Every day in the age of Obama brings a fresh outrage. The day is young yet, but this may be today’s most significant outrage: Obama’s ICE enacted a stealth amnesty, and when called out, they lied to the public about it.
Homeland Security officials misled the public and Congress last year in an effort to downplay a wave of immigration case dismissals in Houston and other cities amid accusations that they had created a “back-door amnesty,” newly released records show.
The records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, include a series of internal memos from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s chief counsel in Houston dated last August ordering attorneys to review all new, incoming cases and thousands already pending on the immigration court docket and to file paperwork to dismiss any that did not meet the agency’s “top priorities.”
The secretive review process resulted in the dismissal of hundreds of cases in Houston, most of them involving illegal immigrants who had lived in the United States for years without committing serious crimes.
In other words, the beginnings of amnesty, despite the fact that the voting public doesn’t support amnesty. What was that I was saying about the consent of the government the other day? Oh yeah, that it’s dead.
The records also document for the first time that the agency quietly rescinded the Houston memo on Aug. 25 — the day the Houston Chronicle broke the story on the dismissals — amid allegations from conservatives that the Obama administration had created a stealth amnesty program for illegal immigrants.
ICE public affairs officials in Washington initially refused either to confirm or deny the dismissals, and then told several news outlets that they affected only a very narrow class of illegal immigrants with pending green card applications described in a different agency memo. After Senate Judiciary Committee members demanded an investigation last fall into the Houston dismissals, Homeland Security officials reiterated the same claim they made to the media.
However, the newly released documents show conclusively that government attorneys in Houston were given wide latitude to file motions to dismiss cases, including some involving immigrants with convictions for primarily misdemeanor offenses.
“It now appears that DHS attempted to mislead the public and Congress on its policy of directing dismissals of cases against criminal aliens,” said Jessica Sandlin, Sen. John Cornyn’s Texas press secretary. “After this failed attempt at stonewalling and obstruction of the public’s right to know, the truth is now coming out.”
Sandlin vowed to “get to the bottom” of the case dismissals, meaning ICE leadership may have to account to Congress for what some critics are calling an attempted cover-up by the agency.
Read the whole story, in the Houston Chronicle. It’s an eye opener, and may be the beginning of the next big scandal that fits a pattern with this administration: Get a federal agency to enact an unpopular and destructive policy that serves Obama’s larger goals, then lie about it when it starts to come to light.