ICE and CBP Turned Into an Illegal Alien Shuttle Service

border-patrol-truck-rotator-720x480Most American taxpayers believe that the function of their immigration enforcement agencies, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is to secure the borders and enforce immigration law. Apparently the current administration doesn’t agree. In the last days of his final term, president Obama has turned ICE and CBP into a taxpayer-funded shuttle service for illegal aliens.

Breitbart is reporting that ICE officials are releasing illegal aliens from immigration detention centers and transporting them to bus stations and airports so that they can travel to destinations across the United States. In 2014, the union that represents Border Patrol agents stated that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification. Apparently, the dangerous practice has been continued in order to facilitate the dispersal of as many of the recently-arrived illegals before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

The scam works like this: ICE or CBP apprehends illegal aliens. (In many cases the aliens intentionally seek out CBP and turn themselves in, hoping to secure immigration benefits under the latest program.) The aliens are then transported to a detention center for “processing.” Rather than conducting any in-depth background checks and detaining the aliens until they can be removed from the United States, immigration officials issue them a Notice to Appear – a document instructing them to appear before the Immigration Court for a deportation hearing. The majority then simply disappear into the interior of the United States. If they are encountered by immigration authorities again, it is usually when they are arrested by local law enforcement for committing a crime and referred to ICE.

ICE has officially acknowledged its reckless actions in a press release issued to KGNS TV in Texas, stating: “During the recent increase of individuals illegally entering the United States in south Texas, individuals who have final destinations within the U.S. are identified and transported to bus terminals and airports.”

If that seems a bit strange, it should. Nearly all illegal aliens have a final destination within the U.S. It’s extremely rare to find any transiting the lower 48 on their way to Canada or Greenland. That’s why we have ICE and CBP. Their function is to interdict illegal aliens before they reach their American terminus and remove them. Unfortunately, President Obama appears to have turned the two primary immigration enforcement agencies into a taxpayer-funded convenience for illegal aliens – many of whom may later prove to be drug traffickers, terrorists and violent criminals.

Special Treatments of Cubans Ended?

cuba-street-rotator-720x480The Obama administration announced the end of the ‘wet-foot-dry-foot’ policy for Cubans on January 12. This executive action repealed the executive action of President Clinton that provided refugee treatment for any Cuban making it onto U.S. soil – including at a legal port of entry. This was a much needed change in policy for a variety of reasons, but it was too late in coming, and it did not go far enough to remove special immigration treatment of Cubans.

The announcement was too late because it allowed additional tens of thousands of Cubans to take advantage of the refugee treatment after the administration announced restoration of diplomatic relations with the island in July 2015. And it did not go far enough because it left in place another questionable executive action of President Clinton that increased the flow of Cuban migrants. That action, adopted as a concession to Fidel Castro’s regime, was to try to lessen the incentive for illegal immigration by Cubans to the United States by establishing a special quota of 20,000 immigrant visas for Cubans to immigrate legally. This action was outside the immigration law and applies to nationals of no other country. Its legality is questionable.

Just as there was no legitimate reason for the now-ended policy accepting illegally arriving Cubans as refugees, there is also no legitimate reason for maintaining the special quota system of immigrant visas for Cubans.

A further change that needs to be adopted is for Congress to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) enacted in 1966 to provide automatic legal residence as refugees for Cubans who had arrived illegally a year earlier. If Cubans now arriving illegally are being deported like other illegal aliens, the CAA will lose much of its meaning. But, because of deportation backlogs and the efforts of immigration lawyers to drag out deportation proceedings, the CCA still represents a flaw in treating Cubans like other nationals and should be withdrawn.

Apprehension and Removal of illegal Aliens: A Revolving Door

Accounts of crimes committed by illegal aliens too often include the fact that the alien had been previously deported: often several times. The Border Patrol has been tasked with evaluating what is the rate of recidivism – the illegal return of those who have been deported.

The Border Patrol calculation of the most recent recidivism rate is 14 percent. But a newly released study by the government’s General Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that this is a woefully low calculation.

The GAO study “Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Post-Apprehension Consequences,” found that a more recent system to evaluate recidivism placed the rate at 29 percent – more than double the Border Patrol’s established estimate. The GAO went on to point out that even this higher estimate is also ridiculously understated for two reasons:

-       First, the system only compared the records of persons apprehended two or more times in a given year. So aliens apprehended reentering illegally are not counted as recidivists if they were last apprehended more than a year earlier.

-       Second, the absence of an illegal reentry does not mean that the illegal alien has decided to stay out of the United States, it very well may mean that the apprehended illegal alien is still be in the country or illegally reentered the country without being apprehended.

The GAO recommended, among other changes, that the recidivism evaluation system exclude from the category of non-recidivists any illegal alien for whom there is no record of their deportation. DHS disagreed with this recommendation, so it remains to be seen if the change is implemented.

It is clear that this obvious recommended change in the method of calculating the rate of recidivism would result in a major jump in the recidivism rate. That rate underscores the falsity of Obama administration’s insistence that the border is under control.

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.

Legislation to Give States Reins on Refugee Resettlement in 2017

State & Local Legislation from FAIRLawmakers around the country are introducing legislation to give states more control over refugee resettlement in the United States.  Opposition to mass refugee resettlement soared this year following recent terrorist attacks globally by extremists posing as Syrian refugees. The most notable attack occurred in Paris, France, in November 2015, resulting in 130 fatalities.  Such legislation underscores the need for reform on the federal level of its Refugee Resettlement program and need for greater consultation and cooperation with state and local officials in the placement process.

Legislators from two states joined in the efforts to facilitate state and local leaders’ participation in refugee resettlement, as already required by federal law. Missouri Representative Jeff Pogue (R-143) introduced a measure to the General Assembly last month to help give Missourians a say in refugee resettlement in their state. Under House Bill 203, the Missouri General Assembly must approve refugees before they can be relocated into the state. Representative Pogue has yet to provide additional information regarding how this process will be implemented.

Georgia Senator Josh McKoon (R-29) also announced his plans earlier this month to introduce a measure to allow the state to withdraw participation from the federal Refugee Resettlement Program. If passed, Georgia could become the fifteenth state in the country to refuse participation.  Currently, fourteen states refuse participation in the Refugee Resettlement program. States that withdraw from the program, often referred to as “Wilson-Fish” states, do not participate in the placement process or administer aid to refugees, unless specifically required by state or federal law. Often, the federal government gets around states that refuse to participate with the program by contracting with third party organizations to facilitate placement of refugees into those states. Withdrawal from the Refugee Resettlement program, however, will ensure state taxpayer resources are not spent in the resettlement process.

Additionally, federal legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Scott Perry (R-Pa.) last year sought to require state governments’ approval over the resettlement of refugees.  H.R. 6119, also known as the Allow State Sovereignty Upon Refugee Entry (ASSURE) Act, would have required the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), to submit a detailed plan to each state where refugees are to be resettled.  This plan would require a list costs expected by the state for housing, education, health care, and any other subsidies. In addition, vaccination records, health records, criminal history, and possible terrorist ties of refugees would have to be disclosed in the report. After submittal of the plan to the state government, it must be ratified by the state legislature and signed by the governor in order for refugee resettlement to proceed. A similar version of this bill is expected to be reintroduced this year if the upcoming Trump administration fails to reform the federal program.