Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 1:51 pm | Fair 59º


Joe Guzzardi: Obama Stealth Amnesty Challenged in FOIA Complaint

Don't let president's verbal misdirections fool you into believing he supports the deportation of illegal immigrants

For decades, one of the most challenging problems facing activists who favor lower immigration levels is “stealth amnesty.” Broadly defined, that means administrations dating back as far as President George H.W. Bush and continuing through President Barack Obama’s, have willfully ignored illegal immigration and allowed aliens to live openly, take jobs, start families and enroll their children in public school with little fear of deportation.

Because of the Executive Branch’s indifference to enforcing immigration laws, millions of aliens have illegally planted roots in the United States over a 25-year period.

Disregard has reached its peak under the current administration. In 2010, an internal memo drafted by four U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services staffers for agency director Alejandro N. Mayorkas outlined a plan that would allow the USCIS, under certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to “develop and implement a registration program for individuals who are unlawfully present in the U.S.” and to enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action.”

Any of the memo’s recommendations, broadly referred to as “remedies,” have the potential to grant amnesty to large numbers of illegal immigrants without congressional approval. Among the most blatant circumventions of Congress are:

» Granting “parole-in-place” on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit” to any illegal alien applicant

» Lowering the standards for demonstrating “extreme hardship

» Increasing the use of “deferred action” (allowing visa overstayers to remain)

» Allowing temporarily protected applicants to change status

Last August, the Houston Chronicle revealed that parts of Obama’s plan had been set into motion. According to Houston immigration lawyers, aliens arrived in court expecting an order of deportation only to find their cases dismissed. Raed Gonzalez, an attorney who acts as the liaison between the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which administers the immigration court system, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called the dismissals a necessary step in unclogging a massive backlog in the immigration court system. A year ago, researchers at Syracuse University discovered that more than 248,000 immigration cases were pending across the country including about 23,000 in Texas.

To block this backdoor amnesty scheme, Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based public interest group that investigates and prosecutes public corruption, filed two complaints against the Obama administration. In a March 29, 2011, news release, Judicial Watch confirmed it had filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits (on July 2 and Aug. 30) against the Homeland Security Department demanding to see “any and all records” pertaining to “deferred action,” “parole in place” or other documents that outline a plan that would effectively amnesty millions.

Other than acknowledging receipt of the FOIA requests, DHS has neither responded nor indicated when a response might be forthcoming. And despite evidence to the contrary, Obama has insisted he has no plans to suspend deportations. On March 28, 2011, Obama claimed that: “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.”

The memo offered an in-depth look at Obama’s mindset. While he was unable in 2010 to get amnesty through the traditional congressional procedures, he appears emotionally committed to the concept and may not, in fact, hesitate to implement his executive powers to grant amnesty.

Regardless of whether Obama wins re-election, the risk of executive order action is worrisome since last-minute action for pet presidential causes are common.

— Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns — mostly about immigration and related social issues — since 1990 and is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). After 25 years as an English as a Second Language teacher in the Lodi Unified School District, Guzzardi has retired to Pittsburgh. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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