Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first. I am married to a retired Federal Court employee. I spent thirty years in the system. Federal employees and their families lived by one rule: Thou Shalt Not Publicly Criticize Thy Employer. One of the things that infuriates me is the way that rule is no longer honored among Federal employees and members of the military. We survived eight years of that incompetent, lying, law-breaking, economy-wrecking pair of Texas two-steppers without a peep of criticism, but all restraints, all respect for the office have been thrown out the window with President Barack Obama.
Ten agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have filed suit against the Deparment of Homeland Security, their parent agency, claiming that the Obama administration is not letting them do their jobs, identifying and deporting illegal immigrants.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explained at least three years ago that the Department does not have the manpower or budget to capture and deport every one of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. For that reason, the administration prioritized deportations. They prioritized shared information across jurisdictions, stopping the way illegals jumped from state to state after making bail on a criminal charge. They put those illegals who committed other crimes besides just crossing the border at the top of the triage.
And it has worked. We have deported nearly a million illegals in the past two years, the highest number of deportations ever. Illegal crossings are way down, actually lower than the number of voluntary repatriations. The policies are working.
One of the most frustrating things about life in BushWorld was the barriers put up for sharing of information across law enforcement jurisdictions. Forget what you see on forensics shows on TV, the networks were not set up to cross-reference criminals. Several years ago in Georgia, an illegal was arrested for running a birth certificate forgery ring. A person with a Puerto Rican birth certificate is an American citizen and can get a Social Security card and work here legally. This man provided the forged PR certificates. (This loophole has since been addressed.) Because he was in Federal custody, it was possible for a full criminal check to be run on him. Over the course of a few days, the marshals uncovered a half-dozen outstanding warrants on the man in California, Texas and Florida. He had actually been deported from Florida. The charges ranged from assault to robbery to child abuse and rape. In each case, he had made bail and skipped because it had been impossible for each jurisdiction to find the outstandings on him and hold him without bail. That’s how the system worked under Bush and Cheney. It didn’t work worth a damn.
The creation of Homeland Security was a nightmare for Federal law enforcement. It was so fouled up that agents didn’t know what agency they worked for. And you know all those references on TV shows about how impossible it is for local law enforcement to work with Feds? Well it was twice as bad back then because the Federal departments couldn’t get co-ordinated among themselves. The reshuffling into Homeland Security created all kinds of macho jurisdiction issues that resembled dogs in a neighborhood pissing on the same tree to overwhelm the other dogs’ scent.
But these ten ICE agents didn’t think the chaos in their department put them in jeopardy? They didn’t think there was anything wrong with illegals leaking through local systems to commit crimes elsewhere? Now, when the system is working better than ever, NOW they decide to sue??
The agents are also protesting the deferred removal program for young people brought here as children. The agents claim that the triaging of criminals and not deporting young people with no criminal activity violates the Constitution and federal immigration law. Chris Crane, the President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union for ICE agents, said “We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law. This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position.”
That is bullshit. One of the criteria for the young people being allowed to apply for temporary status is a clean criminal record. These young people would have gone undetected by ICE. They have up to now, as they attended school and went about their lives as normal American teens. Unless ICE receives a tip to raid a workplace, they have nothing to go on, no way to find illegal immigrants. Targeting those persons already in local custody was the fastest way to find illegal immigrants.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Texas and asks a judge to strike down the priorities directive and the deferred deportation directive. It is being funded by NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration group and the attorney is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped Arizona and Alabama draft their anti-immigrant laws and is an advisor to the Romney campaign. He is acting as a private attorney in this case and not as the Secretary of State.
Some Republican lawmakers have supported the lawsuit who have called the deferred deportation directive “backdoor amnesty.”. David Vitter of Louisiana said “These agents’ mission is to keep our borders secure, but the head of their agency is directing them otherwise, telling them to undermine their missions and contradict immigration law.”
This is like the whistle blower in the Fast and Furious case. He claims he objected to the program all along, but he waited until the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives to lodge his complaint with Darrell Issa, the man who swore to take down the administration by burying them under subpoenas.
This lawsuit is pure, stinking politics, and these ten agents should be ashamed of themselves for turning against their own department and their superiors for a cheap political shot intended to fuel the anti-Hispanic bigotry in the right wing.