Judicial Watch | May 20, 2015
The monstrous agency created after 9/11 to protect the United States from more terrorist attacks instead compromises national security by failing to track how many unauthorized foreigners—some felons in their native country—it refuses to prosecute under President Obama’s broad amnesty initiative.
One of the president’s many tools to reward illegal immigrants with amnesty is a measure known as prosecutorial discretion, which allows federal agencies to decide to what degree they enforce certain laws against particular individuals. For years the system has spared a myriad of illegal aliens from removal by authorizing—and encouraging—low-level field officers to block deportations by using an outrageously broad list of exemptions. Under prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued in 2011, droves of illegal aliens have been allowed to stay in the country, but no one really knows the exact amount.
That’s because, unbelievably, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doesn’t bother keeping track of the illegal immigrants it has failed to prosecute under the directive. In fact, the agency doesn’t even have a data-gathering system in place to document when agents exercise prosecutorial discretion, according to a report made public this month by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG). This could create a national security risk, the agency watchdog writes, further stating that DHS “may be missing opportunities to strengthen its ability to remove aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety.”
It gets better. The OIG reveals that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents admit that their agency regularly grants illegal immigrants prosecutorial discretion without bothering to access criminal records in the country of origin. “As a result, aliens convicted of or wanted for a felony committed in their home country, but not convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor in the United States may not be identified as a DHS enforcement priority,” the report states. It gets even scarier. ICE officials say field personnel don’t always record their use of prosecutorial discretion because they exercise it daily and it would be “too time consuming to record every occurrence.”
Furthermore, investigators from the OIG found that DHS also fails to keep adequate records of illegal aliens released under an Obama amnesty program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The president launched DACA in 2010 and thousands of illegal immigrants, brought to the U.S. as children “through no fault of their own, have been spared deportation. A few years ago Judicial Watch obtained government documents showing that DHS abandoned required background checks—instead adopting costly “lean and lite” procedures—in order to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications spurred by DACA.
As of September 2014 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that it had approved 632,855 DACA requests and the U.S. Border Patrol reported it had released 650 individuals eligible for DACA, the DHS Inspector General reveals. Incredibly, the various DHS agencies cannot provide the number of DACA-eligible illegal aliens they had released. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, called on the Obama administration to end its reckless policies. “Not only are President Obama’s unilaterally-created immigration policies and programs unconstitutional, their implementation has proved to needlessly place Americans and our country at risk,” the Virginia congressman said in a statement issued in the aftermath of the report.