Homan, any person “knowing… the fact that an alien has come to… the United States in violation of the law, conceals, harbors or shields from detection… such [an] alien in any place” can face fines and/or up to several years in prison.

Watch more above.

http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/02/ice-director-rips-california-governor-jerry-brown-sanctuary-state-law

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Australia seizes $760m of meth in its largest ever bust — Believed to be from China

December 22, 2017

AFP

© AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE/AFP | Australian police swooped on the gang after they transferred the meth from a boat that had just docked

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia has seized more than Aus$1.0 billion (US$760 million) of methamphetamine in its biggest ever bust of the highly-addictive drug, police said on Friday.Commonly known as “ice”, the massive 1.2 tonne haul was intercepted after being offloaded from a boat, the Valkoista, which authorities believe came from China.

Australia has the world’s highest per capita consumption of crystal meth and the country has become an increasingly attractive destination for drug-smugglers, with street prices soaring.

Much of the ice hitting its streets comes from China and the Golden Triangle region where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet.

Eight men, all Australian, were charged with either importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, or possessing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, and face life in jail.

The seizure capped a six-month investigation with Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Leanne Close alleging the ringleaders had been taken out.

“It equates to probably about Aus$1.0 billion of border controlled drugs that are no longer going to be on the streets of Australia over the Christmas period,” she said.

“Police will allege in court these men intended to distribute the drugs along the east coast of Australia.”

The Valkoista arrived at the port of Geraldton in Western Australia in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The drugs were allegedly offloaded into a white hire van before tactical response officers swooped in, arresting three men inside.

Simultaneously, they boarded the boat and detained three crew members, with two others arrested at a hotel in Perth.

An Australian Crime Commission report in 2015 found that while US$80 bought one gram of ice in China, the estimated 270,000 users in Australia had to pay US$500 for the same amount.

The previous biggest meth bust was 903-kilograms, found in Melbourne earlier this year.

Australia has identified China and India as key sources of the precursor chemicals needed to make ice, while China and Myanmar were notable manufacturers of the end product.

Photos of the raid released by Australian Federal Police showed the van stuffed with large sacks that were stamped with Chinese characters for animal feed.

In recent years law enforcement agencies across Asia keep making record busts but the seizures appear to have little effect on the sheer amount of ice hitting the streets.

In September, Canberra announced a new strategy to tackle the menace, involving reinforcing information-sharing arrangements with Interpol and Europol to better pinpoint organised crime groups.

It is also working more closely with counterpart law enforcement agencies in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Mekong region of Southeast Asia to smash syndicates and follow money trails.

The Island Where Chinese Mothers Deliver American Babies

December 21, 2017

Women looking to give birth to U.S. citizens have found a loophole in the Pacific: Saipan

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands—This U.S. territory in the western Pacific is known for its epic World War II battle, white-sand beaches and the enduring culture of its indigenous Chamorro people.

But for a certain class of Chinese parents, Saipan has become known as the latest hot spot for birth tourism, a place where women can give birth to babies who will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

The Northern Marianas, an island chain that includes Saipan, is the only U.S. soil that Chinese can visit without a visa, after a change in immigration policy in 2009 allowed Chinese and Russian tourists visa-free entry for up to 45 days.

“It’s just like if God opened a window for you,” said a Chinese father who works as a translator here after coming a few years ago to ensure his child would be born American.

The Northern Marianas pressed for the visa waiver to support an economy reliant on tourism, notably to Saipan’s casinos and gambling parlors. The number of Chinese visitors has risen substantially since 2009 and now represents 36% of tourists to the island, which is four to five hours’ flight from Shanghai and Guangzhou. Tourism accounts for 72% of Saipan’s economy.

An expectant mother arrives for an appointment at the Marianas Medical Center in Saipan this month.

The number of American babies born here to Chinese women who entered as tourists also climbed—to 472 last year from eight in 2009—according to the Northern Marianas government. Last year, for the first time, more Chinese tourists gave birth here than Americans.

“As long as you have birthright citizenship, it’s true this is something that can be exploited,” said Doris Meissner, former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute. “This is the first I’ve heard of Saipan,” she said. “That’s actually quite clever.”

U.S. authorities don’t have a tally of how many people come to the U.S. each year to gain birthright citizenship. An association of Chinese birth-tour operators estimated that 10,000 Chinese birth tourists came to the U.S. in 2012.

Chinese travel businesses offer competing packages to help Chinese mothers reach U.S. soil and provide them with lodging, hospital care and domestic help.

There is nothing illegal about birth tourism, provided the visitor has the funds to pay for required medical procedures and doesn’t intend to overstay, said Jaime Ruiz, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In 2015, when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided nearly 40 locations tied to birth-tourism operations in Southern California, the search warrants cited suspected visa fraud, tax evasion and harboring illegal immigrants, among other charges. The related cases are ongoing, ICE said.

Artwork adorns the walls at the Marianas Medical Center in Garapan, Saipan.

The translator in Saipan said immigration enforcement on the U.S. mainland had led more Chinese parents to consider Saipan. While birth-tourism packages to Los Angeles included guidance on how to qualify for a tourist visa, Chinese travelers to Saipan needn’t clear that hurdle.

American obstetrician Claire Grove said that when she came to work at a clinic on Saipan last year, she was surprised at how many Chinese women had come to the island to give birth.

Claire Grove, an obstetrician, at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation hospital in Garapan. Dr. Grove said she was surprised when she arrived on Saipan at how many Chinese mothers were there to deliver babies.

She soon had a unique perspective on birth tourism.

Dr. Grove learned that Sen Sun, a translator, was running a business to help Chinese mothers deliver on Saipan. Concerned about what she believed to be Mr. Sun’s exploitation of illegal Chinese workers, Dr. Grove went to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

As a result of an FBI probe, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Northern Marianas prosecuted Mr. Sun, leading to his Dec. 8 guilty plea of harboring illegal aliens in relation to his hiring of Chinese maids to care for birth tourists.

“They feel trapped without U.S. citizenship,” Dr. Grove said of the maids. “They have no means to complain about not being paid or anything.”

In his plea deal, Mr. Sun said he operated “an unregistered and therefore illegal business operation arranging travel, medical, and other services to pregnant foreign citizens,” in which he charged women more than $15,000 each, before hospital bills. Sentencing is set for March.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the case against Mr. Sun, whose lawyer declined to comment on the case and on Dr. Grove’s accusation that Mr. Sun exploited his staff.

In China, websites advertising birth-tourism packages abound, with names such as GlobalBaby8.com, promising luxurious birth vacations to Saipan. The Chinese translator whose wife gave birth on Saipan said total costs can exceed $50,000.

Top, American-themed settings adorn tables at the Revolving Restaurant 360 in Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Below, a display this month in the I Heart Saipan store in downtown Garapan.

“Everyone is feeling unsafe in China,” the father said, citing among other things the political crackdown under President Xi Jinping. “We will do anything for our kids.” The father still lives on Saipan with his wife and children, and fears they will be deported.

Recently in the obstetrics unit at Saipan’s main hospital, a pregnant Chinese woman walked down a hall in a hospital gown and pink slippers, trailed by her translator, past a painting of Chamorro warriors dueling in loincloths.

Doctors and administrators said the surge in the number of Chinese mothers is overwhelming health facilities. “It’s a strain for the community,” said Esther Muna, CEO of government health provider Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, which runs the hospital.

Related articles

  • Where ‘Anchor Babies’ Can Be a Lucrative Business
  • Federal Agents Raid Alleged ‘Maternity Tourism’ Businesses Catering to Chinese
  • Chinese Nationals Charged in ‘Birth Tourism’ Crackdown in California

Ms. Muna said Chinese women in late stages of pregnancy presented difficulties when doctors didn’t know their medical history. In October, a Chinese mother died in childbirth on the island.

Saipan is leaving it to federal authorities to chase down immigration violators. The Justice Department in April said it was cracking down on immigration violations in the Northern Marianas, after the conviction of a Taiwan national for harboring a Chinese birth tourist who had overstayed.

“Federal and local authorities should know where birth tourists are being housed and should be able to identify overstayers,” said Gregorio Sablan, the Northern Marianas’ congressional representative. “Cutting off visa-free travel to the Marianas for hundreds of thousands of visitors from China in order to prevent a few hundred birth tourists makes no sense from a business point of view.”

The Imperial Pacific Casino in Garapan, Saipan.

Write to Jon Emont at jonathan.emont@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-island-where-chinese-mothers-deliver-american-babies-1513852203

Southeast Asian economies get a lift from China. Later, they may get the bill

September 8, 2017

By Marius Zaharia

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Southeast Asia appears to be on a roll.

The Philippines is boasting the second-fastest growing economy in Asia, Malaysia has posted its best growth figures in more than two years and Thailand in more than four.

The growth is being fuelled by China, whose expanding economic presence is propping up fundamental weaknesses around Southeast Asia. It also underlines China’s dominance in a region that will be under increasing pressure to follow Beijing’s lead.

Even as the rest of the world feels the pinch of Beijing’s clampdown on outbound capital, China is ploughing money into Southeast Asia – much of it into infrastructure projects related to President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative.

Chinese tourists are also flocking to beaches, temples and shopping malls around the region. And trade is surging.

Exports to China from Indonesia and Malaysia grew more than 40 percent in the first half of the year; from Thailand and Singapore it was almost 30 percent, and more than 20 percent from the Philippines, according to Reuters calculations.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and indoor

Malaysia — China’s Forest City development is the biggest by a Chinese property developer

China has been investing heavily in infrastructure and property in the region and buying commodities such as rice, palm oil, rubber and coal. It is also buying electronic components and equipment from countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

Going the other way is everything from cheap T-shirts to high-end telecommunications systems.

Welcome as all this economic activity is to the region, it could also present political problems, as countries confront China over issues such as its claims in the South China Sea, as both Vietnam and the Philippines have found.

And it raises the risk that China could apply economic pressure to get its way.

“The large rise in ASEAN’s exports to China have increased potential vulnerabilities to geopolitical risks,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist for IHS Markit.

SOUTH KOREA‘S EXPERIENCE

For a glimpse of how that feels, Southeast Asian countries could look at South Korea’s experience.

The deployment in South Korea of a U.S. anti-missile defence system that China opposed resulted in a sharp decline in Chinese tourists. South Korean companies doing business in China, like Lotte Group and Hyundai have also been hit in the diplomatic fallout.

“The South Korea example is a highlight of how the geopolitical vulnerability to China can increase as the bilateral economic relationship expands,” Biswas said.

The Philippines found itself subject to a Chinese ban on its fruit in 2012 after challenging China’s maritime claims. The ban was only lifted last year as President Rodrigo Duterte adopted a friendlier stance towards Beijing.

“Any sector that you have with a big exposure – tourism inbound like Thailand, bananas outbound like the Philippines, coal from Indonesia – is vulnerable,” said Dane Chamorro, senior partner and head of South East Asia at Control Risks, a global risk consultancy. “You can imagine how that would be pretty easy for China to stop or hinder.”

Leaders of Malaysia’s ruling party last year voiced concerns after Prime Minister Najib Razak secured deals worth $34 billion on a trip to Beijing, saying it opened the door for a more direct Chinese influence on Malaysia’s affairs, besides saddling the country with billions of dollars in debt.

A planned $5.5 billion rail link through Thailand to southern China also hit resistance, with Thai critics targeting what they said were Beijing’s excessive demands and unfavourable financing. However, Thailand’s cabinet in July approved construction of the first phase of the project.

Image result for chinese tourists in Thailand, Photos

Chinese tourists pose for photos as they visit Thailand

CHECKS AND BALANCES

There has also been popular opposition to such deals around the region, raising the stakes for leaders.

In Myanmar, a $10 billion Chinese oil pipeline linked to the Belt and Road project sparked angry protests in May. Three years ago, the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam.

“The next level from here is you can see more social outcry,” said Sanchita Basu Das, lead researcher for economic affairs at the ASEAN Studies Center at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

“These are the checks and balances for some of these countries, especially those where leaders are elected for a specific number of years,” she said. “China will be mindful of that as well.”

GROWING DEPENDENCE The growing economic dependence on China is another concern for countries in the region with underlying vulnerabilities.

Image may contain: skyscraper, sky and outdoor

Singapore’s skyline is seen June 17, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Files

Consumption growth has been lagging in countries like Indonesia and Philippines, which are dependent on domestic demand, even as they posted growth figures of 5 percent and 6.5 percent in the second quarter. And investment from sources other than China is slowing, as are portfolio inflows.

Indonesia, which has been lagging its regional peers, cut interest rates last month.

In Thailand, where the economy grew 3.7 percent in the second quarter, the baht THB= has been surging in recent months, putting pressure on exporters, while the Philippine peso PHP= has been weakening on concerns over the country’s shrinking current account surplus.

If there was a downturn in China, it could have serious ripple effects in export-reliant countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Malaysia grew 5.8 percent in April-June.

“Southeast Asian countries are becoming more dependent on China,” said Jean-Charles Sambor, deputy head of EM fixed income, BNP Paribas Asset Management. An event like a sharp slowdown in China could have “a very significant spillover,” he said, citing exports, financing and investment.

For the moment, the Chinese economy remains strong and it appears that Southeast Asia is weathering a crackdown by Beijing on overseas acquisitions.

Data from China’s Ministry of Commerce shows outbound direct investment globally nearly halved in the first half of the year. But data from the American Enterprise Institute shows Chinese investments and construction contracts of $13.46 billion in the period, almost unchanged from a year earlier.

The initial stages of a rail line on Malaysia’s east coast, in which China Communications Construction Company has already invested $2 billion, according to the data, is one of the most high-profile investments.

Other investments, many of which are tied to the Belt and Road initiative, include energy projects in Laos, Cambodia and Philippines, another large railway investment in Indonesia and real estate purchases across the region.

This week, Thailand signed contracts worth 5.2 billion baht ($157 million) with Chinese state enterprises for a high-speed rail project with China.

“Notwithstanding the recent introduction of restrictions on outbound investment, Chinese investment in Southeast Asia is likely to remain strong over the coming years,” said Stephen Smith, lead partner at Deloitte Access Economics.

“Chinese authorities appear to remain strongly committed to investment in projects tied to the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Graphic – Southeast Asia’s export growth in key markets: tmsnrt.rs/2g7DKWN

Additional reporting by Joseph Sipalan in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Philip McClellan

See also:

11 PROJECTS THAT SHOW CHINA’S INFLUENCE OVER MALAYSIA – AND COULD INFLUENCE ITS ELECTION

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2105440/11-projects-show-chinas-influence-over-malaysia-and-could

Sanctuary city? NYPD defies De Blasio’s pledge to protect illegal immigrants from Trump and reports them to immigration officials

April 3, 2017

Image result for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, photos

  • NYPD told ICE officials about court dates of two undocumented individuals
  • David Gonzalez, 51, was arrested by ICE following court appearance
  • Milton Chimborazo, 35, was not arrested but ICE officiald did inquire about him
  • Bill de Blasio pledged NYC is ‘sanctuary city’ and would only comply with ICE by holding defendants involved in violent or serious offences

The New York City Police Department has told federal immigration officials about immigrants facing deportation who are due to appear in court.

Public defenders of two men – 51-year-old David Gonzalez and 35-year-old Milton Chimborazo – said they learned the NYPD had communicated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, the New York Daily News reported.

As a ‘sanctuary city,’ New York City theoretically only complies with ICE officials with regard to holding defendants involved in violent or serious felonies.

The NYPD’s communication with ICE officials about court dates would appear to violate this pledge.

Despite New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's proclamation that NYC is a 'sanctuary city,' the New York Daily News found out that the NYPD has told federal immigration officials about immigrants facing deportation who are due to appear in court. Pictured: De Blasio

Despite New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proclamation that NYC is a ‘sanctuary city,’ the New York Daily News found out that the NYPD has told federal immigration officials about immigrants facing deportation who are due to appear in court. Pictured: De Blasio

The city has had multiple protests against Donald Trump's various attempts at cracking down on immigration. Pictured: Protesters rally during a demonstration against Trump's failed Muslim immigration ban at John F Kennedy Airport in January

The city has had multiple protests against Donald Trump’s various attempts at cracking down on immigration. Pictured: Protesters rally during a demonstration against Trump’s failed Muslim immigration ban at John F Kennedy Airport in January

The NYPD notified ICE about the arrest of Gonzalez, who had previously been deported and was arrested after allegedly rubbing against a woman on a train.

He was taken into ICE custody after a judge released him.

Chimborazo, who was charged with burglary and was due to be deported, was not taken into ICE custody but officials did ask about him.

Advocates are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to order a halt to this practice.

Queens Law Associates co-founder Lori Zeno told the news: ‘We’re supposed to be a sanctuary city. What does it mean if our own court system is participating in turning folks in to ICE?’

She added: ‘The mayor can issue a command to the Police Department that they shouldn’t be calling ICE.’

The city theoretically would only comply with ICE officials by detaining defendants to be turned over to ICE who are involved in violent or serious felonies. Pictured: People in Manhattan protesting against the candidacy of Trump in November

The city theoretically would only comply with ICE officials by detaining defendants to be turned over to ICE who are involved in violent or serious felonies. Pictured: People in Manhattan protesting against the candidacy of Trump in November

A mayoral spokesman confirmed the practice but insisted it does not amount to collusion with the ICE.

An NYPD spokesman said that ICE can access arrest information anyway and that the cases were handled properly.

Trump weighs mobilizing National Guard for immigration roundups (White House Denied This Report — DHS confirms it is 100% false)

February 17, 2017

Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was “100 percent not sure” and “irresponsible.” ”There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants,” he said.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.

The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway.

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump’s executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP.

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama’s administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump’s executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops’ stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.

The memo describes the program as a “highly successful force multiplier” that identified more than 402,000 “removable aliens.”

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Trump’s immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation’s southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.

___

The AP National Investigative Team can be reached at investigate@ap.org

Follow Garance Burke on Twitter at @garanceburke

******************************************

– The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four —  Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the AP report was “100 percent not sure” and “irresponsible.” “There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants,” he said.

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.

Also dated Jan. 25, the draft memo says participating troops would be authorized “to perform the functions of an immigration officer in relation to the investigation, apprehension and detention of aliens in the United States.” It describes how the troops would be activated under a revived state-federal partnership program, and states that personnel would be authorized to conduct searches and identify and arrest any unauthorized immigrants.

Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.

The draft document has circulated among DHS staff over the last two weeks. As recently as Friday, staffers in several different offices reported discussions were underway.

If implemented, the impact could be significant. Nearly one-half of the 11.1 million people residing in the U.S. without authorization live in the 11 states, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on 2014 Census data.

Use of National Guard troops would greatly increase the number of immigrants targeted in one of Trump’s executive orders last month, which expanded the definition of who could be considered a criminal and therefore a potential target for deportation. That order also allows immigration agents to prioritize removing anyone who has “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

Under current rules, even if the proposal is implemented, there would not be immediate mass deportations. Those with existing deportation orders could be sent back to their countries of origin without additional court proceedings. But deportation orders generally would be needed for most other unauthorized immigrants.

The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control.

Spokespeople for the governors of Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico said they were unaware of the proposal, and either declined to comment or said it was premature to discuss whether they would participate. The other three states did not immediately respond to the AP.

The proposal would extend the federal-local partnership program that President Barack Obama’s administration began scaling back in 2012 to address complaints that it promoted racial profiling.

The 287(g) program, which Trump included in his immigration executive order, gives local police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers the authority to assist in the detection of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally as a regular part of their law enforcement duties on the streets and in jails.

The draft memo also mentions other items included in Trump’s executive order, including the hiring of an additional 5,000 border agents, which needs financing from Congress, and his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The signed order contained no mention of the possible use of state National Guard troops.

According to the draft memo, the militarization effort would be proactive, specifically empowering Guard troops to solely carry out immigration enforcement, not as an add-on the way local law enforcement is used in the program.

Allowing Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also would go far beyond past deployments.

In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, state Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.

In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks. And in 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.

In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops’ stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.

Bush initiated the federal 287(g) program — named for a section of a 1996 immigration law — to allow specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.

The memo describes the program as a “highly successful force multiplier” that identified more than 402,000 “removable aliens.”

But federal watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law. Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Trump’s immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation’s southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Last year, the arrest tally was the fifth-lowest since 1972. Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration, though Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Last week, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations; advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump.

Hundreds of immigrants arrested in ‘routine’ U.S. enforcement surge

February 11, 2017

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on February 7, 2017. Courtesy Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via REUTERS
By Sharon Bernstein and Kristina Cooke —  Reuters

U.S. federal immigration agents arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least four states this week in what officials on Friday called routine enforcement actions.

Reports of immigration sweeps this week sparked concern among immigration advocates and families, coming on the heels of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. That order is currently on hold.

“The fear coursing through immigrant homes and the native-born Americans who love immigrants as friends and family is palpable,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement. “Reports of raids in immigrant communities are a grave concern.”

The enforcement actions took place in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and surrounding areas, said David Marin, director of enforcement and removal for the Los Angeles field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, he said.

The agency did not release a total number of detainees. The Atlanta office, which covers three states, arrested 200 people, Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the office, said. The 161 arrests in the Los Angeles area were made in a region that included seven highly populated counties, Marin said.

Marin called the five-day operation an “enforcement surge.”

In a conference call with reporters, he said that such actions were routine, pointing to one last summer in Los Angeles under former President Barack Obama.

“The rash of these recent reports about ICE checkpoints and random sweeps, that’s all false and that’s dangerous and irresponsible,” Marin said. “Reports like that create a panic.”

He said that of the people arrested in Southern California, only 10 did not have criminal records. Of those, five had prior deportation orders.

Michael Kagan, a professor of immigration law at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, said immigration advocates are concerned that the arrests could signal the beginning of more aggressive enforcement and increased deportations under Trump.

“It sounds as if the majority are people who would have been priorities under Obama as well,” Kagan said in a telephone interview. “But the others may indicate the first edge of a new wave of arrests and deportations.”

Trump recently broadened the categories of people who could be targeted for immigration enforcement to anyone who had been charged with a crime, removing an Obama-era exception for people convicted of traffic misdemeanors, Kagan said.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif., and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; Writing by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Peter Henderson and Leslie Adler)

Related:

Trump Administration Begins Deportation Raids Across the U.S.

February 11, 2017

Hundreds of people are detained as president proceeds with promised immigration crackdown

Guatemalan immigrants deported from the United States arrive on an ICE deportation flight on Feb. 9.  Getty Images

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Updated Feb. 10, 2017 8:04 p.m. ET

Ramped-up immigration enforcement in several cities this week has resulted in the detention of hundreds or more people in the country unlawfully, according to attorneys and advocacy groups, who said they expected most of them to be deported.

Illegal immigrants were rounded up in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; and across southern California, among others, they said.

President Donald Trump set an ambitious course when he took office through a series of executive orders, promising to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, suspend the refugee program and pause the admittance of foreign nationals from certain countries.

But his plans hit a roadblock when Seattle judge federal judges halted his travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations considered a terror threat, and the decision was upheld by the Ninth Circuit court this week.

Still, that didn’t prevent Mr. Trump from rolling out enforcement of a separate executive order targeting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the five-day enforcement “surge” began Monday and concluded midday Friday. Officials confirmed action in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, though they didn’t dispute that the operation was also under way in other cities.

“This operation is on par with similar operations we have done in the past,” said David Marin, field office director for ICE in Los Angeles, in reference to southern California.

He declined to say whether ICE offices around the country had coordinated a multicity enforcement action. He also declined to discuss President Trump’s executive order.

The agency said 160 foreigners were arrested in six Los Angeles-area counties this week, and said about 150 of them had criminal histories. Of the 10 others, five had been given final orders of removal or had previously been deported, ICE said.

ICE highlighted cases of several people suspected or convicted of serious crimes, including a Salvadoran national arrested in Huntington Park, Calif., who is wanted in El Salvador for aggravated extortion, a Brazilian arrested in Los Angeles who is wanted in Brazil for cocaine trafficking, and an Australian national taken into custody in West Hollywood who was previously convicted of “lewd and lascivious acts with a child.”

Administration officials said the enforcement was similar to regular operations during the Obama administration but that their lists of targets were drawn up based on the criteria outlined in an executive order signed by Mr. Trump. That order expanded the definition of who is considered a priority for deportation beyond the rules used during the final years of the Obama administration.

Now, people convicted of minor crimes, people charged but not convicted and others who officers believe threaten public safety are all prioritized for deportation. Officials said most of the people targeted this week would have been subject to deportation under the Obama administration, which prioritized people with serious criminal records. But it is likely that at least some others with lesser offenses were included as well.

In addition, one official said, it is likely that enforcement agents encountered people in the U.S. illegally during the enforcement action who weren’t targets but who were nonetheless taken into custody. Some of those people probably wouldn’t have been subject to deportation under the Obama rules.

That encompasses immigrants charged with crimes that haven’t yet been adjudicated; who improperly received a government benefit; used a fake ID to secure work and were caught driving without a license. Those who lied on applications and forms are also targets, according to the order.

Out of the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. about 8 million participate in the economy. Many of them have used made-up Social Security numbers and lied about their status on federal forms to secure jobs, immigration experts say, though specific numbers are hard to come by.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump pledged to immediately focus on deporting two million to three million immigrants who he says are criminals. The Migration Policy Institute estimated in 2015 that 820,000 have a criminal conviction.

Lawyers said Friday that many of their clients who were detained had an outstanding removal order, because they had skipped a court day or evaded a deportation order. These immigrants weren’t previously a priority for removal, if they had been living in the interior of the country for an extended period and not committed a crime.

Tin Nguyen, an immigration attorney in Charlotte, N.C., said he has been flooded with calls. He said several immigrants whose families had contacted him Thursday for legal representation had been transferred to a larger immigration detention center in Georgia by the time he tried to meet them at a local facility Friday.

Immigration agents, sometimes backed by local police, arrested people in cars, inside their homes and at work sites, attorneys and advocates said.

Stephanie Gharakhanian, an attorney in Austin with the pro-immigrant Workers Defense Project, said activity by federal immigration authorities went “above and beyond what we have seen in the past.”

“ICE is showing up at people’s homes, showing up at places of businesses. This level of ICE activity in the community is absolutely unprecedented,” she said.

Robin Hvidston, president of We the People Rising, a group based in Claremont, Calif., which advocates for a stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, said she was supportive of the actions because they were targeting “criminal aliens.” She pointed to the statements from ICE that said it arrested people who had committed crimes against children and other felonies.

“It is just a matter of keeping our communities safe, and just a part of Trump fulfilling his campaign pledge to make American safe again,” she said. “This is about public safety, it is about the removal of criminal aliens from our state and this country.”

Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, an ICE official said. ICE agents are seen above during an arrest in Los Angeles on Tuesday

Only five of 161 people arrested in Southern California would not have been enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, an ICE official said. ICE agents are seen above during an arrest in Los Angeles on Tuesday

Photo Souce: — Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4214036/Hundreds-immigrants-arrested-routine-U-S-enforcement-surge.html#ixzz4YNUTlFBe
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In Los Angeles, a coalition of civil-rights, interfaith and pro-bono attorneys has formed a “raid rapid response network” due to the escalated enforcement.

“This cannot be the new normal, and we will fight back,” said Angelica Salas , executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

She said the organization had received an unprecedented number of reports from lawyers and community members reporting detentions Wednesday.

At a news conference, Marlene Mosqueda said her father, Manuel, was arrested when ICE agents came looking for another person in his building complex. He is undocumented but has no criminal record. Later, when an attorney intervened, he was pulled off a deportation bus, she said.

“This proves that Donald Trump was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes talking about targeting criminals and in fact is focusing on separating families,” said California state Senate leader Kevin de León.

“There is nothing to complain about here,” said Dave Ray, director of communications, for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which supports immigration enforcement measures. “The vast majority of those detained today were targeted because they have criminal histories and prior felony convictions, some of them very serious.”

ICE officials highlighted that its agents carry out targeted operations on a continuing basis. For example, five separate operations in New Jersey, New York, the Mid-Atlantic states and Virginia resulted in the arrest of more than 350 people between August and December 2016.

“Obama did these for eight years,” said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta immigration lawyer and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The difference now is that they are picking up others who might just be undocumented who happen to be in the residence or neighborhood when agents shows up.”

Write to Miriam Jordan at miriam.jordan@wsj.com , Alejandro Lazo at alejandro.lazo@wsj.com and Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-begins-deportation-raids-across-the-u-s-1486771279

Related:

Hundreds of illegal immigrants arrested across six states this week in what officials say are ‘routine’ roundups of people who would also have been detained under Obama

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Trump’s Deportation Force Begins Raids on Undocumented Immigrants

The White House says it’s business as usual, but critics say ICE’s raids are a major change—and might just be the beginning.

Betsy Woodruff

BETSY WOODRUFF

02.11.17 12:01 AM ET

President Donald Trump’s deportation force promise may be coming true.

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Over the last five days, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents conducted what they call an “enforcement surge” in the Los Angeles area, arresting more than 160 undocumented immigrants. Immigrants’ rights groups and lawyers told The Daily Beast that ICE also increased its enforcement activities—including, in some cases, in apartment buildings—in a number of cities around the country, including Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte, and Austin.

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ICE officials and the White House say this is normal. Activists, lawyers, and members of Congress say it’s a major change—and likely just the beginning.

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“The muscle to do this kind of stuff is here—it’s just that the leash has been taken off,” said Sarah Owings, an immigration attorney in Atlanta. “They’re out and they’re hunting.”

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Owings said upward of 40 undocumented immigrants have been detained in the Savanna, Georgia, area over the last two days, according to the family of an undocumented immigrant currently detained there. And she said she knows of two apartment complexes with high concentrations of Latino residents where ICE officers went door-to-door looking for specific individuals. When people opened their doors, Owings said, the ICE officers would ask everyone present to show proof that they were in the United States legally.

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“They’re picking up and rounding up anyone they can get,” she said.

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In a statement, an ICE spokesperson criticized recent media coverage of the Los Angeles apprehensions.

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“The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous, and irresponsible,” the spokesperson said. “These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Individuals who falsely report such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.”

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On Feb. 9, an ICE official told reporters on background that reports the agency arrested 100 people in the Los Angeles area that day were “grossly exaggerated.” Virginia Kice, an ICE spokesperson, told The Daily Beast there were 38 arrests in the L.A. area that day.

Kice and Michael Short, a White House senior assistant press secretary, both told The Daily Beast that the enforcement activities were routine.

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Many immigration activists and Capitol Hill Democrats say they doubt that. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, told The Daily Beast that among his conference, there’s “not much” confidence in the agency’s statements. And Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership—a group based in Austin that opposes immigrant detention and deportation—said he suspected the agency may have targeted Austin because of frustration over the county sheriff’s recently announced refusal to comply with ICE’s detainer requests.

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Libal said his group estimates that about two dozen undocumented immigrants have been arrested by ICE agents on Feb. 9 and 10.

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“We have a deportation defense hotline and it’s ringing off the hook,” he said.

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He added that he wasn’t aware of a time in recent memory when that many undocumented immigrants were arrested in Austin in such a short period of time.

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“This is a level of intimidation that seems new,” he said. “And our community is not going to be intimidated.

“It very much feels retaliatory,” he added. “It feels like a vicious attack.”

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Grijalva said he thought the enforcement surge may be a response to Trump’s recent defeat in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel moved unanimously to block enforcement of his travel ban.

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“Every time he gets hit politically, like in the 9th Circuit, his reaction is to go back to that mantra and use it and use it,” Grijalva said, of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign. “Except now it’s not campaign rhetoric.

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“I’m not a conspiracy-theory person,” he added. “But it walks like a duck. It’s gotta be a duck.”

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Short said that’s completely wrong.

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“They are routine, enforcement operations targeting criminals,” Short said. “Rep. Grijalva’s comments couldn’t be further from the truth.”

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Kice said ICE’s enforcement activities are motivated solely by public safety and law enforcement concerns.

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“Our enforcement operations are lead-driven and they are targeted,” she said.

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And David Marin, who helps head ICE’s Los Angeles field office, told reporters on a conference call on Friday evening that the L.A. enforcement activity was “nothing out of the ordinary.”

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“These are targeted enforcement operations, nothing different than what we’ve been doing for the past five, six, seven years,” he said.

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Immigration activists point to one of Trump’s first executive orders as the impetus behind the enforcement surge. In a blog post, Azadeh Erfani of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition wrote that the president’s Jan. 25 executive order titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” made upward of 8 million undocumented immigrants top priorities for deportation.

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“Our immigrant community likely will experience the paradox of being both at the margins of society and the target of law enforcement,” Erfani wrote.

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Trump hasn’t kept all his immigration-crackdown campaign promises; despite making it a key campaign issue, the president has yet to undo the temporary deportation protections that President Barack Obama made available to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

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A staffer for a Democratic congressional office that frequently criticized the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement practices said the week’s enforcement uptick was uniquely concerning. He said that though the ICE conducted raids that resulted in dozens of arrests during Obama’s presidency, this particular surge worries activists because it’s happening in so many cities around the country at the same time and in the wake of Trump’s executive order. Some Hill Democrats worry this could be the new normal, he added.

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Owings said she shares that concern—to a limit.

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“It will happen until the beds are full,” she said. “They’ll have to stop at some point, right?”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/11/trump-s-deportation-force-begins-raids-on-undocumented-immigrants.html

20,000 illegals with criminal convictions released into U.S. communities in 2015 — 86,000 in three years

April 29, 2016
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Homeland Security has made some gains in detaining criminal aliens but still released into the community
– The Washington Times – Wednesday, April 27, 2016
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Homeland Security has made some gains in detaining criminal aliens but still released into the community nearly 20,000 immigrants last year who’d already been convicted of crimes — including hundreds charges with sexual assault, kidnapping or homicide — according to figures sent to Congress this week.

Between them the aliens notched a total of 64,000 crimes, including 12,307 drunken driving convictions, 1,728 cases of assault, 216 kidnappings and more than 200 homicide or manslaughter convictions, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ahead of a hearing Thursday.

“These are not just numbers. These are individuals in this country illegally who were arrested, prosecuted and convicted. But instead of removing these criminals, ICE put them back on American streets,” said Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah


SEE ALSO: Donald Trump planning to give immigration policy speech soon


One of those released by ICE in 2015, Haitian illegal immigrant Jean Jacques, would go on to kill a young woman in Connecticut just months later, stabbing Casey Chadwick to death. Her mother, Wendy Hartling, will testify to the Oversight Committee alongside relatives of other victims of illegal immigrants’ crimes.

Jacques had previously served time for attempted murder and was supposed to have been deported after that. But ICE officials said he wouldn’t produce documents proving his identity, and Haiti refused to accept him without those documents. ICE said it had to release him instead.

Those kinds of releases have been a black eye for the administration in recent years, with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah R. Saldana saying they need to do a better job of keeping serious criminals in custody as they await deportation.

And they have made some strides, reducing the number of criminal aliens released from 36,007 in 2013 to 30,558 in 2014, and then cutting the number by more than 10,000 last year.

About half of those released in 2015 were ordered set free on bond by immigration judges — folks over whom ICE says it has no control. Another 2,000 were released to comply with a 2001 Supreme Court decision putting a six-month cap on how long immigrants can be held in detention absent extenuating circumstances.

Kathryn Steinle

“The release of aliens on bond is clearly provided for by statute, and it would not be permissible for DHS to categorically prohibit the release of certain aliens who are not subject to mandatory detention under [the Immigration and Nationality Act], and who do not pose a risk to public safety or a flight risk,” ICE told the Oversight Committee in a memo laying out the numbers.

In 89 other cases, the administration couldn’t arrange travel documents to ship someone back home in time — such as in the case of Jacques.

But in more than 7,000 cases, ICE said the releases were done at its own discretion. Those are the cases that most irk lawmakers, who wonder why anyone with a criminal conviction on his or her record is allowed to walk back into the community.

ICE insists it still takes steps to keep tabs on the criminals it releases, including using electronic monitoring or requiring them to regularly check in with immigration officers to make sure they’re keeping their noses clean.

Immigrant rights advocates say immigrants break the law at a lower rate than the native-born, and accuse Republicans of tarring the whole community for the actions of a few.

Those who favor a crackdown, however, say it’s impossible to excuse illegal immigrants who commit crimes, since, if the government did its job, they never would have been in the country to commit those crimes in the first place.

The issue exploded onto front pages last summer with the death of Kathryn Steinle, who was shot while walking the San Francisco waterfront with her father. The illegal immigrant charged with her killing had been repeatedly deported but had snuck back into the U.S. and was free under San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy.

Then, earlier this year, Sarah Root, a 21-year-old woman from Iowa, was killed in Omaha, Nebraska, and police blamed an illegal immigrant they said was drag racing while drunk. Police tried to get ICE to hold the man, Eswin Mejia, but agents refused to pick him up, and he has now skipped out on his bond and is a fugitive.

ICE has struggled to explain that incident, with the agency first saying it was following President Obama’s policies. More recently, Ms. Saldana said that wasn’t true and that agents in the field made a mistake.

Mr. Mejia entered the U.S. as part of the surge of illegal immigrant children who were caught at the border over the last few years and who, under Obama administration policies, were sent to live with relatives rather than quickly deported.

In Mr. Mejia’s case, he was placed with his brother, also an illegal immigrant, who was already here.

In a letter to administration officials this week, senators demanded to know what steps the government takes to make sure it’s placing children with proper custodians, and whether social workers follow up to make sure the children are getting the right care.

Scott Root, the young woman’s father, is scheduled to testify to the Oversight Committee on Thursday alongside Ms. Hartling and Ms. Saldana.

“The common thread among the stories we are going to hear today is that each of them was preventable,” Mr. Chaffetz said in the prepared statement he will deliver at the hearing. “If ICE had only followed the law, it is highly likely these witnesses would not be sitting here today grieving the loss of a loved one.”

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On Thursday’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” on the Fox News Channel, House Oversight Committee Chairman

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) blasted the Department of Homeland Security for releasing illegal immigrants who have committed crimes, stating, “you name the violent crime, they have released them back out in the public,” that DHS wants to house fewer criminal illegal immigrants than they have the capacity for, tried to “reprogram” money that is allocated for deportations, and even wanted to give that money back rather than deport people.

Chaffetz said that the illegal immigrants released have committed “everything from homicide, to DUIs, to assault, to sexual battery, to — I mean, you name the violent crime, they have released them back out in the public, rather than either detaining them, or even better yet, deporting them.”

He added that DHS “tried to reprogram over $100 million that Congress had allocated for these deportations, they wanted to do give that money back, rather than do it. There is a minimum of 34,000 beds for these types of people. Yet, the department only wants to house about 30,000. And what they’ve done is they’ve released them out into the streets, and more than 200 of those people, that were in our detention, that had committed a crime, were released back out in the public, and committed homicide.”

Chaffetz further stated, “One of the excuses is, well those countries won’t take them back. Don’t give them any more foreign aid, and do what the law says, and that is, make sure the secretary of state does not give those countries any more visas, so more people can come to this country, get their attention.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

Chaffetz rips DHS release of criminal illegal immigrants

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Philadelphia Police probe man’s claim of shooting cop in Islam’s name

January 9, 2016

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CBS News

PHILADELPHIA — Officer Jesse Hartnett was slowly patrolling his usual West Philadelphia beat just before midnight when a man appeared out of the darkness, firing a hail of bullets at close range as he charged toward the policeman’s car.

Hours later, police say, Edward Archer confessed to shooting the officer and told investigators he was following Allah, and had pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Archer said he believed the police department defends laws that are contrary to Islam, police said.

Local and federal authorities spent much of Friday trying to verify the motive and executing search warrants at two Philadelphia area properties associated with Archer, hoping for more insight into how and why the shooting happened.

Archer’s mother told The Philadelphia Inquirer her 30-year-old son had been hearing voices recently and had felt targeted by police. She said the family had asked him to get help.

A gunman identified by police as Edward Archer, inset, fires at Officer Jesse Hartnett in his cruiser in Philadelphia Jan. 7, 2016.

A gunman identified by police as Edward Archer, inset, fires at Officer Jesse Hartnett in his cruiser in Philadelphia Jan. 7, 2016.  PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

At a news conference, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who just took office Tuesday, didn’t label the shooting a terrorist attack, though he said Archer “clearly gave us a motive.”

“It wasn’t like laying it out completely, chapter and verse for us,” Ross told reporters at the department’s headquarters as Archer was being questioned upstairs. “We’re left to say, ‘OK, he’s leaving a trail for us. Where’s it going to lead us, if anywhere?'”

Ross told CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan his biggest regret was that the firearm used was stolen from a fellow police officer’s home in 2013.

“It cuts deep,” Ross said. “I mean, things happen, but it cuts deep and deeper.”

Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said, and the purpose of that travel was being investigated by the FBI. Police said there was no indication anyone else was involved, and it is unclear if and where Archer practiced his faith locally.

Archer’s mother, Valerie Holliday, described her son as devout Muslim. Jacob Bender, the executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, said he contacted about five inner-city mosques and found no one who knew of Archer.

At about 11:40 p.m. Thursday, Archer fired at least 13 shots toward Hartnett and eventually got up next to the car and reached through the driver’s side window, investigators said. Despite being seriously wounded, Hartnett got out of his car, chased the suspect and returned fire, wounding his attacker in the buttocks, police said. Other officers chased Archer and apprehended him about a block away.

The 9 mm pistol used by Archer was recovered at the scene of the shooting, police said. Officials said they were trying to figure out how Archer got the weapon and whether it passed through other people’s hands since the October 2013 theft.

Last March, Archer pleaded guilty to firearms and assault charges stemming from a 2012 case but was immediately released and placed on probation, court records show. Records also show he was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in suburban Philadelphia in a traffic and forgery case.

Officer Jesse Hartnett chases after a suspect identified by police as Edward Archer after Hartnett was ambushed in Philadelphia Jan. 7, 2016, in a still taken from police camera footage.

Officer Jesse Hartnett chases after a suspect identified by police as Edward Archer after Hartnett was ambushed in Philadelphia Jan. 7, 2016, in a still taken from police camera footage.  PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

The attorney who represented him in the firearms case was unavailable for comment Friday because he was in court, his office said. His lawyer in the forgery case did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Surveillance footage of the attack showed Archer dressed in a white, long-sleeved tunic. When asked if the robe was considered Muslim garb, Ross said he didn’t know and didn’t think it mattered.

“We’ve already established why he believes he did it, and that’s probably enough,” Ross said.

Officer Jesse Hartnett
Officer Jesse Hartnett
PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT

Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in the arm and will require multiple surgeries, but was listed in stable condition at a hospital. Archer was treated and released into police custody.

Ross repeatedly called Hartnett’s survival “absolutely amazing.”

“It’s nothing short of miraculous and we’re thankful for that,” he said.

The officer’s father, Robert Hartnett, said his son was in good spirits.

“He’s a tough guy,” he said.

Hartnett served in the Coast Guard and has been on the Philadelphia force for four years. He always wanted to be a police officer, his father said.

When Hartnett called in to report shots fired, he shouted into his police radio: “I’m bleeding heavily!”

Jim Kenney, in his first week as mayor of the nation’s fifth-largest city, called Archer’s actions “abhorrent” and “terrible” and said they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

“This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers,” he said. “It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”

Related: