President Obama Increasingly Refused to Deport Immigration Violators Throughout Presidency

Over the past eight years, President Obama and his supporters tried to convince the American people that he took a strong stance when it came to enforcing immigration law. Some open borders proponents even went as far as labeling him the “Deporter in Chief.” But last week, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released removal statistics for the president’s final year in office. A complete eight-year picture is now available of what the outgoing administration really did when it came to removing those who violate our immigration laws. In short, it is the polar opposite of the picture painted by his administration.

Since taking office in 2009, the truth is that the Obama administration progressively dismantled immigration law enforcement while simultaneously making entitlements more easily available to illegal aliens. These actions, coupled with an improving economy, would appear to be incentives for more people to attempt immigrating into the U.S. illegally. Indeed, the progressively increasing number of illegal aliens turned back while trying to cross the border throughout most of the Obama administration adds evidence to this claim. To hide the ever decreasing interior removal numbers from a public that supports immigration enforcement, the administration started including these border returns in its overall deportation numbers.

This dishonest maneuver was necessary because interior removals looked miniscule compared to the already underwhelming deportation statistics under previous administrations. In FY 2009, approximately 240,000 interior removals were conducted by ICE. That number has steadily decreased by an average of 25,000 per year. In 2016, only 65,000 immigration violators were removed from the interior of the United States. (click for larger version of graphic)

ice-removals-2008-2015

In addition to drastically scaling back removals, the Obama administration opened up the floodgates in other areas of immigration as well. During his administration, approximately 605,000 refugees, many from terrorist hotbeds, have been admitted despite undergoing minimal vetting. Furthermore, the president enacted the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which required that only immigration violators who had committed other crimes, of a more severe nature, could be placed in removal proceedings. This resulted in the release of some 90,000 criminal aliens back into society. By creating programs like these, combined with a non-enforcement policy, the administration succeeded in making the United States a de-facto open border nation.

Donald Trump made immigration reform a central issue of his successful presidential campaign. Based on how badly President Obama failed at immigration enforcement, President-elect Trump seemingly has nowhere to go but up. However, the American people sent a clear message to Washington, D.C. by electing someone who promised to enforce immigration law. President-elect Trump and the GOP-led Congress can expect to be held accountable and suffer the consequences should they fail to deliver on their promise to repair the currently ineffective and broken system.

The DACA Pardon Issue is Finally Laid to Rest

DREAM Act-FAIROnce the shock from Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory wore off, open borders groups and illegal aliens began scrambling for ideas to keep DACA individuals in the country. The panic was unsurprising because President Obama unilaterally created DACA meaning his unconstitutional executive action had no basis in law and could be immediately nullified by a future president—a point Obama repeatedly acknowledged. What is surprising is the absurd “answer” these groups came up with: Obama should pardon the approximately 750,000 DACA recipients.

Any attorney worthy of the degree hanging on his/her office wall could immediately tell you this is not a viable option. First, the pardon power is limited to criminal offenses, not civil offenses which immigration violations are. FAIR’s Research Director Matt O’Brien pointed that out last week. More importantly, even if Obama could pardon DACA recipients it absolutely would not put them on a path to citizenship as amnesty advocates claimed. Indeed, all a presidential pardon would do is forgive an illegal alien’s unlawful presence. The individual would still have no legal status to remain in the country and would revert back to being an illegal alien if they failed to return home within the set grace period. In fact, the only benefit a hypothetically-pardoned DACA recipient could receive is the waiver of the 3/10 year bars which would not be triggered upon departure because the pardon removed the unlawful presence.

Much to the dismay of pro-amnesty Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and illegal alien interest groups, the Obama administration has finally come out and said what was obvious to so many of us. In a podcast interview, White House Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz said, “I know people are hoping that pardon authority is a way to protect people. It’s ultimately not, for a couple reasons. One is that pardon authority is generally designed for criminal violations, not civil. But also it doesn’t confer legal status. Only Congress can do that. So ultimately, it wouldn’t protect a single soul from deportation.”

Can Obama Pardon Illegal Aliens?

penandphonePresident-elect Donald Trump has promised to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Children of Aliens program (DACA).  As a result, advocacy groups have been calling on President Obama to pardon the approximately 750,000 applicants approved under DACA. According to the pro-illegal alien narrative, this would place the DACA applicants on a “path to citizenship.”

But there is a problem with this narrative: the pardon power doesn’t apply to civil offenses.  Although crimes are most often perpetrated upon individuals, criminal acts are considered to be offenses against the community as a whole. Criminals are prosecuted in the name of the government, e.g., State v. John Doe. And they are punished by imprisonment, in order to deter antisocial behavior.

Civil violations consist of behaviors that interfere with the administrative interests of the state. They typically include violations of building codes and the failure to maintain one’s property in a safe condition, and similar acts. Rather than punishing them with imprisonment, the state imposes fines to recover some of the expenses caused by the violation.

Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution is very clear that, “The President…shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” In other words, the president can pardon federal criminal offenses, but not civil violations. While Improper Entry by an Alien is a misdemeanor crime, unlawful presence in the United States is a civil violation. Therefore, a presidential pardon would erase the crime of illegally entering the United States but would have no effect on the civil offense of unlawfully remaining.

The presidential power to pardon derives from old English law. It served as a mechanism to restore the rights lost by a felon who, although guilty of a crime, had fallen prey to extenuating circumstances. It was not a tool for the king to willfully evade those laws he disliked. And such an abuse would likely have led to his overthrow.

Frustration with President Obama’s misuse of executive authority appears to have been one of the factors that caused American voters to elect Donald Trump president. Rather than compound his past errors with an “amnesty-by-pardon” scheme, President Obama should heed the will of the people and let the Trump administration sort out the mess caused by his illegal DACA policies.

Mr. President – Trump’s Enforcement Message Resonates with American Voters!

President ObamaAt his first press conference since the election, President Obama told reporters that he wanted to ensure a smooth transition between himself and President-elect Donald Trump and that he intended to give Trump “space” to determine his agenda as well as staff.  Yet, at this very same conference, President Obama said that he would “urge the president-elect and the incoming administration to think long and hard before they are endangering the status of what for all practical purposes are American kids.”

Obama’s claim that DACA recipients are “American kids” is factually incorrect on a number of levels. First, DACA recipients are citizens of other nations who are living in the U.S. unlawfully. Second, many DACA recipients are full grown adults. Despite the rhetoric, the actual criteria for DACA eligibility include being under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 and claiming to have entered the U.S. before turning 16. Thus, you have DACA recipients who are nearly 35 years old today—hardly the “kids” that open borders advocates claim benefit from the program.

Additionally, the recent election shows that the American people favor Trump’s approach to immigration over Obama’s. By electing  someone who championed the American public’s interests in immigration policy over a candidate who pledged to exceed President Obama in the use of executive action to protect illegal aliens, Americans made their views on immigration clear. A pre-election poll by Pulse Opinion Research that found that 54 percent of likely voters believed there has been “too little effort” to enforce our immigration laws and 56 percent supported “causing illegal aliens to return to their home countries by penalizing employers, getting cooperation from local law enforcement, and denying welfare benefits.”

NYC to Help Illegal Aliens Meet Requirements for DACA

Yellow Cabs by Flatiron in NYCNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced on Friday that the New York City is planning to launch a new taxpayer-funded program to help illegal aliens meet certain requirements to receive deferred action under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, created by President Obama in 2012, provides illegal aliens with temporary protection against deportation, in addition to temporary work permits to allow them to compete with citizen and legal immigrants in the job market. The city-sponsored program, called ActionNYC DACA Education Initiative, will utilize nine community education providers, including the City University of New York, to offer classes to assist illegal aliens meet the education requirements for DACA.

While Mayor de Blasio and his staff have been focusing their efforts and directing New York City resident’s taxpayer dollars on educating illegal aliens, millions of New York City citizens and legal immigrants are struggling with basic literacy and technical skills.  Adults without basic literacy skills are often shut out of the job market and are substantially more likely to live in poverty. An alarming 2 million, or 25 percent, of the total New York City population is reportedly described as “functionally illiterate.” Additionally, a report from 2013 indicate that nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates lack basic reading, writing, and math skills needed to qualify for community college.

Additionally, Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to make illegal aliens eligible for DACA might ultimately prove to be a waste. In late 2014, twenty-six states, led by the State of Texas, sued the federal government in its attempt to expand the DACA program. The DACA program has not been authorized by any act of Congress and directly violates the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, the plaintiff-states allege that the Obama Administration violated the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the U.S. President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” as well as the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to follow legal procedures necessary to change federal rules.  In February 2015, a federal court put a block on implementation of the expansion until the court rules on its validity.

Mayor de Blasio has not commented on how much this program will cost city taxpayers. New York City is estimated to have approximately a half million illegal alien residents.