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Posts tagged ‘Janet Napolitano’

Report: Immigrants Improve in Fighting Deportation.

Immigrants facing deportation are increasingly finding success in immigration courts, according to a new analysis of court data.

Nearly half of immigrants facing deportation have won their cases in the last year, according to the Transactional Records Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which collects and studies federal prosecution records.

The government has been losing more deportation cases each year since 2009.

The analysis published Thursday does not say how many deportation cases Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose lawyers represent the government in immigration courts, successfully appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The government can appeal immigration court rulings to the Board of Immigration Appeals, part of the Justice Department.

Since the start of the 2014 budget year in October, immigration judges ruled in favor of immigrants in about half of the 42,816 cases heard, TRAC reported. In 2013 the government won about 52 percent of the cases.

Immigrants in California, New York and Oregon have been most successful recently, while judges in Georgia, Louisiana and Utah have sided more often with the government, according to TRAC.

“ICE’s enforcement strategies and policies are designed to prioritize its resources on public safety, national security and border security threats,” said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen. “ICE continues to focus on sensible, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”

Immigration supporters accuse the Obama administration of deporting too many people, but Republicans say the president is too lenient on immigrants living in the country illegally. Nearly 2 million immigrants have been removed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Barack Obama.

It’s unclear what has prompted judges to side with a growing number of immigrants fighting to stay in the country. Immigration laws have not changed in recent years, but the Obama administration has changed how it enforces immigration laws.

In 2011, the government reviewed hundreds of thousands of cases pending in immigration courts. The effort was designed to curtail the backlog of more than 300,000 pending cases. Tens of thousands of cases were eventually dismissed, but there are now more than 360,000 cases pending, according to TRAC.

And the Obama administration has since issued policy orders directing immigration authorities to exercise discretion when deciding which immigrants living in the country illegally should be deported. Then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said discretion should be used for immigrants who didn’t pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In 2012 Obama also created a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to allow tens of thousands of young immigrants living in the United States illegally to apply to stay in the country for up to two years and get a work permit.

Kathleen Campbell Walker, an El Paso, Texas, immigration lawyer, said it may be too soon to know what the TRAC data means for immigration enforcement. She said immigration court backlogs mean cases now being heard by immigration judges could be years old. And though immigration laws have not changed in recent years, some immigrants may be more successful in arguing that they should be allowed to stay in the country based on those discretion memos.

“The true implications of these numbers are murky and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet,” Walker said.

Obama pledged during both of his presidential campaigns to overhaul the country’s immigration laws.

The Democratic-led Senate passed a wide-ranging bill last year but similar legislation has stalled in the Republican-controlled House.

Last month, House Republicans announced immigration principles that touched on both border security and the fate of the more than 11 million immigrants thought to be living in the United States illegally. A week later, however, House Speaker John Boehner said it would be difficult for an immigration bill to pass this year.

“The American people, including many of our members, don’t trust that the reform we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference earlier this month.

The administration has made several immigration policy changes in recent years and during his State of the Union address last month, Obama pledged to keep using his authority to address a variety of issues that Congress hasn’t addressed.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ex-Homeland Security Boss Napolitano: No Clemency for Snowden.

Image: Ex-Homeland Security Boss Napolitano: No Clemency for Snowden


By Cynthia Fagen

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday she “would not put clemency on the table at all” for exiled NSA leaker Edward Snowden, The Hill’s Briefing Room blog reports.

“I think Snowden has exacted quite a bit of damage and did it in a way that violated the law,” Napolitano said in an interview airing on “Meet the Press” this Sunday.

She said damage from Snowden’s actions will be felt for years to come.

Asked if the administration should consider a deal that would allow the former NSA contractor to avoid jail time in return for unreleased documents, Napolitano said she couldn’t judge without knowing what information Snowden still had.

“But from where I sit today, I would not put clemency on the table at all,” she said.

The New York Times in a Jan 1 editorial referred to Snowden as a “whistleblower” who “has done his country a great service” and said that clemency should be taken into consideration.

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service,” the Times wrote.

“It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.”

On Thursday, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director of policy planning, tweeted she agreed with the Times that Snowden was “clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.”

But “On Face the Nation” last month Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and the CIA, blasted Snowden as a “traitor.”

Also last month, Richard Ledgett, who heads a National Security Agency task force handling unauthorized disclosures, suggested in a “60 Minutes” interview that the U.S. should consider a deal offering Snowden amnesty in exchange for returning additional documents outlining the government’s top-secret surveillance programs.

“My personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,” Ledgett said. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

But White House press secretary Jay Carney was quick to re-enforce the administration’s position on Snowden had not changed at all, and that the rogue contractor needed to come home from self-imposed exile in Moscow to face criminal charges.

“Mr. Snowden has been accused of leaking classified information and he faces felony charges here in the United States,” Carney said.

President Obama is spending his winter vacation in Hawaii reviewing a report commissioned by the White House that recommends dozens of steps the administration could take to increase transparency or impose limits on the nation’s intelligence programs, including ending the collection of Americans’ phone records, additional scrutiny when the decision is made to monitor foreign leaders, and new safeguards requiring the administration to obtain judicial approval before reviewing a citizen’s financial or phone records.

Obama is expected to announce his decision on the recommendations later this month.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Critics: Obama Pick for DHS a ‘Loyalist and Fundraiser’.

Critics are questioning the qualifications of former Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson to head the Department of Homeland Security, and are describing the president’s nominee as an Obama “loyalist and fundraiser.”

Federal campaign finance records show that over the past decade, Johnson has contributed more than $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups, Fox News reported.

He was also a supporter of Hillary Clinton, giving $2,300 to her presidential primary campaign in July 2008, and also kicked in for Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

“Rather than selecting someone who knows the unique dynamics of our southern border, President Obama has tapped one of his former New York fundraisers. We need someone who knows how to secure the border, not dial for dollars,” Republican Sen. John Cornyn said.

The Department of Homeland Security includes more than a dozen agencies, from the Coast Guard and Secret Service to the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and oversees the three immigration services: Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cornyn said Friday Johnson is lacking in those areas.

“After this administration’s mismanagement of DHS, in particular its failure to secure the border, Texans expect a nominee with serious management and law enforcement experience,”  the Texan said, according to a Washington Times report.

Rosemary Jenks, a lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which advocates for stricter immigration limits, voiced similar concerns.

“There doesn’t seem to be any indication that he has any experience at all in immigration,” she told the Times.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, questioned whether the president was just reaching for a Democratic “loyalist and fundraiser.”

“This is deeply concerning,” he said, the newspaper reported. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

Johnson, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left the DHS last month to become president of the University of California system.

Republicans long complained Napolitano, who came to DHS after serving as governor of Arizona, was too lax on some aspects of immigration enforcement.

Johnson’s nomination was unexpected, the National Journal said.

In a poll of national security insiders, Johnson’s name wasn’t even mentioned once in the “other” field for nominees.

Johnson has been in the middle of major issues facing the Obama presidency, from the ethics and legality of drone strikes, to the status of gays in the military — and said the 9/11 terror attacks deeply affected him.

“I am a New Yorker, and I was present in Manhattan on 9/11, which happens to be my birthday, when that bright and beautiful day was – a day something like this – was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history,” he said after his nomination. 

“I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered and asked, ‘What can I do?’ Since then, I have tried to devote myself to answering that question.”

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Obama Picks Former Pentagon Lawyer For DHS

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Sessions: Homeland Security ‘Most Mismanaged’ Department.

The sprawling Department of Homeland Security is the most poorly managed in Washington, Sen. Jeff Sessions says.

“DHS is the most mismanaged department in the federal government,” Sessions said, according to The Hill. “Department policies have collapsed enforcement and destroyed the morale of our officers,” the Alabama Republican claimed, according to The Hill. 

His comments came after it became clear that with President Barack Obama would nominate Jeh Johnson to succeed Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security secretary.

“It would appear that the president plans to nominate a loyalist and fundraiser to this post. This is deeply concerning,” Sessions said.

“This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law- enforcement experience, recognized independence, and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

Johnson previously was top lawyer in the Defense Department.

Sessions has vocally opposed White House policy to refrain from deporting illegal immigrants who accompanied their parents to the country as children.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Dan Weil

Obama to Pick Former Pentagon Counsel Johnson for Homeland Chief.

President Barack Obama has decided on Jeh Johnson, former Pentagon General Counsel, as his next Homeland Security secretary, an administration official said.

Johnson’s nomination will be announced by Obama tomorrow, according to the official, who asked for anonymity because the decision hasn’t been made public.

The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation. He would replace Janet Napolitano, who left the administration at the end of August to become head of the University of California system.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Napolitano: US Will Suffer ‘Major’ Cyber-Attack in Future.

A large-scale cyber attack against the United States is bound to happen and the nation must prepare to deal with it — quickly, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warns.

“Our country will, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy and the everyday functioning of our society,” Napolitano said in a farewell address at the National Press Clubreports The Hill.

“While we have built systems, protections and a framework to identify attacks and intrusions, share information with the private sector and across government, and develop plans and capabilities to mitigate the damage, more must be done — and quickly,” she continued.

“For every attack we experience, every threat we face and every piece of intelligence we come across, we learn; we assess our preparations and capabilities; we make changes; we become more flexible in the actions we take; and we get stronger and more nimble.”

Napolitano also said that her successor, who has not yet been named by President Barack Obama, must move to a “more risk-based, intelligence-driven security system” to strengthen air-travel safety.

Possible candidates include New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Lute, and Bill Bratton, who has served as police commissioner in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffman

Goodlatte: Obama Family Immigrant Directive ‘Poisons’ Debate.

The Obama administration’s directive to keep illegal immigrant parents of minor children in the United States “poisons the debate” on immigration reform, Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte argues.

On Friday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department issued a policy saying that immigration agents should try not to arrest and deport illegals who have minor children, reports The Washington Times.

Instead, agents should use “prosecutorial discretion” to avoid detaining parents, and if the parents end up being detained they should be able to visit their children and take part in family court hearings.

Editor’s Note: Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Your Social Security Checks 

But Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary committee, said the new directive “poisons the debate surrounding immigration reform” while showing the administration doesn’t take fixing immigration laws seriously.

President Obama has once again abused his authority and unilaterally refused to enforce our current immigration laws by directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants,” Goodlatte said in a statement.

“The primary reason why our immigration system is broken today is because our immigration laws have largely been ignored by past and present administrations. It’s imperative that we prevent this from happening again by taking away the enforcement ‘on/off’ switch from the president.”

The new directive is being praised by civil rights groups, and is the latest of a series of guidelines being issued as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano works on priorities about who will be detained or deported.

There are only funds to deport about 400,000 illegal immigrants a year, Napolitano said, out of the estimated 11 million living in the United States. Setting such guidelines allows the United States to focus deportation efforts on serious criminals, she has said.

Napolitano last year issued the “Dreamers” policy, which allowed tentative legal status for young illegals brought in as children, and since that time, more than 430,000 of them have had their legal status approved.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Republicans Raise Concerns About Obama’s ICE Nominee.

Two Republican lawmakers have expressed “extreme concern” to President Barack Obama over his choice for acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing John Sandweg’s “critically thin” experience in law enforcement.

“A litany of concerning allegations has been raised against Mr. Sandweg,” said the legislators, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul and Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, in a letter to Obama. “Perhaps the most concerning is the clear political partisanship displayed throughout his career.”

McCaul chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security and Duncan is the chairman of the panel’s Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee.

The legislators’ letter was reported by Fox News on Wednesday and follows a report the network published last week detailing Sandweg’s close ties to outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and his experience as a criminal defense attorney.

According to the congressmen’s letter, Sandweg, 38, now heads the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, and oversees 20,000 employees and an annual budget of almost $6 billion despite a “gaping lack of experience.”

“Despite extensive political experience, Mr. Sandweg’s qualifications are critically thin in one area: experience in law enforcement,” the letter states.

“Such a critical agency to our homeland security demands a leader with proven experience, significant managerial acumen, and tested judgment,” the legislators wrote. “We fear your choice may possess none of these crucial qualities.”

In its Aug. 14 report, explained that Sandweg represented sex offenders and murderers while in private practice in Arizona, where he also served as a fundraiser for Napolitano while she was governor.

The lawmakers cited much of the Fox report in their letter to Obama.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Fox.

Sandweg’s supporters include David Aguilar, who recently retired as deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“I think he’s extremely qualified to serve as the acting director of ICE and that’s in my opinion. That’s the opinion of a 35-year cop,” Aguilar told Fox.

He said he worked with Sandweg on immigration and border-control issues.

But McCaul and Duncan noted Sandweg’s recent participation in the National Immigration Law Center’s National Low-Income Immigrant Right’s Conference, which included workshops on “anti-deportation education and organizing.”

“These facts suggest he may not implement ICE’s mission in a non-partisan manner,” the legislators wrote.

A Homeland Security official cited Sandweg’s work as general counsel for the department as providing experience for his current position, according to Fox.

He helped develop border-security and immigration-enforcement strategies, helped remove more than 950,000 convicted criminal aliens since 2009, and worked with the Pentagon to deploy the National Guard to the Southwest Border, the official told Fox.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

Kerry to Recognize Same-sex Marriage for Travel Visas.

By Audrey Hudson

Same-sex married partners seeking U.S. travel visas will now be recognized as legal couples under a new rule put forth by Secretary of State John Kerry, the Advocate reports.

Urgent: Supreme Court Right on Gay Marriage? Vote Here Now 

“One of our most important exports by far is America’s belief in the equality of all people,” Kerry said Friday at the U.S. embassy in London announcing his decision.

“Now, our history shows that we haven’t always gotten it right,” but Kerry said the recent Supreme Court decision changing the definition of marriage will change that.

The change in visa status means preferential treatment for the couples in the application process, reports the Washington Post.

It also helps foreign nationals in a same-sex marriage with U.S. citizens to more easily acquire a visa.

The announcement comes on the heels of a Homeland Security Department decision by Secretary Janet Napolitano to acknowledge same-sex marriage when awarding green cards.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama’s Homeland Security Pick Embroiled in Visa Probe.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, who has been nominated to be the deputy secretary of Homeland Security – and who could soon run the department – is under investigation by the department’s inspector general.

A spokesman for the Office of the Inspector General said the watchdog was in “the preliminary stage of an investigation of certain allegations made against Alejandro Mayorkas.” He would give no further details.

The inspector general’s office sent lawmakers an email this week informing them about allegations Mayorkas had engaged in a conflict of interest and misused his position, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

The source said investigators are looking into whether Mayorkas had assisted in securing an investor visa – which had previously been denied twice – on behalf of Gulf Coast Funds Management.

Gulf Coast Funds Management is run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

If confirmed as deputy secretary of Homeland Security, Mayorkas would likely run the department on an acting basis following the September departure of Secretary Janet Napolitano, who is leaving to run the University of California.

In the email to lawmakers, the inspector general’s office said it did not have any findings of criminal misconduct, according to the source familiar with the investigation.

Mayorkas is due to appear on Thursday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs for a hearing on his nomination.

The Cuban-born Mayorkas was previously the U.S. Attorney for Southern California. He was criticized for lobbying former President Bill Clinton for the pardon of a drug dealer whose father was a Democratic party donor.

In confirmation hearings for his Citizenship and Immigration Services position in 2009, Mayorkas told lawmakers he had made a mistake in talking to the White House about the pardon request.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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