Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 7:34 pm | Fair 54º

 
 
 
 

Joe Guzzardi: Obama Administration Disregards Federal Immigration Laws

It not right for White House officials to selectively decide which laws to enforce

Here’s how little importance the federal government attaches to immigration law enforcement. Earlier this week, a 21-year-old university student stood before the Senate Judiciary Committee and in a room packed with immigration officials announced her illegal status. Despite the apparent boldness of her statement, Angela Hernandez, the valedictorian of her Arizona State University mechanical engineering class, is 99.9 percent confident that she won’t be deported. Dozens of others like Hernandez have openly protested federal immigration laws in Congress’ halls and offices yet have stayed safely in the country.

By reintroducing the DREAM Act this month, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin has set off another round of demonstrations by illegal immigrant students and their advocates despite the certainty that his legislation will not pass in this Congress. In a decade of attempts, the DREAM Act has been defeated more than a dozen times.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano uses her words carefully when evaluating the students’ status. Napolitano is quick to point out that she doesn’t condone either the students’ illegal presence or their brazen behavior; she has bigger fish to fry, such as deporting known violent criminals or foreign nationals who could be linked to terrorism.

As proof of the Obama administration’s disregard for immigration law, consider the internal directive Immigration Customs and Enforcement Director John Morton issued wherein he advised field agents to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” by granting deferred action or, according to the memo’s exact language, “deciding whom to stop, question or arrest,” “whom to detain” and to “dismiss” a removal proceeding.

Morton’s memo, issued with the knowledge and approval of the White House, makes clear that millions of deportable illegal and criminal immigrants would be potentially eligible for administrative amnesty if the agents deem them worthy of an exception. Examples of alleged worthiness would be students pursuing higher education or felons convicted only of so-called minor crimes.

My interpretation: The Obama administration will decide which laws it will enforce and which ones it will ignore.

In an effort to curtail this administration’s outrageous abuse of power, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith has introduced his own bill called HALT (Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation). The legislation will block ICE from granting deferred action except in extreme circumstances and also stymie individual amnesties such as approving temporary protected status or issuing work authorizations.

In a letter dated June 23 to his House colleagues, Smith wrote: “Because of the Obama administration’s record, it cannot be trusted with these powers (of administrative amnesty).”

Responding to a question asking why ICE doesn’t deport self-confessed aliens, University of California-Irvine associate professor of Chicano Studies Louis DeSipio said he thought it would be a “public relations disaster.”

But a forceful deportation policy would be viewed as controversial only by illegal immigration activists and the Democratic Party’s hard left wing.

Americans see immigration enforcement as a valuable part of a society that respects the nation’s laws, whether we like or agree with them or not.

The United States cannot condone actions by its president and his administration that allows them in the name of political expediency to decide which of our nation’s laws will be obeyed.

Neither the DREAM Act nor HALT are likely to pass. But as long as ICE is permitted to pick who will be deported, enforcement will take a back seat.

— 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).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.