The Homeland Security Department released from its jails more than 2,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in recent weeks due to looming budget cuts and planned to release 3,000 more during March, The Associated Press has learned.
The newly disclosed figures, cited in internal budget documents reviewed by the AP, are significantly higher than the “few hundred” illegal immigrants the Obama administration acknowledged this week had been released under the budget-savings process.
The government documents show that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement released roughly 1,000 illegal immigrants from its jails around the U.S. each week since at least Feb. 15. The agency’s field offices have reported more than 2,000 immigrants released before intense criticism this week led to a temporary shutdown of the plan, according to the documents.
The states where immigrants were released include Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas.
The White House has said it was not consulted about the releases, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has acknowledged they occurred in a manner she regrets. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said the government had released “a few hundred” of the roughly 30,000 illegal immigrants held in federal detention pending deportation proceedings. Carney said the immigrants released were “low-risk, noncriminal detainees,” and the decision was made by career ICE officials.
As of last week, the agency held an average daily population of 30,733 in its jails. The internal budget documents reviewed by the AP show the Obama administration had intended to reduce those figures to 25,748 by March 31.
The White House did not comment immediately Friday on the higher number of immigrants released.
ICE spokesman Brian Hale said Friday the numbers of immigration detainees fluctuate daily, but he reiterated only several hundred illegal immigrants had been released. “Beyond that normal movement, and as fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget and placed several hundred individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention,” Hale said in a statement. “At this point, we don’t anticipate additional releases, but that could change.”
The immigrants who were released still eventually face deportation and are required to appear for upcoming court hearings. But they are no longer confined in immigration jails, where advocacy experts say they cost about $164 per day per person. Immigrants who are granted supervised release – with conditions that can include mandatory check-ins, home visits and GPS devices – cost the government from 30 cents to $14 a day, according to the National Immigration Forum, a group that advocates on behalf of immigrants.
The release of thousands from immigration jails is consistent with Napolitano’s early warnings on Monday – hours before anyone knew publicly that any illegal immigrants had been released – that the pending, automatic budget cuts known as the sequester would limit the government’s ability to maintain enough detention center beds for at least 34,000 immigrants.
“We’re doing our very best to minimize the impacts of sequester, but there’s only so much I can do,” Napolitano said Monday. “You know, I’m supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. How do I pay for those?”
Read more here.
RUSH: You know, this really is unprecedented. It’s not getting any attention. It’s not getting any commentary whatsoever. It’s barely even being reported. But, I mean, this is serious stuff. The president of the United States has opened up the jails. The president of the United States, because of budget cuts which have not happened yet, has released 500 or so illegal immigrants, and, by definition, of law, they are criminals.
We mentioned this late in the program yesterday. Hundreds of illegal alien criminals have been released from illegal alien jail. Janet “Big Sis” Napolitano says that because the sequester is gonna cut 1% of their $2 billion detention budget, they will no longer be able to afford to detain as many as 30,000 criminals. Now, not all of those have been released yet. This is the president of the United States. Look, folks, I understand that we’ve gotta be very careful here in how we approach criticism of Obama, but, man, this is unprecedented. This is actually action that will do harm.
Now, I know Obama thinks that he’s harming Republicans. This is exacting harm on the country, and it’s entirely unnecessary. None of these so-called budget cuts are necessary. None of this panic is necessary. It is not even going to be felt in reality if the sequester actually does happen. We read the three-paragraph report from the AP on this near the end of the program yesterday, but there hasn’t been much mention of it in the rest of the Drive-By Media. I’ve only seen one article buried in the New York Times on a report from Fox News. Fox is reporting 500 illegal alien criminals were released in Pima County, Arizona, alone. Apparently Obama never gets tired of sticking it to Arizona.
The New York Times reported that there were reports of releases in more than a dozen other locations all over the country. Can you imagine any other president doing this in a fit of pique? “Okay, I’ll show you.” You know, folks, I’m gonna tell you something. In what used to be considered, if we can remember this far back, normal, sane times, this is an impeachable offense. This is in direct violation of the oath of office. Defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the people. We’re opening the doors of prisons before the sequester has even happened, before there have even been any budget cuts. This is so childish, except the consequences are real for people that live nearby these detention centers. This is on-the-ground, hard, cold reality.
Read more here.
While President Barack Obama has been receiving plenty of praise for his immigration policies at the Democratic National Convention, a petition launched to protest his policy of “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases is quickly gaining steam.
The petition, which was launched August 15 by National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council president Chris Crane, has surpassed 75,000 signers despite a noticeable dearth of media attention. According to a release on the AFL-CIO and AFGE-backed ICE agents’ union website, the petition demands that ICE chief John Morton allow agents to pursue immigration cases without fear of suspension.
“This Administration’s ever-expanding policy of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ that allows certain illegal aliens to avoid deportation and even get work permits gives ICE agents the discretion to determine which illegal aliens meet the criteria originally outlined in your August 2011 memo. However, it appears that your policy of ‘prosecutorial discretion’ does not allow for any discretion whatsoever,” reads the petition.
“By threatening your law enforcement officers with suspension for exercising their discretion, you are sending the message that, rather than having discretion to determine who is eligible for amnesty, ICE officers are required to turn a blind eye anytime they encounter any illegal alien who has not been convicted of a specific violent crime, regardless of how dangerous that alien may be.”
Crane says that since the Obama administration decided to allow ICE agents to be able to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue action against an illegal alien, the only choice they’ve really been allowed to make is to release the illegal aliens back into the United States population.
Read more here.
Why Speaking Out Is Necessary
My experiences of working undercover with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have been well-documented by the media, as has my conversion from a prominent left-of-center activist to a tea party activist who advocates for law enforcement and for our nation.
I was an operational human source, commonly referred to by the public as a type of informant, for the FBI. The FBI has had special agents testify under oath that I was trustworthy and reliable and that my information was always accurate and never deceptive. They also testified under oath that my motivations were deemed to be moral and ideological, not financial. These factors categorized me as a “trusted source,” meaning my words were capable of initiating the FBI to assign resources to request warrants be issued. I have refrained from speaking on issues surrounding my experiences with the FBI, except in matters they have chosen to make public or otherwise ensured me would not have an effect on an ongoing investigation. I have also refrained from discussing any involvement with the FBI since the much-publicized 2009 trial of far Left would-be bombers in which I was the star witness for the FBI and the United States Attorneys’ Office.
It’s no secret that I have retained relationships within the FBI and that I have utilized these relationships for the purposes of helping citizens report crimes or terroristic activity. I have not discussed the fact that I was reactivated as an operational human source for the purpose of aiding the FBI’s efforts to stop human trafficking. In other words, I went back undercover. I am now speaking out without the approval or consent of the FBI due to the gross lack of concern or action from the Justice Department overall to stop known cases of children being trafficked by criminals for the purposes of sex and profits. Another former FBI human source, Dottie Laster, joins me in an effort to hold the DOJ accountable for neglecting the children we know to be sex slaves. Defending the men and women who serve in the FBI and other agencies under the United States Department of Justice has been a central effort in my life since my identity was revealed in connection with the aforementioned trial. I have, however, refrained from defending the politically appointed leadership and their executive managers within the organizations. It is unfortunate that my conscience now mandates I speak out about the leadership’s decisions and priorities. It is unfortunate that I must break from keeping with the culture of silence so prevalent in federal law enforcement agencies under the DOJ.
Untangling the Knots
Laster, a longtime advocate for the victims of human trafficking, contacted me seeking understanding as to why the Justice Department seemingly had little interest in pursuing investigations where slavery was involved. She initially asked me why I would defend such entities when they were refusing to help the victims she worked with. I explained to her that there was surely something we could do as citizens, and I began to research the matter. I discussed the issue with various federal agents and others employed by or otherwise under the umbrella of the DOJ. I learned that the majority of law enforcement agencies did not take on human trafficking investigations due to complications arising from interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agencies that received federal funding were required by federal law to inform ICE of any such investigations and cooperate with them. Unfortunately, ICE would frequently act unilaterally and raid the facility that was being investigated. This made any substantial long-term investigation impossible. ICE has a very thin charter, and removing possible illegal aliens took priority over prosecutable cases. If ICE engaged in a raid too soon, the local agency investigating the possible human trafficking was left with little evidence for prosecutions and therefore wasted much needed dollars and work hours. The end result of this dynamic was human traffickers walking away with little consequence, free to continue their enterprise, and law enforcement agencies that shied away from launching such investigations.
Read more here.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an “indefinite delivery” of an “indefinite quantity” of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK.
U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to a press release on the deal.
The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer “optimum penetration for terminal performance.”
This refers to the the bullet’s hollow-point tip that passes through barriers and expands for a bigger impact without the rest of the bullet getting warped out of shape: “this bullet holds its jacket in the toughest conditions.”
We’ve also learned that the Department has an open bid for a stockpile of rifle ammo. Listed on the federal business opportunities network, they’re looking for up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo to be exact. The .223 is almost exactly the same round used by NATO forces, the 5.56 x 45mm.
The deadline for earlier this month was extended because the right contractor just hadn’t come along.
Read more here.
Family members of a Chicago man killed in 2011 by a drunk driver are steaming mad at city officials. A police report shows authorities knew Denny McCann’s killer was an illegal immigrant since the day of an unrelated arrest in 2008, but did nothing to assist the federal government in deporting him.
McCann, 66, was killed crossing a street in the Logan Square Neighborhood of Chicago on June 8, 2011. Police reports say Saul Chavez was driving drunk when he hit the long-time insurance agent.
Chavez’s blood-alcohol content was 0.29 percent, more than three times the legal limit.
Witnesses said McCann cracked the windshield of Chavez’s 2002 Dodge Neon and tumbled forward. But the driver tried to flee, running him over and dragging him 200 feet with the car. McCann died that night.
Chavez was already a convicted drunk driver when he ran down McCann, and a police report obtained by the Daily Caller shows that he told police during a Sept. 20, 2008 DUI arrest that he was in the United States illegally.
The report shows that when Chicago Police asked Chavez for his license and registration that night, Chavez responded, “I live in Chicago on Kedzie [Street]. I don’t have a driver’s license because I don’t have papers.” (RELATED: Read the 2008 police report)
McCann’s family members say police should have turned Chavez over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for enforcing immigration law. If ICE had been called in, they argue, Denny McCann would still be alive today.
Instead, Denny is dead and Chavez is on the run. He fled after posting bail last year and law enforcement agencies have not located him. In addition to his Chicago residence, Chavez has an address near Mexico City.
TheDC spoke exclusively with family spokesman Brian McCann, Denny’s brother. “I can think of at least twenty people that knew that Chavez was illegal and didn’t say anything to ICE,” said Brian McCann. “We as a family want those responsible to take responsibility for failing to report him to ICE, but we don’t expect that to happen.”
McCann said he hopes public officials who failed to notice ICE of Chavez’s illegal immigration status will issue a public apology and acknowledge their role in his brother’s death.
That group, he said, includes everyone who saw the arrest report: the arresting officer, his superiors, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Cook County Probation Department, and probation Judge William T. O’Brien. They all, McCann told TheDC, had a responsibility to report Chavez to ICE.
Chavez spent 17 months going in and out of Judge O’Brien’s court room between his 2008 conviction and February 8, 2011, when O’Brien signed off on Chavez’s successful probation completion. During that time, the police report documenting Chavez’s confession that he was undocumented was available to the judge, state’s attorney and the Department of Probation.
But an ICE representative told The Daily Caller last month that the agency wasn’t made aware of Chavez’s existence until 2011, after he killed Denny McCann.
Reached for comment, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez refused to accept any responsibility.
Read more here.
Sen. Dick Durbin plans to make a full-court press Tuesday to revive the debate over a controversial proposal to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a path to legal status, as the Obama administration moves on a separate track to grant what some describe as “amnesty” to the same group.
Durbin, D-Ill., in announcing the first-ever Senate hearing on the so-called DREAM Act, said his proposal would “make our country stronger.” Under the plan, which passed the House last year but died in the Senate, illegal immigrants who came here as children and complete two years of college or military service could earn legal status.
Several top administration officials, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, plan to testify before Durbin’s subcommittee. The hearing and a recent memo from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggest officials are moving on two fronts to give illegal immigrant students a chance at staying.
The memo issued June 17 from ICE Director John Morton instructs staff to consider 19 factors when exercising “prosecutorial discretion” — or the discretion an ICE attorney has in deciding whether and how to pursue or dismiss an immigration case.
Read more here.
A new law enforcement bulletin warns that members of drug cartels have been overheard plotting to kill federal agents and Texas Rangers who guard the border, officials in Washington reported Thursday.
The bulletin, which was issued in March, said cartel members planned to use AK-47 assault rifles to shoot agents and Rangers from across the border. It did not name the cartels.
The information was released at a hearing before a panel of the House Committee on Homeland Security. The Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management addressed “The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War Against the Drug Cartels.”
U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas, talked briefly about the bulletin at the hearing. He said this and other findings he cited “are acts of terrorism as defined by law. The shooting of Special Agent Zapata and Avila is a game changer, which alters the landscape of United State’s involvement in Mexico’s war against drug cartels.”
He was referring to Jaime Jorge Zapata, 32, a Brownsville native and special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was killed on Feb. 15 while on duty in Mexico. Injured in the same attack was Special Agent Victor Avila. Members of the Zetas criminal organization are suspected in the attack.
Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Thursday in a statement: “DPS constantly keeps our officers and our law enforcement partners informed of any intelligence that suggests possible threats to their safety. However, we cannot comment on specific law enforcement bulletins.”
In a response to the threats, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said, “Out of an abundance of caution, we routinely share information that could impact our frontline personnel in order to ensure that they are aware of any and all threats.”
The news comes at time when ICE reportedly is having a difficult time recruiting agents willing to work in Mexico, said Luis Alvarez, assistant director for ICE International Affairs, who testified at the hearing.
Read more here.
By Art Moore
The Department of Homeland Security is trying to deport the son of a Hamas founder who told of his conversion to Christianity and decade of spying for Israel in a New York Times best-seller.
“Son of Hamas” author Mosab Hassan Yousef revealed on a blog hosted by his publisher he is scheduled to appear June 30 before Immigration Judge Rico J. Bartolomei at the DHS Immigration Court in San Diego.
Yousef said the DHS informed him Feb. 23, 2009, he was barred from asylum in the U.S. because there were reasonable grounds for believing he was “a danger to the security of the United States” and “engaged in terrorist activity.”
An incredulous Yousef said the U.S. government’s belief he is a terrorist is based on a complete misinterpretation of passages of his book in which he describes his work as a counterterrorism agent for the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet.
Yousef said he’s not so much worried about himself as he is “outraged” about “a security system that is so primitive and naive that it endangers the lives of countless Americans.”
“If Homeland Security cannot tell the difference between a terrorist and a man who spent his life fighting terrorism, how can they protect their own people?” he asked in his blog post.
Yousef said whatever Judge Bartolomei decides will be appealed, “and this insane merry-go-round can go on like that for decades.”
Yousef’s asylum case – A 088 271 051 – was filed Aug. 22, 2007, about seven months after he arrived in the U.S. from Israel.
The office of DHS Senior Attorney Kerri Calcador, who is handling the case, referred WND’s request for comment to Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Lauren Mack, who said the agency is barred by policy from commenting, or even confirming or denying the existence of any case.
WND tried to reach Yousef for further comment, but he was not available.
As WND reported, Yousef worked alongside his father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, in the West Bank city of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah while secretly embracing Christian faith and serving as one of the top spies for Israel’s internal security arm. Yousef was recruited by Shin Bet in 1996 at the age of 18 while at an Israeli detention facility.
Since publicly declaring his faith in August 2008, he has been condemned by an al-Qaida-affiliated group and disowned by his family.
His chief Shin Bet handler, “Captain Loai,” has confirmed his account and praised him in media interviews for disrupting dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts by Hamas, saving hundreds of lives.
Yousef said he recently received a document from DHS in which attorney Calcador pointed to passages in his book as evidence of terrorist activity.
Calcador cites a passage in which she says “a member of Shin Bet shows the respondent a list of suspects implicated in a March 2001 suicide bombing and asks the respondent whether he knows the individuals. The respondent indicates that he does know five of the people on the list and states that he previously drove them to safe houses.”
In the DHS document, Calcador concludes, “At a bare minimum, evidence of the respondent’s transport of Hamas members to safe houses … indicates that the respondent provided material support to a [Tier I] terrorist organization.”
Yousef’s response: “Is she kidding? Either Homeland Security’s chief attorney has zero reading comprehension, or else she intentionally took the passage out of context. And I am not sure which is worse.”
Yousef explained his job as a Shin Bet agent required him to be involved with his father’s activities.
“So when he asked me to go with him to pick up these guys when they were released from the Palestinian Authority prison, I went,” he said.
He insisted that no one at the time – not his father or even Israel – knew the five men were involved in suicide bombings.
He further argued he was the one who later provided Israel the evidence that connected the men to the terrorist bombing at the Hebrew University cafeteria in July 2002.
“And Homeland Security would do well to remember that there were five American citizens among the dead,” Yousef said of the attack. “Apparently the agency needs also to be reminded that I was the one who located the terrorists and led to their arrest or death.”
For that, he said, Homeland Security “today tells me ‘thank you’ by trying to deport me!”
He explained it was “part of his job” to pose as a terrorist and participate in “terrorist meetings” with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat, his father and other Hamas leaders.
“I passed on to the Shin Bet all the information I gathered during those meetings and saved the lives of many people – including many Americans,” he said.
‘Exposing the weaknesses’
Yousef said his intent for writing the blog post was to alert Americans to the danger they face.
“I believe that God is using this situation to expose the weaknesses of Homeland Security and to put pressure on it to make changes that can save lives and preserve freedom,” he said.
Hamas rally on 22nd anniversary in Gaza
He recalled that when he arrived in America Jan. 2, 2007, he “walked into the airport like anyone else on a tourist visa.”
When he went to the Homeland Security office seven months later, he said, he knocked on the door and told them, “Hey, guys, I am the son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, my father is involved in a terrorist organization, and I would like political asylum in your country.”
He said the officials were shocked.
“I wanted them to see that they have huge gaps in their security and their understanding of terrorism and make changes before it’s too late,” Yousef explained.
Yousef said that when DHS demanded evidence of his claims, he presented a draft of his book “Son of Hamas.”
“Surely this would make everything perfectly clear,” he thought. “They would discover that I was an intelligence agent, not a terrorist. That I tracked down terrorists and put them in prison. That I was an asset, not a threat.”
But Homeland Security, according to Yousef, doesn’t “get it.”
He said the FBI, in contrast, “has a much better understanding of terrorism and recognizes me as a valuable asset.”
“They told Homeland Security that I am not a threat and advised them to drop the case. But Homeland Security shut its eyes and stopped up its ears and told the FBI, ‘You have nothing to do with this. It is our job,'” Yousef said.
The agency’s performance, he asserted, “should worry the American people.”
“If Homeland Security cannot understand a simple story like mine, how can they be trusted with bigger issues?” he asked. “They seem to know only how to blindly follow rules and procedures. But to work intelligence, you have to be very creative. You have to accept exceptions. You need to be able to think beyond facts and circumstances.
“Homeland Security has absolutely no idea of the dangers that lie ahead,” he said.
‘Imagine suicide bombers in America’
He warned the U.S. is not prepared as al-Qaida adapts its strategy to lessons learned from terrorist groups like Hamas.
Suicide Bomber Hits Southern Israeli Town Of Dimona
“For nearly 30 years, I watched from the inside as Hamas dug its claws deeper and deeper into Israel. They started awkwardly, clumsily, but they got good at it. And al-Qaida is becoming more like Hamas,” he said.
The strategy of Hamas, Yousef explained, has always been to destroy Israel through a “slow bleeding war.”
“They don’t have nuclear bombs, so they send a suicide bomber here, another one there. And over the years, they severely damaged the economy and gave Israel a bad reputation all over the world,” Yousef said.
While al-Qaida began with massive attacks like 9/11, Osama bin Laden “understands how effective the Hamas strategy will be on American soil,” he said.
The U.S. has experienced nothing like Israel has endured, said Yousef, and the country is not ready.
“Try to imagine attacks by suicide bombers and car bombers, attacks on schools, in shopping malls, in the gridlock of rush-hour traffic, week after week, month after month, year after year, here and there, in big cities and rural towns,” he said.
“No one feels safe anywhere. There seems to be no reason behind the attacks, no pattern. Everyone is a target.”
Having been raised on the inside of this kind of environment, from both sides, he said he is only asking Homeland Security “to be humble and listen, so they can learn.”
“Exposing terrorist secrets and warning the world in my first book cost me everything,” he said. “I am a traitor to my people, disowned by my family, a man without a country. And now the country I came to for sanctuary is turning its back.”