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Obama’s Backdoor Amnesty

The Obama administration has begun implementing a backdoor amnesty through selective enforcement of U.S. immigration law.

A leaked internal memorandum from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) — part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — entitled “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform” revealed a series of “deferred action” plans to sidestep legislative requirements.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), ranking Republican on House Homeland Security Committee’s oversight subcommittee, spoke with HUMAN EVENTS about these recent actions — or orders for inaction. 

“It’s a separation of powers issue,” Bilirakis told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive interview.  “I think they feel that they don’t have the votes in both chambers to pass amnesty.  This should go through the legislative process.”

USA Today reported Friday recent Obama administration illegal immigration law enforcement cherry-picking including:

• Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton ordered agency officials on Aug. 20 to begin dismissing deportation cases against people who haven’t committed serious crimes and have credible immigration applications pending.

• A proposed directive from Morton posted on ICE’s website for public comment last month would generally prohibit police from using misdemeanor traffic stops to send people to ICE.

Bilirakis is demanding answers about the CIS memo from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, more pointedly asking if she or anyone in her department or the White House itself directed the production of the memo.

“I want to know if they’re behind it and I have a suspicion they are.  This is a back door way of doing it because they’re bypassing the legislative process,” Bilirakis said.  “It’s unconstitutional, it’s arrogant and it’s dangerous.”

He also asked Mme. Secretary specifics about the “deferred action” implemented by her department in its unequal application of the law.  Napolitano responded with the usual Obama administration non-answer answer complete with the standard “I want to be clear” amid the muddled language.

“Specifically as it relates to deferred action, I want to be clear, DHS will not grant deferred action or humanitarian parole to the Nation’s entire illegal immigrant population or classes of such population.  Deferred action will be used, as it has been, on a case-by-case basis when a significant public benefit or the totality of the circumstances would so warrant,” Napolitano said in a brief response letter.

“She’s repeating what the memo says,” Bilirakis warned.  “She’s saying if they do anything it’s not going to be a large class.  They’re being very, very vague and broad.  Their intent is non-action.  It is amnesty through non-action.  That’s why we’re calling for hearings.”

Bilirakis has requested formal hearings in the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Management, Investigations and Oversight immediately upon Congress’ return to D.C. from summer break.  (The House is back in session tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14.)

The requested hearing on “deferred action” amnesty isn’t likely unless Democrats lose majority control of the House in November’s elections.

“If the people give us the majority back, we’ve got to make this a top priority,” Bilirakis said.

In his letter to Napolitano, published below, Bilirakis raises a list of concerns about the CIS memo.

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

We are writing regarding a recently disclosed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) internal memorandum entitled “Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

This memorandum appears to have been produced to provide options for the Department of Homeland Security (Department) to carry out the Administration’s misguided vision of large-scale amnesty, referred to as comprehensive immigration reform, without Congressional authorization. The memo clearly states that “the following options — used alone or in combination — have the potential to result in the meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action.”

We are greatly concerned that the options provided in the memorandum contemplate inappropriately extending to entire classes of aliens forms or relief that are properly reserved for individual aliens on a case-by-case basis in extraordinary circumstances. Moving forward on the recommendations contained in this memorandum in the absence of legislative action by Congress would amount to nothing more than a backdoor amnesty, which neither the American people nor their elected Federal representatives support.

This memorandum is just the most recent example of the Administration putting the interests of those who have disregarded our nation’s immigration laws ahead of those who are trying to enforce them. For example, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to prevent implementation of Arizona’s immigration law, which seeks to make a state crime that which is already illegal under Federal law. At the same time, the Administration has failed to take action against sanctuary cities that openly refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement efforts.

This memo raises many serious questions that deserve answers, especially given the Administration’s efforts to block implementation of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law and the President’s support for providing a path to citizenship for those who have violated our nation’s immigration laws.

Therefore, we would appreciate your answers to the following questions:

1) Who, if anyone, within the Department or White House directed the production of this memorandum?

2) Were you aware of, or consulted in any manner about, the production of this memorandum?

3) Does the Department’s Office of general Counsel agree that current law provides authority to implement any or all of the options proposed in the memorandum?

4) Does the Department plan to implement any or all of the options proposed in the memorandum?

5) Does the Department plan to provide Congress with specific written guidance, regulatory language, implementation protocols, outreach and training materials, or any other written directives prior to the implementation of any or all of the options proposed in the memorandum?

6) Have you discussed this memorandum or provided any guidance to CIS Director Mayorkas about whether any or all of the options proposed therein should be pursued or rejected?

7) Do you agree with the memorandum’s finding that it is ‘possible to grant deferred action to an unrestricted number of unlawfully present individuals …?’

8) Do you agree with the memorandum’s finding that CIS should refrain from issuing a Notice to Appear ‘where no relief exists in removal for an applicant without any significant negative immigration or criminal history?’

9) How does the Department define ‘any significant negative immigration or criminal history’?

10) How many of the estimated 10.8 million illegal aliens currently in the United States would qualify for relief under the options proposed by the memorandum?

11) Would implementation of any or all of the recommendations included in the memorandum preclude any security checks or background screenings to which individuals would otherwise be subjected absent such relief?

12) The recently released Bottom Up Review states that to support the mission area of enforcing and administering the Nation’s immigration laws the Department will pursue comprehensive immigration reform. Are the methods put forth in the CIS memorandum how the Department intends to achieve this ‘reform?’

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Connie Hair writes a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

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