October 31, 2014

Gang of Eight Republicans Discourage Obama Against Executive Amnesty

Three of the Republicans who worked to push comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate last year are calling on President Obama to refrain from taking executive action on immigration reform.

In a letter to Obama Thursday, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged Obama not to offer amnesty to illegal immigrants until the southern border is secure and immigration law is effectively enforced. 

“It is our view, along with many of our colleagues and a majority of the American people, that no action should be taken to legalize undocumented immigrants who are living and working in the United States until we have properly secured our southern border and provided for effective enforcement of immigration laws,” the trio wrote. “Moreover, the need to secure our southern border and effectively enforce the law has been underscored – not diminished – by recent developments at home and abroad of which you are well aware.”

They further argued that if Obama takes the action that many expect him to take he would “flaunt the separation of powers and our system of checks and balances, undermine the rule of law, and frustrate the proper administration of our current immigration system.” 

Additionally, they wrote, such amnesty would “incentivize illegal immigration and open the floodgates to more visa overstays and illegal entries over our southern border.”

They concluded by calling on Obama to work with Congress to accomplish immigration reform. 

“Unilateral action by the executive branch on this issue would be detrimental to finding and enacting much-needed long-term policy and legislative solutions to our broken immigration system,” they wrote. “In this regard, acting by executive order on an issue of this magnitude would be the most divisive action you could take – completely undermining any good-faith effort to meaningfully address this important issue, which would be a disservice to the needs of the American people.”

Read the full letter:

Dear Mr. President:

You recently indicated that you plan to sign, perhaps sometime after next Tuesday’s elections, an executive action that could give work permits and green cards to millions of people who entered the United States illegally. We write to you today to strongly discourage such action.

It is our view, along with many of our colleagues and a majority of the American people, that no action should be taken to legalize undocumented immigrants who are living and working in the United States until we have properly secured our southern border and provided for effective enforcement of immigration laws. Moreover, the need to secure our southern border and effectively enforce the law has been underscored – not diminished – by recent developments at home and abroad of which you are well aware.

With this in mind, the issue of immigration is clearly one that must be debated and decided by the representatives of the people. Congress must fulfill its obligations under the Constitution and address this issue. Furthermore, it is not clear under what authority you would take such action, if you chose to do so. Taking executive action along the lines that have been reported would flaunt the separation of powers and our system of checks and balances, undermine the rule of law, and frustrate the proper administration of our current immigration system. Additionally, providing legal status by executive order to people who entered this country unlawfully will only incentivize illegal immigration and open the floodgates to more visa overstays and illegal entries over our southern border.

Mr. President, we urge you to work with Congress to secure our borders and address the serious issues facing America’s immigration system. Unilateral action by the executive branch on this issue would be detrimental to finding and enacting much-needed long-term policy and legislative solutions to our broken immigration system. In this regard, acting by executive order on an issue of this magnitude would be the most divisive action you could take – completely undermining any good-faith effort to meaningfully address this important issue, which would be a disservice to the needs of the American people.

We thank you for your consideration of this important request. 


John McCain
Lindsey Graham
Marco Rubio


October 30, 2014

Democrats Accused Of Posing As Republican Election Judges In Colorado

The Colorado secretary of state is investigating allegations that some Boulder County Republican election judges are actually Democrats in disguise.

Boulder County GOP Chairwoman Ellyn Hilliard initially raised the alarm when visiting polling locations where she didn’t recognize some of the GOP judges who are tasked with comparing voter signatures on mail ballots to protect against vote fraud.

She became alarmed when she noticed some ballots whose signatures clearly didn’t match those on file for the voter being accepted.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert began investigating and confirmed to the Daily Camera that she found “some troubling inconsistencies with some election judges.”

“One of them was a Democrat who had changed party affiliation on Oct. 10, so we are concerned that Boulder didn’t follow the list, then resorted to advertising for these positions,” she told the paper.

Hilliard submitted a list of 95 potential Republican election judges to the Boulder County election coordinator after the GOP caucus earlier in the year. The coordinator is supposed to appoint a roughly equal number of judges from the major parties to ensure a fair election.

But according to the Camera, if not enough judges agree to participate from a certain party, the law allows the county clerk some leeway in filling the vacancies with judges from other parties.

Molly Tayer, Boulder County elections coordinator, said that’s what happened in this case.

“[Hilliard’s] original list was 95, and only five have joined this year’s workforce,” Tayer told the Camera. “We performed repeated outreach to the Republicans’ list: emails, notes, calls. We exhausted the list and as much as we reached out to them, people did not come. After that, we just moved on to getting people to do this work.”

Prior to a rally for Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner Tuesday, Hilliard made what the Camera called an “emotional” plea for more Republicans to volunteer to oversee the election, telling attendees that elections officials are currently helping “the Democrats steal the election.”

She cited instances in which she said she saw judges accept ballots with signatures that clearly did not match those on file for the voter. At one point, the Camera reported, Hilliard had tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I get emotional because this is how they win.”

Boulder County has about 245 election judges, including 100 registered Democrats and 78 registered Republicans. The rest, according to the Camera, are either unaffiliated or registered with a third party.

“We’re on the same side,” Tayer told the Camera, in response to Hilliard’s complaint. “We both want bipartisan election judges working on our processes together. We told her that if she could find people from her caucus list that wanted to do the work, she could bring those people on, and we thanked her very much for doing that.”

October 29, 2014

Eric Holder, Jeh Johnson to Give Final Input on Executive Amnesty One Week After Midterms

Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will reportedly give President Barack Obama their final executive amnesty recommendations in two weeks, a week after the midterm elections in which Republicans could take back Congress.

And pro-amnesty activists are unhappy that Obama, who has promised to unilaterally act on immigration "before the end of the year," may not enact the biggest executive amnesty possible.

According to BuzzFeed, the final executive amnesty recommendations "are expected to be delivered in the next two weeks." Obama administration officials are reportedly deciding whether illegal immigrants have had to be in the country for five or ten years to receive temporary amnesty and work permits. In addition, officials are considering whether the parents of DREAMers should be given temporary amnesty and work permits. 

As Breitbart News first reported, the Obama administration has ordered immigrant ID cards to prepare for a potential surge ahead of Obama's planned executive amnesty. But amnesty advocates told BuzzFeed that they are disappointed that Obama may only give amnesty to just 3 million illegal immigrants. 

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has said that he demanded interest in the form of a bigger and broader executive amnesty after the White House asked him and other Hispanic leaders for "forbearance" after Obama missed his self-imposed "by the end of summer" deadline to help Senate Democrats preserve the Senate. And a "Draft Gutierrez" for president group is reportedly planning to convince him to run for president if Obama's executive amnesty is underwhelming. 

Pro-amnesty advocates vowed to the left-wing outlet that they were going to "unleash the ferocity of the movement." Another pro-amnesty advocate said the Obama administration has "disrespected" illegal immigrants by not granting them amnesty as soon as possible. 

October 28, 2014

IPCC Climate Scientist: Global Warming ‘Pause’ Could Last 30 Years

Global warming? Maybe not anytime soon, according to a top United Nations scientist.
Dr. Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences told Bavarian Radio that the so-called “pause” in global warming could continue for another three decades.

Currently, satellite datasets show that the average global temperature has not warmed in more than 18 years. Latif told BR that temperatures would start accelerating between 2020 and 2025, meaning global warming could be on pause or slowed down for the next 6 to 11 years. This could put the total time of the pause between 24 and 29 years.

Latif, who is also a top scientist with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the pause in warming was no surprise to him since he predicted the warming hiatus back in 2008.

“That does not surprise climate scientists like me at all, as for us this is completely normal,” Latif told BR. “When one takes a look at the development since 1900, that is the last 110 years, then we see that it has not always gone up. Rather it has progressed in waves. This is why it is necessary to look at long time periods.”

“If we look at the entire time period, then it is impossible to miss seeing the rise,” Latif added. “In 2008 in the journal ‘Nature’ I myself predicted the pause… Back then it created a huge echo in the global media. I’m wondering why all of this seems to have been forgotten in the meantime.”

Latif is referring to a study he did back in 2008 that found the world could be entering an era of cooler temperatures, one that could last a decade or two. But liberal pundits pointed out that Latif’s forecast only went to 2015 — everything beyond was too hard to predict (kind of makes you wonder about other century-long climate predictions).

“The reaction went in every direction. The reaction was, as you just formulated: ‘Everything can’t be so bad!” Latif said.

Think Progress’s Joe Romm wrote in 2009 that, “No, Latif does not ‘anticipate’ maybe even two decades of cooling.  He doesn’t even predict it.  Again, as Latif will happily tell anyone who asks, ‘my only forecast is to 2015.’”

But now that it’s 2014, Latif seems to be reiterating what people (except Romm) thought he was saying in his 2008 study: the pause could last another decade.

“In this study I expressly said that it does not mean that it’s all over, but that the temperature increase will rise even faster – starting in 2020, 2025,” Latif told BR.

Interestingly enough, a recent study by Latif made a similar veiled prediction that temperatures would cool over the next decade due to natural oceanic cycles in the North Atlantic.

“Our model tells us that the phase with a rather high surface temperatures in the North Atlantic will continue also over the coming decade, however with a slightly negative trend,” Latif and fellow scientists wrote in a study published last month.

October 27, 2014

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Law Lets IRS Seize Citizens’ Cash When No Crime Is Suspected

Imagine being informed that the Internal Revenue Service has seized your bank account. They don’t accuse you of any crime, they simply acted because your account, used for your small business, has too much money in that was deposited in increments of less than $10,000 – the amount that requires the transaction to be reported to the IRS.

That may sound absurd, but it’s happening across the country.

The New York Times introduces us to Carole Hinders, an Iowa woman who owns a small, cash-only restaurant. Last year she had her checking account, all $33,000 of it, seized by the IRS. Not because she didn’t pay taxes on her business (she did), and not because she was suspected of any crime (she wasn’t), but because “she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.”

How can the IRS do this when not only no crime has been alleged, but none is suspected? The Times reports:
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.
Hinders is not alone. According to the Institute for Justice, the IRS “made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.”

After being contacted by the Times this week, the IRS said it would change this practice, and switch its focus “on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by ‘exceptional circumstances.’”

In a written statement, IRS chief of Criminal Investigations, Richard Weber, said, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.”

Depositing money specifically to evade the $10,000 threshold for scrutiny will still remain illegal, but the IRS will exercise discretion when it comes to small and cash-only businesses where no criminal activity is alleged or suspected. These new guidelines will only apply to future cases, not past seizures.

But the IRS is not alone in exercising this power. Law enforcement agencies are incentivized to search for transactions, illegal or not, that could qualify for seizure by the fact that any agency that triggers such seizures gets to keep a portion of the money forfeited.

The Times reports critics saying, “this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multiagency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000.”

Many innocent people can’t afford the legal fight to get their money back. “The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.”

October 24, 2014

True the Vote's Lawsuit Against IRS Gets Tossed by Federal Judge

On Thursday, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia entered an order dismissing a lawsuit filed by True the Vote, a Houston, Texas-based non-profit organization focused on "voters’ rights and election integrity" against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The order alleged that the IRS had improperly delayed granting their application for 501(c)(3) status and targeted them as a conservative organization. The opinion, by Judge Reggie B. Walton, found that the IRS had taken sufficient "remedial steps to address the alleged behavior." 

Breitbart Texas spoke with Logan Churchwell, True the Vote's communications director, after the court's ruling was released, and he shared some important details about the timeline of this case. One of the main issues argued in True the Vote's lawsuit was that the IRS had improperly delayed granting their 501(c)(3) application, which is the section of the IRS code conferring tax-exempt status on qualifying non-profit organizations. True the Vote filed their application during the summer of 2010, and pursuant to the IRS's own rules, the agency had a duty to send a response within 270 days. That deadline was not met. Instead, years went by, while True the Vote, founder Catherine Engelbrecht, and King Street Patriots, another tea party group with which Engelbrecht was affiliated, all found themselves subject to invasive requests for records and information from not only the IRS, but also the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In May 2013, news broke that the IRS admitted targeting conservative organizations applying for 501(c)(3) status with "special scrutiny," and True the Vote filed their lawsuit later that month. "We knew we were getting questions about a lot of things other than tax returns," said Churchwell, describing the "strange questions" asked by IRS agents that seemed far beyond the scope of what they had expected, including number of Facebook "likes," membership lists, and content of internal organizational communications.

The IRS finally granted True the Vote's 501(c)(3) status in September 2013. Almost a year later, in July 2014, while waiting for the judge to issue a ruling on the parties' initial briefs, more news broke: that emails from Lois Lerner's computer had been "lost" in a computer crash. True the Vote filed a new motion seeking to begin discovery, arguing that the news meant that there was a real risk that relevant evidence could be lost or destroyed. The court denied that motion and then took no further substantive action until today's ruling, which dismissed the entire case.

Judge Walton's opinion stated that because the IRS had finally granted True the Vote their 501(c)(3) status, the case "no longer warrant[ed] the Court’s attention and further use of its resources," and deemed True the Vote's lawsuit to now be moot. However, True the Vote had argued specific costs that the IRS' delay had caused them, including fees for attorneys and CPAs, as well as fundraising losses. A number of other non-profit organizations and other donors had either pledged or donated money to True the Vote with the understanding that the group would have official 501(c)(3) status soon. Some of these groups even had requirements in their organizational documents that they could only give money to other approved 501(c)(3) organizations. According to Churchwell, the IRS' years-long delay acted as a "functional denial of our application" and True the Vote was forced to return some donations, and other pledges were revoked. Churchwell described the total costs to True the Vote caused by the IRS' delay to be nearly $90,000.

Churchwell told Breitbart Texas that while today's ruling was not the result they had sought, they were nonetheless "appreciative of the D.C. District Court's service and opinion on this matter and is currently considering all legal options," including possible appeals of the decision. Engelbrecht also released a statement to Breitbart Texas:

"We are stunned by today's judgment. The notion that the IRS can target Americans for years because of their political beliefs is reprehensible.  The Court acknowledges in its opinion that the IRS did in fact target True the Vote for our perceived political beliefs, but then it holds that neither the agency nor the individual IRS agents or officers are responsible for this unconstitutional conduct. Right now, we are considering all legal options and will announce our next steps very soon."


October 23, 2014

First Ever EPA Chief May Have Lied To Congress

Environmentalist attempts to showcase Republican support for “climate action” this summer may be backfiring because of one former political appointee. The Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever chief administrator may have lied to a congressional committee about his ties to environmental groups.

William Ruckelshaus was appointed to be the EPA’s first administrator in 1970. He quickly gained renown among environmentalists for banning the chemical DDT, which he said could cause cancer.

In June, Ruckleshaus along with three other former Republican-appointed EPA chiefs, was brought before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to testify on the urgent need to address global warming.

During the hearing, Ruckelshaus and the other former EPA chiefs opined on the need to make major policy changes to stop global warming. Ruckelshaus later complained in an interview that global warming “is just so polarized.” He told E&E News that “Republicans on that committee– it’s a completely ideological position they take.”

But while the hearing itself was a pretty boilerplate affair, the questions posed by senators for Ruckelshaus to answer in writing after the hearing have raised some questions. Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter asked Ruckelshaus about his connections to environmental groups while he was heading the EPA under President Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Ruckelshaus subsequently ran the EPA for President Ronald Reagan.

“In what year did you first start fundraising for the Environmental Defense Fund? And how much money in total would you estimate you’ve helped raise for EDF?” Vitter asked.

“I have never raised money for EDF,” Ruckelshaus wrote back.

“Were you associated with any environmental organization at the time of your [DDT] decision?” Vitter pressed.

“No, and never while at EPA,” Ruckelshaus responded.

The former EPA chief may be denying involvement with environmental groups, but evidence obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation suggests that Ruckelshaus has fundraised for environmentalists.

TheDCNF obtained an undated fundraising typed on letterhead from Ruckelshaus’s office in Washington, D.C. The letter states that “EDF’s scientists blew the whistle on DDT by showing it to be a cancer hazard, and three years later, when the dust had cleared, EDF had won…. It’s well worth the $15 dollars it costs to join EDF.” The letter is also signed by Ruckelshaus.
Though there is no date on the fundraising letter, an EDF advertisement in Backpacker magazine from winter 1974 shows the cost of joining the group was $15. This advertisement was place just two years after EDF and the Audubon Society successfully campaigned to ban DDT in the U.S.

Neither Ruckelshaus nor the EDF responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment, thus neither could verify the date the fundraising letter was sent.

As to Ruckelshaus’s belonging to an environmental group while in office, a speech from 1971, the year before DDT was banned, the former EPA head gave a speech to the Audubon Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In the speech, Ruckelshaus said, “As a member of the Audubon Society myself, and knowing the impact of this chlorinated hydrocarbon in certain species of raptorial birds, I was highly suspicious of this compound [DDT], to put it mildly. But I was compelled by the facts to temper my emotions… Certainly, we’ll all feel better when the persistent compounds can be phased out in favor of biological controls.”

This speech was given on May 22, 1971. Ruckelshaus was appointed by Nixon to head the EPA on Dec. 2, 1970. So Ruckelshaus gave this speech to the Audubon Society, one of America’s oldest environmental groups, months after he was appointed to head the EPA.

Audubon, along with EDF, was a major supporter of a ban on DDT, which they said was killing birds and could be causing cancer in humans. DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, is a chemical substance used to kill mosquitoes, flies, fleas and other insects that invade crops and cause illnesses, like malaria and yellow fever, in humans.

DDT was effective at lowering malaria and other disease rates in the U.S. after it was introduced in the late 19th century. By 1959, the U.S. and Europe were virtually malaria free thanks to DDT, according to a 2004 report. But in 1962, author Rachel Carson released her book “Silent Spring,” which said DDT was linked to cancer in humans and was contributing to ecological collapse.

The fear caused by Carson set off a mass movement to ban the substance in the U.S. After the creation of EPA, environmentalists pushed the newly-formed agency to ban DDT use, sparking months of public hearings and inquiry into the effects of the chemical.

Judge Edmund Sweeney, who was tasked with overseeing months of hearings on the effects of DDT, issued a 113-page opinion in April 1972, saying, “DDT is not a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic hazard to man.” Sweeney added that DDT’s uses under regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on fresh water fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife… and… there is a present need for essential uses of DDT.”

But Sweeney’s stance against banning DDT was overruled by Ruchkelshaus– who reportedly never attended a single day of the DDT hearings and never actually read Sweeney’s report.

Ruckelshaus handed down a 40-page opinion on June 2, 1972 , overruling Sweeney and declaring DDT potentially cancer causing.

Ruckelshaus later wrote to the American Farm Bureau Federation that his 1972 decision was ultimately based on politics, saying “the ultimate judgment remains political.”

The U.S. decision to ban DDT was used by environmental groups to force U.S. AID to convince to poor countries to stop using the disease-stopping substance. Gerald Sirkin and Natalie Sirkin wrote in The American Spectator that the “effects of giving up DDT were immediately felt in the malarial areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America… South American countries gave up DDT and suffered the customary rise in malaria. Ecuador, which manufactures DDT, resumed using it in 1993. By 1995, Ecuador had reduced its malarial cases by 61 percent.”

October 22, 2014

This is the White House's explanation for discrepancies between official transcripts and remarks by the president

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday addressed discrepancies between remarks made by President Obama at a Chicago fundraiser earlier this week and an official transcript of the event, explaining that the difference between the two is due to malfunctioning recording equipment.
“There was a problem with the recording of the event,” Earnest said.
He added later: “I will take this opportunity to remind all of you, something you all know, that the only reason that we’re having this discussion is because of the unprecedented commitment to transparency that this administration has put in place by opening up the president’s comments at fundraisers and private homes to press coverage.”
The president joked during Monday’s fundraiser that he discovered he had some “unpaid bills” when he left Chicago to move into the White House after he won his election in 2008.
"One of the nice things about being home is actually that it's a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills,” the president said, according to the White House press-pool report. “I think eventually they got paid — but they're sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff."
But this is how it appeared on the official White House transcript: "[T]here’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff."
The White House pool reporter noted after the event: "The White House's transcript of tonight's DNC fundraiser omits the president's reference to unpaid bills being stacked up on his desk at home in Chicago. I included a partial quote in the pool report earlier, but in the interest of transparency, especially since this was a print pool only event, I'm sharing the full quote, as I transcribed and checked just now, and as it was in the transcript.”
The discrepancy between the president’s remarks and the official White House transcript comes at a time when reporters have grown increasingly wary of the Obama administration’s tweaking of their pool reports.
The mention of "unpaid bills" at an Illinois event might rub a few people the wrong way just before an election, since the state of Illinois has been failing to pay vendors in a timely manner for several years running.

October 21, 2014

Obama Admin: We May Need 'Surge' Of Millions Of Immigrant Ids 'For Any Number Of Reasons'

In its first public response after Breitbart News reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is quietly preparing the capacity to issue more than double its baseline number of green cards and employment permits, a USCIS spokesman said such preparation is routine and that a spike in immigration applications could arise “for any number of reasons.”

“Solicitations of this nature are frequent practice for all USCIS contracts and allow the Agency to be prepared for fluctuations in the number of immigration applications received, which can arise for any number of reasons,” Christopher Bentley, a spokesman for USCIS said in a statement.

At issue is a solicitation for materials to print as many as 34,000,000 ids over five years. The request for proposals says vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” of five million ids in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

Republicans have denounced the draft proposal, saying it shows the Obama administration is already beginning to implement a broad executive amnesty that President Obama has said he is planning for after the midterm elections.

The USCIS statement includes two examples of previous USCIS contracts that included options to increase capacity, one for “security support services,” the other for “records operations support services.”

It's not unheard of for federal agencies to plan for contingencies, but the request specifically explains that the surge is related to potential changes in immigration policy.

“The Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential 'surge' in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements,” the document says.

A year ago, such a plan might have been attributed to a forthcoming immigration bill. Now, following the summer's border crisis, the chances of such a new law are extremely low, giving additional credence to the possibility the move is in preparation for an executive amnesty by Obama.

The RFP “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the 'Gang of Eight' bill,” Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department official, said.

Earlier Monday, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner ripped Obama's planned executive amnesty.
“The Speaker has made perfectly clear to the president that it is unacceptable for him to unilaterally re-write immigration law on his own and the Speaker will never support this type of action,” Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a leading immigration hawk, called the document a “startling confirmation of the crisis facing our Republic.”

October 20, 2014

Obama Administration Quietly Prepares 'Surge' Of Millions Of New Immigrant IDs

Despite no official action from the president ahead of the election, the Obama administration has quietly begun preparing to issue millions of work authorization permits, suggesting the implementation of a large-scale executive amnesty may have already begun.

Unnoticed until now, a draft solicitation for bids issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Oct. 6 says potential vendors must be capable of handling a “surge” scenario of 9 million id cards in one year “to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements.”

The request for proposals says the agency will need a minimum of four million cards per year. In the “surge,” scenario in 2016, the agency would need an additional five million cards – more than double the baseline annual amount for a total of 9 million.

“The guaranteed minimum for each ordering period is 4,000,000 cards. The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards,” the document says.

The agency is buying the materials need to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (PRC), commonly known as green cards, as well as Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) cards which have been used to implement President Obama's “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. The RFP does not specify how many of each type of card would be issued.

Jessica Vaughn, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department official, said the document suggests a new program of remarkable breadth.

The RFP “seems to indicate that the president is contemplating an enormous executive action that is even more expansive than the plan that Congress rejected in the 'Gang of Eight' bill,” Vaughn said.

Last year, Vaughn reviewed the Gang of Eight's provisions to estimate that it would have roughly doubled legal immigration. In the “surge” scenario of this RFP, even the relatively high four million cards per year would be more than doubled, meaning that even on its own terms, the agency is preparing for a huge uptick of 125 percent its normal annual output.

It's not unheard of for federal agencies to plan for contingencies, but the request specifically explains that the surge is related to potential changes in immigration policy.

“The Contractor shall demonstrate the capability to support potential 'surge' in PRC and EAD card demand for up to 9M cards during the initial period of performance to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements,” the document says.

A year ago, such a plan might have been attributed to a forthcoming immigration bill. Now, following the summer's border crisis, the chances of such a new law are extremely low, giving additional credence to the possibility the move is in preparation for an executive amnesty by Obama.

Even four million combined green cards and EADs is a significant number, let alone the “surge” contemplated by USCIS. For instance, in the first two years after Obama unilaterally enacted DACA, about 600,000 people were approved by USCIS under the program. Statistics provided by USCIS on its website show that the entire agency had processed 862,000 total EADs in 2014 as of June.

Vaughn said EADs are increasingly coming under scrutiny as a tool used by the Obama administration to provide legalization for groups of illegal aliens short of full green card status.

In addition to providing government approval to work for illegal aliens, EADs also cost significantly less in fees to acquire, about $450 compared to more than $1000. In many states, EADs give aliens rights to social services and the ability to obtain drivers' licenses.

Vaughn noted there are currently about 4.5 million individuals waiting for approval for the green cards having followed immigration law and obtained sponsorships from relatives in the U.S. or otherwise, less than the number of id cards contemplated by the USCIS “surge.”

USCIS officials did not provide additional information about the RFP by press time. 

October 17, 2014

The FBI Wants More Access to Your iPhone. Congress Is Standing in the Way.

Silicon Valley and the nation's law enforcement community are in an arms race.

Tech companies like Apple and Google want to make the data customers carry on their smartphones and computers more secure, safe from the prying eyes of spies and identity thieves alike. But law-enforcement officials—from the FBI to local police—see those same devices as treasure troves of evidence that they could be using to stop crimes and catch criminals.

As the tech giants get better at encryption, however, law-enforcement agencies are turning to Congress for help, asking lawmakers to make it mandatory for the tech companies to make their devices more accessible. FBI Director James Comey made that case personally on Thursday, saying at the Brookings Institution that police need new legislation to help them catch criminals who are using encryption to hide incriminating evidence.

Law-enforcement agencies are accustomed to getting what they want from the federal government—from new legal authority to the type of military-grade material recently on display in Ferguson, Mo. But following the broad and unflattering attention placed on government surveillance by Edward Snowden's leaks, few on Capitol Hill are demonstrating any appetite for further peeling back privacy protections.

"I'd be surprised if more than a handful of members would support the idea of backdooring Americans' personal property," Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and vocal privacy advocate, said.

An aide to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the senator is open to reviewing the FBI's proposal, but that right now, he's focused on passing his own bill that would rein in government spying.

And a House Democratic aide said that staffers have been in touch with the FBI on the issue but that Congress is unlikely to force technology companies to build backdoors into their networks and devices anytime soon.

"I think the combination of business and civil-liberty concerns would have made this proposal difficult to adopt even before the Snowden disclosures," the aide said. "In the middle of a surveillance-reform fight, it's just that much more complicated."

The FBI director warned Thursday that encryption technologies are allowing criminals to become "beyond the law." Even with a court order, police are unable to access information that is critical to solving crimes, he said.

"The FBI has a sworn duty to keep every American safe from crime and terrorism, and technology has become the tool of choice for some very dangerous people," Comey said in a speech at Brookings. "Unfortunately, the law hasn't kept pace with technology, and this disconnect has created a significant public-safety problem."

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a 1994 law known as CALEA, forces telephone companies to build surveillance technologies into their networks to allow law enforcement to install wiretaps. But the law hasn't been updated and doesn't cover new devices and online forms of communication.

Apple and Google recently announced that their new phones will feature default encryption that will make it impossible to unlock the devices for police. "Are we so mistrustful of government—and of law enforcement—that we are willing to let bad guys walk away ... willing to leave victims in search of justice?" Comey asked.

He urged Congress to update CALEA to "create a level playing field" so that companies like Google and Apple have to provide police the same access to information that telephone providers like AT&T do.

But the plan will face fierce resistance from tech companies and privacy advocates. They warn that any backdoor for law enforcement could also be exploited by hackers. Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology, said he doubts Congress will enact legislation to make U.S. products less secure.

"Who in Europe is going to buy these newly compromised cell phones if Congress insists that they be made with backdoors for U.S. law enforcement?" Nojeim asked. "It's probably one of the worst job killers a member of Congress could propose."

A large majority of House members have already gone on the record opposing backdoor access to Americans' information. In June, the House voted 293-123 to adopt an amendment to a defense appropriations bill to cut off funds for National Security Agency projects that build vulnerabilities into security products.

Ed Black, the president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a lobbying group that represents Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others, said securing customer information is a core function of technology companies. The new encryption features are more than just marketing gimmicks, he said.

"It's not like a new color on [the customer's] phone," he said. "It's something that they think is essential to protecting their freedom, their lives, and their privacy."

In his speech Thursday, Comey said he understands the need of businesses to compete overseas and that his goal isn't to "stifle innovation or undermine U.S. companies."

"But we have to find a way to help these companies understand what we need, why we need it, and how they can help, while still protecting privacy rights and providing network security and innovation," he said. "We need our private-sector partners to take a step back, to pause, and to consider changing course."

October 16, 2014

Obama Keeps 167,000 Foreign Criminals In The United States

President Barack Obama is allowing 167,000 foreign criminals to live freely in the United States, even though their deportation hearings and appeals have been completed, according to an internal agency report.

The data was revealed in a weekly report prepared by officers in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The Sept. 22 report, titled “Weekly Departures and Detention Report,” was leaked to the non-profit Center for Immigration Studies.

“This is ICE’s own unfiltered record that provides a benchmark of immigration enforcement, and so anybody who views this document can see what is actually happening… not filtered by ICE’s press office,” CIS Policy Director Jessica Vaughan told The Daily Caller.

Obama’s effort to reduce enforcement “makes a joke of or immigration law, and it creates an incentive for people to come [illegally]… the surge of [136,000] Central Americans that we’ve seen over the last year is proof of that,” she said.

In practice, “the president can drive it down as far as he wants, as long as nobody tries to stop him,’ she said.

“Unless Congress begins to insert itself, and insist that the funds ICE is receiving for immigration enforcement are used appropriately,” she added.

The Sept. 20 report shows that officials have not deported 897,572 illegals who have been given a final deportation order by immigration courts. That 900,000 includes the 167,000 foreign criminals who have been ordered out of the country by courts, after their convictions for felony or misdemeanors.

The convictions include assaults, theft, murder, identity theft, domestic battery and obstruction of justice. The convictions usually do not include reckless driving and other driving-related offenses, unless a state’s courts treat them as serious crimes.

The 900,000 resident deportees are part of the larger population of 12 million illegal immigrants that Obama’s agencies are protecting from deportation under the so-called “prosecutorial discretion” policy.

That protection includes rollbacks in ICE arrests and a sharp reduction in deportations of people who had either recently crossed the border or who were living illegally inside the United States.

In September, White House officials suggested the policy might be expanded after the election to provide work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. That “executive action” amnesty policy is unpopular among voters, partly because it would allow the illegals to compete against Americans for jobs.

The still-vague executive action plan is begin applauded by progressives and business leaders, who want more workers and customers.

The total number of deportations handled by ICE dropped 15 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the ICE document.

But there was a much steeper drop in ICE-managed deportations of illegals living in the United States, far from the border. Those interior deportations dropped 34 percent from 2013 to 2104, putting them 58 percent lower than the deportation number in 2009.

In 2014, for example, only 100,000 illegals —- including many criminals — were deported from the interior of the country.

That’s less than 1 percent of the illegal population.

“This is a stealth amnesty,” Vaughan said.

Obama’s decision to provide “Immunity from enforcement… is the next best thing to full amnesty,” she said.

In response to critics, Obama’s deputies say they’re trying to focus enforcement efforts on foreign criminals.

But the number of foreign criminals who were repatriated fell from 23 percent in 2013 to 2014, and are now 39 percent lower than the 2011 level.

“ICE officers are instructed to release or take a pass on illegal aliens whose crimes are designated as ‘minor’ or who have family members in the United States,” according to a statement from the CIS.
“The result is that only a fraction of deportable aliens that ICE identifies actually will be processed for deportation,” CIS said.

ICE officers are also instructed to ignore many foreign criminals. According to the report, “ICE officers had reported 170,125 encounters with aliens deemed a criminal threat,” said CIIS. But “only 90,500 criminal aliens were issued charging documents, indicating a startlingly large number — potentially nearly 80,000 — of illegal aliens with criminal histories who were able to escape deportation proceedings in 2014, even after being encountered by an ICE officer.”

The enforcement rollbacks has allowed the population of 167,000 foreign criminals to stay in the country.

“That’s just a damming indictment of the dysfunction in our immigration system,” Vaughan said.

“They’ve had their due process, they’ve exhausted their appeals, but they’re still here.”

October 15, 2014

Labor Secretary Perez won't answer questions about AG post

Labor Secretary Tom Perez declined Tuesday to discuss any talks he has had with the White House about replacing outgoing Eric Holder as attorney general.

Perez, who was assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department before moving to Labor, has been the subject of rampant rumors that he is the administration's top pick for the nation's top cop.

Asked during a conference call on unemployment issues whether he had spoken with anybody at the Justice Department or the White House about taking on the job, Perez quickly changed the subject.

"My conversations with the White House have been all about the long-term unemployed, all about the Department of Labor, all about the progress we are making about putting people back to work," Perez responded. "That is my singular focus."

Whether that was the White House's singular focus he didn't say. Perez gave a similar non-response when the question was asked during a conference call Friday on the minimum wage.

October 14, 2014

Army Tried To Get Rid Of Whistleblower, Stopped For Now By Special Counsel

When an Army civilian police officer disclosed that other officers were receiving unearned pay approved by the manager, the Army rewarded his whistleblowing efforts by promptly trying to fire him, the Washington Post reports.

Whistleblower Kenneth Delano has been temporarily spared by the intervention of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), postponing the procedure for 45 days until a full investigation can be carried out.

Delano’s original disclosure was reported to the Defense Department’s inspector general back in August 2013. Two other officers were receiving $25,000 dollars each in a process approved by managers. While the Army did in fact stop paying the officers, it followed up by ordering an investigation of a car crash Delano had suffered. Delano’s patrol car had been damaged. Steering routinely malfunctioned on the car.

The investigator, interestingly enough, was one of the officers Delano had reported for receiving extra pay without any corresponding increase in work. He protested the investigation, citing a conflict of interest, but his request for a new investigator was denied. The officer concluded that Delano had actually damaged the car, and also reported that Delano further made misleading statements during the investigation. The Army subsequently tried to fire Delano, but the OSC jumped in at just the right time to intervene.

“Based on the totality of facts, OSC concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that retaliation for whistleblowing at least contributed to the Army’s decision to propose Delano’s removal,” the OSC said.

Now, the firing is stayed at least for 45 days, and the Army will have to bide its time until a determination is made. The OSC will continue its investigation into the allegations without interference. The names of the employees making an extra $25,000 a year for nothing have not been released by the OSC.

October 13, 2014

Hispanics want Obamacare for illegal immigrant ‘dreamers’

Top Hispanic leaders asked President Obama last week to grant some illegal immigrants access to Obamacare, saying the “dreamers” to whom the White House has given tentative work permits are already paying taxes, so they deserve government benefits.

The request is yet another complication stemming from the legal limbo Mr. Obama created for the dreamers, hundreds of thousands of young adults to whom the president gave a tentative legal status in 2012, but who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents as minors and thus remain illegal immigrants.

Under government policy, illegal immigrants are barred from buying insurance on Obamacare’s exchanges, and about half the states also prohibit them from getting Medicaid benefits. But the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda said those whom Mr. Obama has freed from the danger of deportation should be considered “lawfully present for all purposes, including eligibility for public benefits and affordable health care.”

“NHLA asks that you apply the fairness and equality that your Administration has shown in various other areas in the health care context and ensure that no one — regardless of their immigration status — lacks access to critical health care services,” Hispanic leaders said in their letter.

Nearly 600,000 illegal immigrants had been approved for tentative legal status under what the administration labeled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Their status means they cannot be deported for two years from the time of their approval, and they can apply to renew that status every two years.

They have also been given work permits. Most states have also decided to allow them driver’s licenses.

Immigrant rights activists have asked Mr. Obama to expand his deferred action program to include illegal immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizen children and parents of dreamers. If Mr. Obama were to follow through on that as part of his promised executive action after this year’s elections, it could mean potentially millions more people eligible for Obamacare.
Rosemary Jenks, government relations manager for NumbersUSA, which fights for a crackdown on immigration, said there is a bright dividing line that determines who should be eligible for taxpayer-funded health care benefits.
“As soon as Congress votes to change the law and allow illegal aliens to become legal, then those aliens will have access to U.S. benefits. But it’s very clear taxpayers are not in favor of that, which is why Congress has not passed it,” she said.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released earlier this month shows just how deep that opposition runs.
The poll found 71 percent of voters opposed giving services to the illegal immigrant children who surged across the border this summer, and 63 percent of the voters surveyed said that a generous social welfare system in the U.S. draws illegal immigrants here.
During the 2009 and 2010 debates over Obamacare, immigrant rights advocates fought for access for illegal immigrants but ran into opposition from both the White House and Democrats in Congress, who didn’t want the issue sinking the entire health care law.
Immigrant rights advocates, though, say the legal situation for those illegal immigrants who have been granted forms of tentative legal status is different. Indeed, they said the law actually would allow dreamers to get health care, but the Obama administration changed its own policies to stop it.
Before Mr. Obama’s June 2012 policy for dreamers, others who had been granted deferred action on their deportations had been eligible for publicly funded health care benefits, according to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.
But in August 2012 the administration issued new guidance saying dreamers wouldn’t be eligible — in essence creating yet another category of tentative legal status that was eligible for just a subset of rights to which other immigrants are entitled.
Mr. Obama had planned to take action extending his nondeportation policies this summer but backed off, fearing a backlash from voters. Now the White House has said he will act after Election Day, when voters can no longer punish him or his party.