Friday, February 19, 2016

"Look at Bernie" the howling witch screeches - HILLARY'S DIRTY SECRETS

If you believe what’s currently going on with Hillary’s campaign is an indication that the Clinton political prowess has begun to falter, you’d better think again. It may not seem like it, based on what the media and political pu...

Hillary using Sanders for political cover

If you believe what’s currently going on with Hillary’s campaign is an indication that the Clinton political prowess has begun to falter, you’d better think again.

It may not seem like it, based on what the media and political pundits are saying about Hillary’s campaign losing ground fast to Bernie Sanders, but everything is going exactly as planned by the Clinton campaign strategist.
The Clinton team knew from the beginning that Hillary was an unappealing presidential candidate for anyone except the hardcore Democrat base.  They also knew she carried the negative political baggage of lingering problems with her emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation.

Knowing all this, the Clinton team knew that Hillary would never make it for all those months as a front-running candidate with a big target on her back.  So the strategy has always been to keep Hillary under the media radar – at least long enough for her to get the Democrat presidential nomination.  It took a while for Bernie to gain some traction, but once he did, the spotlight dimmed on Hillary and began to light him up.  Didn’t anyone find it odd that questions about Hillary’s emails and her other simmering scandals dried up all of a sudden?  Could it be just a coincidence?  Not with the Clintons.

Every bit of news coming from the media about the Democrat primary these days is highlighted by Bernie’s surprisingly successful campaign.  The media spouts that Bernie’s growing popularity could spell big trouble for Hillary.  But no one is happier about this seemingly bad news than Hillary’s campaign, because this is exactly the kind of “trouble” they prefer Hillary to have – all the way to the Democrat convention.

Bernie Sanders is the perfect shill in the Democrat presidential primaries.  And so far, he is working exceptionally well for Hillary’s “low profile” campaign strategy.  The higher Bernie climbs in the polls, the better his chances are of staying longer in a primary battle with Hillary.  And the longer he stays in the primary, the longer Hillary’s shady political past stays under the media radar – and out of sight of the American electorate.

But there’s not a political pundit on the planet who believes that Bernie Sanders has a snowball’s chance of winning the Democrat presidential nomination.  If you care to check out the delegate count as of today, Hillary is well on the way to being nominated.  And getting to the nomination unscathed by any of her “real” political (and legal) troubles is the key to Hillary’s success.

When Hillary accepts the Democrat nomination for president, Bernie Sanders’s valiant effort will become a big political feather in her hat.  The media will say: Wow – that Hillary sure is a fighter!  (You do know her slogan is “Fighting for Us,” right?)

And when the Republicans, and their beleaguered and battle-worn presidential nominee, finally get around to campaigning against only Hillary, all those questions and allegations they’ll be making about her emails, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation will be noted and branded by the leftist media as old news, anti-woman, and you guessed it – another right-wing conspiracy.

Good luck with that, Mr. Trump.

Donald Trump and His Thug Pals

It is amazing what just a 15-minute search on the internet can turn up.  Did you know Donald and second wife Marla once lavishly entertained Gary Triano, a fellow real estate developer/gaming operator and Triano's second wife?  The T...

MEXICAN CRIMINAL JUMPS AMERICA'S OPEN BORDERS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN................ AND THEN MURDERS! - They would still like someone to explain how a man with De Luna's lengthy criminal history could be living illegally in the United States.

Two top immigration officials say stricter border control would slow illegal immigration

Just 3.5 percent of over 127,000 illegal youths arrested on the U.S.-Mexico border over the last two and a half years have been returned home, sparking Sen. Jeff Sessions to bark at a Senate hearing, "Give me a break, who's running this country? Aren't we entitled to have a system of laws?"

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the topic of the two recent surges of minors across the U.S. border, Sessions provided the new numbers: 127,193, apprehended over last two and a half years and 4,680 returned. He later added, "97 percent of unaccompanied minors evade deportation through administration lawlessness."
The rest, said the Alabama senator, have either been placed with family and friends or are in the legal system.
Immigration has become a contentious issue on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, with GOP front-runner Donald Trump pushing for better border control.
On the Hill, Sessions and other administration critics claim that by letting in so many illegal immigrants, especially youths, the message to those in Central America is that the United States has an open door policy.
Sessions believes that if a majority of those trying to enter illegally were sent back, the message would be don't try to cross the border, and two different administration officials said a tougher border policy would likely limit illegal crossings.
"I don't disagree with that," said Thomas Homan, executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
He added, "I think that if you have a consequence and deterrence to illegal activity the illegal activity will slow down."
Ronald Vitiello, deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, added, "Yes, I believe that matters."
Sessions hit president for looking on every unaccompanied illegal minor as a victim of crime back home, and eligible for asylum.
"If caught, they should be treated fairly and sent home," said Sessions. But, he added, "it cannot be that every young person that appears from Central America is entitled to asylum or entry into the United States contrary to our laws. It just cannot be. Does anybody in this government not understand that? That's what people are upset about."
Democrats approached the issue differently, backing the president's open door policy and calling for more legal and social aid for the children.
Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, for example, said that those given legal help typically have a better chance of getting asylum. He said that 73 percent of those provided lawyers got to stay in the country.
Issues of sex abuse and forced labor involving the illegal minors was also raised, and officials could not rule out that there has been abuse.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at





Accused Laredo Killer Easily Shuttled Over Border

Angie Martinez, a 27-year-old mother of three, was killed in Laredo in 2015. Her estranged husband, an undocumented immigrant, is charged with her murder.
Angie Martinez, a 27-year-old mother of three, was killed in Laredo in 2015. Her estranged husband, an undocumented immigrant, is charged with her murder.
Bordering on Insecurity LogoThe Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration, reporting on the reality and rhetoric around these topics. Sign up to get story alerts.
LAREDO – The sirens, the crime-scene tape, the tears and agony belonged on the television screen in Martha Martinez’s living room.
Some of her favorite evenings were spent there with her sister Angelica — Angie, her siblings called her — watching "The First 48," a reality television show on which investigators scramble to solve murders within two days or risk the crimes going unsolved.
The sisters were “open diaries,” Martha Martinez recalled recently, best friends who kept tabs on each other daily.
In 2015, Angie Martinez had turned a corner at age 27. After earning her degree in criminal justice, she'd landed a steady job at the Webb County Jail. But more importantly, as far as her sisters were concerned, Angie had gained some independence and confidence. She had separated from her husband, Juan Francisco De Luna Vasquez, an undocumented immigrant from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, this Texas town’s sister city just across the Rio Grande.
“He used to control her so much — a lot,” Martha Martinez said. “She started to defend herself. But their lives were always very complicated.”
On the evening of July 2, Martha Martinez’s phone calls to Angie’s cell phone went unanswered. An hour later, she saw flashing police lights up close. Angelica Martinez had stopped by the central Laredo apartment she previously shared with De Luna to pick up their three children, ages nine, eight and three.
The kids were ordered outside and warned not to come back into the apartment, Martha Martinez recounted. Moments later the children said they heard their mother scream, and their father quickly packed them in his car and delivered them to a relative’s house.
Angie Martinez was found inside the apartment bludgeoned to death.
“When I got there, they wouldn’t let me go up, and that’s when a police officer told me that she had passed away,” said Martha Martinez, who drove to the scene after her mom told her Angie hadn’t shown up like she was supposed to. “And I had told him ‘No, it’s not her. She wouldn’t give up that easily.’”
Any hopes that her sister was still clinging to life were dashed when Martha realized there was no ambulance among the flashing lights. “I remember telling him to give her CPR, to call an ambulance. [I said,] ‘There’s no ambulance here – you need to call somebody.’ But she was already dead,” Martha Martinez recalled.
De Luna allegedly bashed in the side of Angie's head and strangled her, according to Laredo police. Beside her body they found a hand-written confession from De Luna, who was caught after he allegedly tried to commit suicide in an upper-middle class neighborhood where Martha Martinez said De Luna used to work as a handyman. He is now awaiting trial for the murder.
Martha and her older sister Kimberly Martinez don’t need TV cops to help solve the mystery of who killed their sister. They would still like someone to explain how a man with De Luna's lengthy criminal history could be living illegally in the United States.
By the time he was arrested in July 2015 for the Martinez murder, De Luna had been through the Webb County Jail at least four times on a half-dozen charges, according to Webb County Sheriff’s Department records. He had been caught illegally crossing the border under different aliases and sent back to Mexico four times, according to a statement the Department of Homeland Security issued after his murder arrest.
But it is unclear if federal immigration authorities were told about all of De Luna's crimes or whether any effort was made to detect his return to the United States.
De Luna was first arrested in January 2006, on an assault charge. That charge was dismissed, and De Luna was deported to Mexico later that month. In late June, the U.S. Border Patrol caught De Luna trying to come back in, and he was charged with improper entry by an alien, according to federal court documents.
But less than a week later, Webb County records show he was again picked up and charged with evading arrest, resisting arrest and making terroristic threats. Those charges were still pending when Angie Martinez was killed.
On July 3, 2006, a federal magistrate convicted De Luna of improper entry and ordered him deported and placed on unsupervised probation for three years. He was also ordered to pay a $10 fine, and he served no time in prison.
In 2010, De Luna was arrested after a warrant was issued for failing to show up to court on his earlier charges, according to Webb County Jail records. But he was out on the streets soon after.
Despite De Luna's arrest record, it’s unclear if federal authorities used any tools at their disposal — including prison time or threats of penalties — to delay or thwart De Luna’s repeated returns to Texas.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement referred all inquiries about federal interactions with De Luna to the U.S. Border Patrol. Agents with the U.S. Border Patrol's Laredo Sector said there is no record their office ever came across De Luna. A senior official for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s public affairs office in Washington said the agency doesn’t release details about some deportees due to privacy concerns.
De Luna lived in Laredo enjoying his “fresa” lifestyle — a border term for Mexican socialites who enjoy, and often demand, the finer things society has to offer no matter their social standing, Martha and Kimberly Martinez said. His arrest history prevented him from gaining legal status but didn’t seem to affect his ability to live in Texas, working as a maintenance technician and handyman in the neighborhood where he was caught.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving 2013, De Luna was arrested again and charged with DWI and striking an object on a highway. With his previous assault and evading arrest charges still pending, he was booked into Webb County Jail for the fourth time. But he was soon on Texas streets again, bonding out the same day he was arrested after posting $2,500. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hasn’t responded to several requests asking if the agency took any actions to have De Luna transferred into their custody before he was released.
Armando Martinez, Angie’s father, said De Luna's 2013 arrest should have been the last straw for a “born criminal.” Had De Luna been locked up, or deported, his daughter might still be alive.
Juan Francisco de Luna caption needed
Juan Francisco De Luna Vasquez is charged with the 2015 murder of his estranged wife.
“Why didn’t the police or immigration go get him at his house?” he asked. “I never called the cops on him because I wanted to protect my daughter. But they should have gotten him. He’s nothing but a bandido.”
Angie Martinez was murdered in Laredo the day after a homeless undocumented immigrant in San Francisco allegedly shot and killed Kate Steinle. Steinle's death provoked national outrage, and state lawmakers often use it to highlight what they call the Obama administration’s “recklessness.” But no one at the state Capitol mentioned the Martinez case during interim committee hearings on border security.
The sisters aren’t sure why, but say it doesn’t seem to matter. They’re grappling with their own feelings about immigration — something they say they never really thought heavily about until their sister was killed.
“There’s a lot of illegal people here, right? But sometimes you come back because you need to work,” Martha said. “But what he did and how he lived his life, it does make you angry because he got in a lot of trouble with the law.”
Despite his confession, De Luna’s case remains pending in a Webb County court. During a court appearance Jan. 8, a judge set his trial date for May. Eduardo Peña, his court-appointed attorney, said his client’s guilt isn’t in doubt.
Cases like De Luna’s prove the border isn’t as sealed as some say. After being arrested, it’s only a matter of time before dangerous immigrants are back in Texas, Peña said.
“[Undocumented immigrants] are sometimes just given time served. It’s a merry go round,” he said. “Some are back in a day or two. It’s definitely a problem. It’s a race to post bond before ICE can detain them. There’s no question the border isn’t properly secured.”
It’s Peña's job to convince a jury the killing wasn’t premeditated but “a crime of passion” that could win De Luna a lesser sentence.
That would be a living nightmare for the Martinez family.
“After all the evidence and the autopsy, it’s more then enough to find him guilty and for him not to ever, ever come out. She didn’t deserve to die that way,” Martha said.

Texas Sheriffs, Jails on Immigration Front Line

The badge of Captain Jaime Magaña in Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015. Photo by Martin do Nascimento
The badge of Captain Jaime Magaña in Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015. Photo by Martin do Nascimento
Bordering on Insecurity LogoThe Texas Tribune is taking a yearlong look at the issues of border security and immigration, reporting on the reality and rhetoric around these topics. Sign up to get story alerts.
*Correction appended
With a $6 billion budget and more than 20,000 employees, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stands poised to seize and deport immigrants — undocumented or not — who commit serious crimes in the United States.
Provided someone else catches them.

The behemoth agency at the center of the nation’s immigration enforcement efforts has no proactive way — watch lists, data mining or the like — to systematically search for dangerous undocumented immigrants, including those who have returned to the United States after being deported for committing crimes.

Instead, if an immigrant criminal is caught and thrown out of the country, the process most likely begins when a local police officer or sheriff's deputy pulls them over for a traffic stop or arrests them as part of a criminal investigation.

The success of federal deportation policy in Texas and nationwide depends for the most part on a heads up from county sheriffs. They run the jails where people are taken when arrested and where the culling of criminal immigrants begins.

Being at the bottom of the enforcement pyramid places tremendous pressure on them — political, legal and otherwise — sheriffs say, and with federal policy increasingly targeting serious, repeat criminal offenders, their role in the process has grown.

“When some of these sheriffs talk about bringing in an undocumented, it may be one a month,” said Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. “With us, it’s several a day.”

The legal tool federal authorities use to take custody of immigrants they want is the detainer. Around in some form or fashion since the 1950s, detainers are notices sent to jails asking them to hold on to an immigrant once local authorities are done with them so federal agents can come by and get them.
In its latest incarnation, the detainer is reserved for the most serious convicted immigrant criminals. This new, narrower restriction, imposed in November 2014, has caused the number of detainers to drop. As of October 2015, the latest monthly figure available, 7,117 detainers were issued. That's down from an all-time monthly high of 27,755 in August 2011, according to voluminous Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Texas is central to the federal agency’s deportation efforts. Nationwide, only eight jails received more than 1,000 detainer requests in the last year, according to clearinghouse data. Four were in Texas — Harris, Travis, Dallas and Hidalgo counties.

A report last year on the federal agency’s enforcement operations shows it plucked 139,368 people from the nation's jails and prisons during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. That accounted for about 59 percent of the total number of people ICE removed from the country that year for a variety of reasons.

Many came from Texas, screened out of state prisons or found among the approximately 71,000 people who are booked into local Texas jails each month, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. On average, 3,724 undocumented immigrants were detained in Texas jails each month in 2015, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of immigration detainer reports from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Between December 2012 and October 2015, undocumented immigrants who sat in Texas county jails cost taxpayers a total of $210.6 million, according to reports filed with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards that were released to The Texas Tribune.

In 2015, the federal government provided about $12 million to Texas to care for incarcerated undocumented immigrants. Most of that - more than $8 million - went to the Texas prison system, not jails.  

Yet for all the statistics, no federal, state or local agency can claim it has a handle on the number of "criminal aliens" — the government's term for foreigners who commit crimes in the U.S. — who are currently in the country, how many crimes they are responsible for and what share the system catches.

Local options
In Harris, the state’s most populous county, 135,000 inmates each year come through the jailhouse doors. It and the city of Carrollton are the only two Texas jurisdictions that contract with the federal government to have immigration agents stationed at its jail helping pinpoint criminal immigrants. Nine federal officers and nine Harris County deputies schooled in federal procedures comb booking documents and interview inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.
A guard inside the Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015.
A guard inside the Webb County Jail in Laredo, TX, on Nov. 5, 2015.
By contrast, in Brewster County, the state's geographically largest — as in, bigger than some states — things work a bit differently. About 9,200 people live in the West Texas county, and its jail in Alpine has no official policy for handling undocumented immigrants.
How does it strive to alert federal authorities when a criminal immigrant is arrested? “We’ve got a sign on the wall,” jail administrator Lora Nussbaum told the Tribune, referring to a torn ICE flier taped on a jail wall that lists the agency's phone number.
County jails may be the front line of efforts to keep undocumented immigrants who commit serious crimes from slipping through the cracks, but the state of Texas has no uniform method of going about that task, or measuring the scope of the problem.
To gain a better picture of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and how counties handle them, the Tribune asked for booking data and immigration procedure policies from 26 Texas counties, including the state’s 10 most populous.
Almost none would provide it. Some, like Montgomery and Presidio counties, insisted that providing booking information, including an inmate’s date of birth, violated the inmate’s right to privacy. Harris County claimed that releasing a list of noncitizens was essentially creating new information — something the Texas Public Information Act does not require a governmental body to do.
Some counties argued that that federal law specifically prohibits releasing information about immigrants.
Attorney General Ken Paxton's office upheld most of the counties’ arguments, saying state open records laws don't compel release of the information.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office went a step further and insisted that booking records are court records and, as such, are not subject to the state’s open records law. The attorney general’s office agreed, blocking their release.
Five counties responded to the Tribune’s request for booking data: Brewster, Nueces, Fort Bend, Travis and Tarrant. Of those, only Travis responded with enough detailed information to analyze.
“We don’t want to be in a position where somebody loses their life because of something we didn’t do that was legal for us to do.”— Maj. Wes Priddy, chief administrator for Travis County jails
The numbers show that Travis County booked about 20,000 inmates with federal immigration detainers between 2008 and 2015, facing charges that were roughly evenly divided between felonies and misdemeanors. More than 7,000 of those inmates faced drunk driving charges, the most common charge by far. That was followed by family violence-related assault charges, which about 1,900 inmates faced. An estimated 2,400 of the total inmates were repeat offenders.

Maj. Wes Priddy, chief administrator for Travis County jails, said local law enforcement’s primary concern was public safety, not investigating immigration status. But he said that part of keeping dangerous people off the streets involved close cooperation with federal authorities.

“We don’t want to be in a position where somebody loses their life because of something we didn’t do that was legal for us to do,” Priddy said.

After arresting someone, the Department of Public Safety, county sheriffs, and even the Texas Department of Criminal Justice — the nation’s largest prison system — all have to rely on the federal government to inform them who is in the United States illegally.

“What our obligation is, is to provide ICE with the population information,” said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson. “They go through it. They determine who they’re going to put a hold on and who they’re not, and our people don’t really have a way to further investigate are they truly here legally or not.”

That typically happens during the booking process, when a suspect’s fingerprints are sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a procedure used for every new inmate. If the fingerprints match a profile in the federal database of non-U.S. citizens with previous criminal histories, ICE can decide to ask for a detainer. Texas jail officers do ask arrestees to name their country of birth as a part of the booking process, but an arrested immigrant’s answer is written down without being verified.

The same holds true for inmates in Texas prison. As of Nov. 30, 2015, three-fourths of the 9,135 inmates in the Texas prison system with ICE detainers were in the United States illegally. The remainder include those serving time for crimes who had legal immigration status.

“Ultimately, ICE will make the determination whether that person is in country illegally,” said Texas prisons spokesman Jason Clark. In 2010, the agency began asking for ICE help verifying those among the system’s 148,000 inmates who were illegally in the country.

But the federal tracking system of verifying what law enforcement refers to as “criminal aliens” is less than precise. It relies on someone's fingerprints being in the system because they have been arrested before. If an undocumented immigrant has never encountered law enforcement, the federal tracking system might not notice their first arrest.

Jumbled numbers

There is no definitive data showing that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than the citizen population, and a few indications that in Texas they do not.

The Pew Research Center estimates undocumented immigrants comprise about seven percent of the Texas population. On average, 3,724 undocumented immigrants were detained in Texas jails each month in 2015, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of immigration detainer reports from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Of the 148,000 inmates held in 100 Texas prison units, about 9,135 inmates have federal detainers asking that they be handed to federal officials when their sentences are complete. Not all were in the country illegally when arrested. Those that were illegal account for about 4.6 percent of the prison population.

Nationwide, almost 60 percent of immigrants who are deported had some previous criminal charges, according to 2015 numbers from ICE.
A group of undocumented Mexican nationals who were convicted of crimes in the U.S. enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov 4, 2015.
A group of undocumented Mexican nationals who were convicted of crimes in the U.S. enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov 4, 2015.
The Pew Center, relying on 2012 U.S. Census numbers, estimated that Texas has 1.7 million undocumented immigrants, ranking second in the nation. What portion of that 1.7 million is responsible for crimes is a tougher calculus.

Estimates from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which gets the information from jails, are considered inaccurate because there’s no uniform requirement to verify citizenship during the jail booking process.

In 2014, then-Gov. Rick Perry was criticized for relying on DPS’ first attempts to calculate the impact of crimes committed by immigrants. That year, Perry repeated the department's claim that “criminal aliens” had committed more than 642,000 crimes in Texas since 2008. It was later revealed that “criminal aliens” referred to all foreign-born immigrants in Texas, not just those in the state illegally, and the "crimes" counted included charges, not convictions, some dating back decades.
One year later, DPS tried to clarify the numbers, but even director Steve McCraw, appearing before the Texas House Committee on State Affairs in December, tried to lower expectations about the “criminal alien statistic” his agency featured on its website.

“It’s an undercount,” McCraw testified on Dec 10. “We acknowledge it woefully undercounts the amount, but it does accurately count the ones who are in fact here and the ones who have committed crimes.”

The DPS statistics continue to confuse both the public and lawmakers.

ICE officials consider a foreign national — here legally or otherwise — a "criminal alien" if they've been convicted of a crime. DPS broadens the definition to include foreign nationals who have only been arrested.

“Criminal alien is a foreign national with a criminal record," explained DPS Assistant Director Skylor Hearn, who oversees the agency’s law enforcement support division, which includes the state's crime records. “There was probable cause to arrest them for something, and it would apply to the rest of us as well, generally speaking. If you’ve been arrested, you have a criminal record; you are not a criminal, but you have a criminal record.”

By DPS's count, 177,060 foreign-born individuals were charged with crimes from 2011 through Jan. 31. That's a much larger number than those foreign nationals actually convicted during the same time frame in Texas: 84,182 non-U.S. citizens. Of those, 58,128 were determined to be in the United States unlawfully.

State Rep. Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso, says the DPS numbers on "criminal aliens" are artificially pumped up by counting the number of criminal charges filed against undocumented immigrants instead of actual convictions. Charges are routinely dismissed for lack of evidence or other reasons, he noted.

But by hyping the number of charges, the agency bolsters the argument for more border security money. Last year, the Texas Legislature approved an additional $800 million for border security.
"When crime rates were higher in this state, did the legislature move this much money?" Blanco asked.

Adding to the mathematical murkiness, immigration status can be fluid. A foreign-born Texas jail inmate could be legally in the country at the time of one arrest but have an expired visa by the next arrest and be undocumented the second time around, further bedeviling Texas’ attempts at measuring unauthorized immigrants’ impact on the state’s criminal justice system.

Attempts by DPS to connect criminal aliens to their crimes also fall short. 

The agency's data, obtained by the Tribune, shows that 177,060 non-U.S. citizens arrested from 2011 through Jan. 31 were charged with 252,083 offenses during that time. This is less than what DPS reports on its own website because the agency counts crimes committed over a U.S. citizen's lifetime, outside the five-year span.

DPS officials insist that its criminal alien counts, based on federal immigration data, are not an attempt to construe that foreign-born criminals are a greater threat than U.S. citizens.

“The department has not made that statement and does not have information to support that statement,” DPS spokeswoman Summer Blackwell said in a statement. “The Department of Public Safety believes any individual who has committed a violent crime or is party to criminal activities — no matter their citizenship status or country of origin — is considered a potential threat to public safety and the security of Texas.”

ICE and Texas Jails

The arrest of an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. kicks off a complicated interplay between local and federal authorities.
Just say no
Even when federal immigration authorities decide they want to take immigrants from the state criminal justice system into custody, there can be obstacles.

Federal records obtained by the Tribune show that in more than 18,000 cases over the past two years, local jails across the country failed to hand over deportable immigrants to federal authorities. Jurisdictions in many states, including Pennsylvania, California and Colorado, have become reluctant to honor the detainers after facing a series of lawsuits from inmates challenging the constitutional legitimacy of the extended detention.

Further information about the outcomes in cases where local officials declined to detain someone — whether those inmates, many with previous criminal histories, had been released to the public — proved difficult to come by, even in Texas, where there were only 146 such cases.

Of the 11 state jails contacted by the Tribune, only one could provide definitive answers about what had happened with declined detainers in its jurisdiction.

In Collin County north of Dallas, where agency records show two declined detainers, one for an inmate with a criminal history, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said it “would literally be too manpower-intensive and potentially impossible to locate the reasons they were released.”

The Texas county with the most declined detainers — Travis, which had 72 instances, including 33 on inmates with a prior criminal history — referred all questions about the records to the federal government.

“I do not know how ICE came up with those numbers and we do not keep stats for ICE,” Travis County Sheriff’s office spokesman Roger Wade said in an email. “You will have to ask ICE how they arrived at those numbers and what their definition is of declining detainers.”

The federal agency itself could not verify further details about the cases. An ICE official, who lacked authorization to comment and thus spoke on condition of anonymity, said a small number of the cases could be a result of administrative errors at the federal or local level.
But beyond that, the official said it would be “resource-prohibitive” to determine what exactly happened in the individual circumstances.
Step away from the direct cost to jails to house undocumented immigrants — and the troubling lack of standardized record keeping — and there’s the added pressure of keeping up with the federal government’s ever-shifting parameters of who in local jails is eligible for deportation.
On Nov. 20, 2014, ICE’s parent, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, discontinued a policy known as Secure Communities in favor of a new plan called the Priority Enforcement Program. Secure Communities — which targeted anyone in the United States illegally — had faced fierce pushback from local officials across the country who feared legal liability under the program.
With the new program, the federal agency decided to focus its deportation efforts on undocumented immigrants who committed the most serious crimes.
In congressional testimony and internal documents detailing the new policy’s implementation, ICE officials have stressed the importance of local cooperation. A 2015 memo from the federal immigration agency describes “expansive efforts to encourage state and local law enforcement partners” to collaborate with the agency.
The program was developed to “bring back on board those state and local jurisdictions that had concerns with, or legal obstacles to, assisting us,” said ICE Director Sarah Saldaña in July testimony before a congressional committee.
But the federal agency has opposed requiring local authorities to honor immigration detainers. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told members of the House Judiciary Committee in July that it would a “huge setback” to mandate compliance with immigration policy.
“I do not believe that mandating through federal legislation the conduct of sheriffs and police chiefs is the way to go,” he said. “I think it will be hugely controversial. I think it will have problems with the Constitution. I want to see us work cooperatively with state and local law enforcement, and I believe they are poised to do that.”
The voluntary guidelines from federal authorities can leave local officials in a politically precarious position — often, no matter what decision they make will land them in hot water.
Jurisdictions in Democratically controlled urban areas face intense pressure from activists critical of federal immigration policy to cease any cooperation with ICE.
“Our ideal situation would be for there to be no ICE collaboration whatsoever,” said Carolina Canizales, the San Antonio-based deportation defense director of United We Dream, a national immigrant rights organization, which regularly stages protests at jails in the state, in an October interview. “I think they shouldn’t condemn thousands of undocumented immigrants for one crime that has been committed.”
At the same time, state lawmakers are on the watch for any sign that county sheriffs are failing to hold unauthorized immigrants singled out by ICE for deportation until federal ICE officers can pick them up and return them to their home country.
Take the case of Dallas County Sheriff Valdez, who throughout her time in office has most often found herself in the crosshairs of immigrant rights activists. She currently faces a lawsuit alleging her jail has held immigrants for unconstitutionally long periods of time even after they received bond.
But recently, she has become better known for the harsh public denunciation she received from Gov. Greg Abbott, who wrote her a letter saying that what he viewed as lacking enforcement of federal immigration policy posed a “serious danger to Texans.”
Abbott’s letter came after Valdez told reporters in October she would review federal detainers placed on inmates in her jail on a case-by-case basis and would not hold immigrants arrested for minor crimes for up to 48 hours for ICE officers.
Her comments seemed to mirror ICE’s changed focus on the most serious immigrant criminals — but before she had a chance to clarify, Abbott blasted her stance and threatened to cut off grants to any sheriff’s office choosing to not abide by federal immigration detainers.
Valdez said late last year that her statement was taken out of context.
“What I said was, when there’s a disagreement (over whether a jail inmate was undocumented or not) we look at it case-by-case,” Valdez told the Tribune in December. “But in this whole time we haven’t had a disagreement ... The feds and I are great. ICE and I are fine.”
Becca Aaronson contributed data analysis and reporting to this story.  
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the percentage of the Texas prison population that is undocumented. The correct number is 4.6 percent. 


The Employment Situation of Immigrants and Natives in the Fourth Quarter of 2015
14.3 million more working-age native-born Americans not working today than in 2000

WASHINGTON, DC (February 19, 2016) — A new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of government data shows no improvement over the last year in the number of native-born Americans not in the labor force (neither working nor looking for work). The data also shows that there were 1.3 million fewer working-age (16 to 65) natives holding a job in the fourth quarter of 2015 than in the same quarter of 2007, while over the same time period the number of immigrants working went up by 1.8 million.

Dr. Steven Camarota, the Center's director of research and author of the analysis, said, "The unemployment rate gives a false picture of what's going on in the labor market. There has been enormous growth in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people, especially native-born Americans, not working. In the fourth quarter of 2015, 55 million native-born Americans of working age were not employed. Only about 6 million of them are officially classified as "unemployed." The key question for our political leaders and candidates is, does it make sense to admit a million new permanent immigrants each year, along with several hundred thousand guestworkers, given the enormous pool of working-age Americans not holding jobs?"

View the entire analysis at:

The employment situation in the 4th quarter of 2015:
  • The unemployment rate for natives in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 4.9 percent (6.4 million). Despite recent improvements, this is higher than the 4.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2007 and the 3.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2000.
  • In addition to the unemployed, 28.2 percent (48.8 million) of working-age (16 to 65) natives were not in the labor force, which means they were neither working nor looking for work. This is much higher than the 25.3 percent rate (42.5 million) in the same quarter of 2007 and the 23.2 percent rate (36.3 million) in 2000.
  • Combining those not in the labor force and those unemployed shows 55.2 million working-age, native-born Americans without jobs in the fourth quarter of 2015, 14.3 million higher (with rounding) than the 40.8 million in same quarter of 2000.
  • There were also 10.7 million working-age immigrants unemployed or not in the labor force in the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • In addition to those unemployed and not in the labor force, there were 5.9 million immigrants and natives working part-time, but looking for full-time work.
  • In total, there were 71.8 million natives and immigrants unemployed, not in the labor force (16 to 65), or forced to work part-time in the fourth quarter of 2015.


BLS: Total Unemployed, Marginally Attached & Part-Time, Unemployment Rate is 9.9%

By Michael W. Chapman | February 17, 2016 | 11:26 AM EST

(AP photo.) 
( -- Although the national unemployment rate in January was 4.9%, a broader measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), called U-6, which includes total unemployed, persons marginally attached to the labor force, and those working part-time for economic reasons, shows that the unemployment rate was 9.9% in January 2016.
That 9.9% unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, was the same in December and November 2015, and up slightly from October, when it was 9.8%.
In January 2015, a year ago, the U-6 unemployment rate was 11.3%.
Prior to October 2015, the last time the U-6 unemployment rate was in the 9.8-9.9% range was in May and June 2008, seven months before Barack Obama was inaugurated president.

Source: Gallup and Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
When Obama entered office in January 2009, the U-6 unemployment rate was 14.2%.  It's peak was in late 2009, early 2010, when it hit 17.1% unemployment for several months.

The Gallup polling company calls the U-6 number the "Real Unemployment" rate in America.  As it states, "Widely reported unemployment metrics in the U.S. do not accurately represent the reality of joblessness in America."
"For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not count a person who desires work as unemployed if he or she is not working and has stopped looking for work over the past four weeks," says Gallup.  "Similarly, the BLS does not count someone as unemployed if he or she is, for instance, an out-of-work engineer, construction worker or retail manager who performs a minimum of one hour of work a week and receives at least $20 in compensation."

The Unaccompanied Children Crisis: Does the Administration Have a Plan to Stop the Border Surge and Adequately Monitor the Children?

10:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Dirksen Senate Office Building 226
Washington, DC, 20003

Would President Rubio Push Amnesty?

By Mark Krikorian

The Corner at National Review Online, 

February 8, 2016

Kevin writes that it’s a mystery to him “that conservatives are so miserable at the moment, when they are presented with such a desirable choice” between Cruz and Rubio. Let me explain.

There’s no doubt that both “are self-conscious conservatives in the sense that they are products of the conservative movement,” as Kevin says, “in a way that no president has been since Ronald Reagan.” I’ll even concede that Rubio got into bed with Schumer because he was auditioning for the job of Republican We Can Do Business With, a deal-maker who can get things done, and a deal on immigration seemed like a good place to start.

But there are two factors that might help resolve Kevin’s mystery. First, as I argue on the homepage today, immigration is not just another issue. It impacts every aspect of policy, and is irreversible. Angela Merkel’s conservative bona fides are irrelevant next to the damage she has done to her country. If Rubio were to change his tune on immigration after winning the election (as he’s done after winning every previous election), nothing else he did would matter.

And the chances of that happening are greater than Kevin thinks. He writes that, “our hypothetical President Rubio is never going to sign that amnesty bill because Congress isn’t ever going to send it to him.” He could be right – If Rubio wins, I certainly hope that’s the way it would play out. But the House has different leadership than in 2013. While John Boehner was basically in favor of a Gang of Eight-style policy of amnesty for illegals and massive expansion of legal immigration, he wasn’t an ideologically committed supporter of unlimited immigration like Paul Ryan. Remember, in 2013-2014, Ryan worked with Luis Gutierrez to pass a version of the Senate bill, just as Rubio had worked with Schumer. With Ryan as Speaker and Rubio in the White House, the odds that they’d try again are greater than we should be comfortable with, especially when the anti-borders interests would take a Rubio victory as proof that you can push amnesty and increased immigration and live to tell about it.

This notion that Marco Rubio doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true.

Rubio: Sneakier Than Your Average Bear

By Mark Krikorian
The Corner at National Review Online, February 6, 2016

Eagle Forum has published a memo detailing Marco Rubio’s lies to conservatives in his effort to get Chuck Schumer’s immigration bill passed. “Lies” is a strong word, but it’s the only word that fits. This wasn’t the natural trimming of politicians, like Rubio’s justification of sugar subsidies in the service of his financial patrons the Fanjul brothers. From Cicero to Reagan, all successful politicians engage in misdirection or exploit ambiguity (including all the other current Republican hopefuls). In this case, though, Rubio led a Clintonian campaign of calculated falsehoods designed to sell Schumer’s Gang of Eight bill to conservatives.

Those falsehoods are too numerous to list in a blog post – read the whole paper. But some examples regarding just one part of the bill: As Rubio himself was forced to admit eventually, Schumer’s bill granted work permits and Social Security numbers to illegals up front, and promised the enforcement targets would be met in future years – just like the failed 1986 amnesty. And yet, here’s what he told conservative media:

To Limbaugh: “if there is not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else will happen unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place, I won’t support it.”

To Hannity: “I don’t think any of that [amnesty] begins until we certify that the border security progress has been real. That a workplace enforcement mechanism is in place. That we are tracking visitors to our country, especially when they exit.”

Bill O’Reilly said: “Senator Rubio told me on the phone today that it would be at least 13 years, 13, before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status and even longer to achieve citizenship.”

Rubio also lied about the size of the bill’s unprecedented increase in legal immigration, he lied about the scope of waivers, he lied about welfare eligibility, he lied to law enforcement about amnesty for gang members.

Disagreement over policy is one thing; Jeb’s immigration views, for instance, are not shared by most of the people whose votes he’s seeking, but he’s honorably forthright about what he believes. Rubio, on the other hand, tried to trick his own partisans. I had actually forgotten the scope of his dishonesty in pushing Schumer’s bill; Eagle Forum has done a service by collecting it all in one place. And Rubio has never apologized for it. Maybe someone will bring it up at tonight’s debate.

Immigration Is a Deal-Breaker — No to Rubio 2016

By Mark Krikorian

National Review Online, February 8, 2016

Immigration isn’t just another issue. Despite his “does not compute” glitch Saturday night (which will likely dog him for the rest of his career, like Rick Perry’s “oops” and Dan Quayle’s “you’re no Jack Kennedy” moment), Marco Rubio is still a live contender for the nomination. So it remains important to explain why I think his immigration record disqualifies him from being the 2016 nominee.

Many conservatives who admire Rubio’s genuine political talent agree that his shilling for Chuck Schumer’s Gang of Eight bill was bad. But they offer two reasons that this should not be an impediment to his being the Republican presidential nominee. First, they say, Rubio has learned his lesson and, second, he’s quite solid on many other issues. Both parts of this defense warrant examination: Has Rubio truly changed his spots on immigration? And is immigration simply one issue among many, so that Rubio’s deviation there is outweighed by his fidelity on others?

As to the first question: There’s every reason to suspect Rubio is merely an election-year immigration hawk. A devastating 14-page indictment of Rubio’s immigration record, prepared by Eagle Forum (html and pdf), lays out his duplicity in painful detail. Early in his career, anti-borders groups were delighted with Rubio’s conduct in the Florida legislature; the head of one of them, NALEO, said, “He, as speaker, kept many of those [immigration-control bills] from coming up to a vote. We were very proud of his work as speaker of the House.”

Then, when Rubio ran for the Senate, he turned into a hawk. As CNN’s greatest-hits clip at last month’s debate showed, Rubio said the following, among other things, during his 2010 campaign: “Earned path to citizenship is basically code for amnesty, it’s what they call it. . . . It is unfair to people who have legally entered this country to create an alternative pathway for individuals who entered illegally and knowingly did so.” This hawkishness on immigration was an important reason for his upset victory over Charlie Crist.

“Once he got elected, he betrayed us all,” according to Phyllis Schlafly, Rubio’s first major outside endorser in the Senate primary. Rubio chose to become the chief salesman and public face of Chuck Schumer’s Gang of Eight bill and, as the Eagle Forum indictment shows, his mendacity went well beyond embracing the amnesty he’d so recently denounced: It included a calculated effort to dupe conservatives about what was really in the bill. It was so bad that the head of the ICE agents’ association said that “he directly misled law-enforcement officers” at a meeting right before the bill was introduced in the Senate.

Then, when the voters rebelled at Senate passage of his monstrous bill and the House refused to pass it, Rubio denounced his own bill, saying the public doesn’t trust Washington to follow through on its enforcement promises. (Of course, this was apparent to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, not just in 2013 but even in 2007, when Bush’s amnesty push failed.)

To sum up: Rubio was anti-enforcement in the Florida legislature, then an enforcement hawk at election time in 2010, then Schumer’s cabana boy in 2013, then a hawk again at election time. Anyone can flip once — people really do change their minds, or even see political writing on the wall and embrace a new position. But flipping and flopping in time with the election cycle should be cause for skepticism, to say the least.

And Rubio hasn’t even really renounced Schumer’s bill. He still supports all the parts of it, but thinks they should be passed separately rather than in a comprehensive package. And he is still an enthusiastic supporter of the most important piece of the Schumer-Rubio legislation — its doubling of legal immigration, from 1 million a year to 2 million, which, combined with the amnesty, would have resulted in the issuance of 30 million green cards in the first decade after passage.

Not only has Rubio not recanted his support for doubling immigration, he’s actually sponsored a bill in this Congress to triple H-1B admissions of foreign workers (the I-Squared Act — which Michelle Malkin has cheekily labeled Rubio’s second-worst immigration bill). What’s more, personnel is policy, and Rubio’s inner circle — pollster Whit Ayres, for instance, and Cesar Conda, his chief of staff during the Schumer romance and likely White House chief of staff — are confirmed opponents of immigration limits. The idea that the open-borders corporate culture of the Rubio operation would be trumped by some enforcement promises made on the campaign trail is a fantasy.

But even supposing all this is true, Rubio is sound on many other issues — his answer on the abortion issue Saturday night, for instance, was very strong and, while he’s a little too interventionist for my taste, he’s firmly in the GOP mainstream and probably more knowledgeable on foreign policy than his rivals. Since no candidate is perfect, isn’t focusing so intently on immigration an unrealistic demand for purity? After all, Rubio’s opportunistic embrace of sugar subsidies, at the behest of a major donor, is the kind of soiled compromise we often accept.

But immigration isn’t just another issue, like farm subsidies or taxes or even battling radical Islam. Immigration is a meta issue, one that affects almost every arena of national life — from politics to education to jobs to security to health care to national cohesion. If we set taxes too high, we can lower them later. If we let the Navy get too small, we build more ships. But if we get immigration wrong, we can’t undo it: People are not widgets, and we can’t ask for a do-over after adding 30 million green cards in a decade.

What’s more, the deep gulf in views over immigration between elites and the public, between globalists and patriots, has given immigration a symbolic importance as a marker of legitimacy. As Ramesh Ponnuru has written, “A hard line on immigration, however it is defined, is now part of the conservative creed.”

In effect, Rubio is an Angela Merkel Republican — genuinely conservative on most every issue, except the one that counts above all others.

For this reason alone, he should be denied the nomination. If he were to succeed in getting it, the donor class and its politicians would take away the lesson that they can betray the voters all they want on this potentially nation-breaking issue, and simply talk their way out of it. Voltaire wrote, in Candide, that “it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others.” Rubio’s betrayal doesn’t warrant the gallows, but he must be denied this prize, “in order to encourage the others.”

This doesn’t mean he’s finished in politics. He’s a young man with immense political gifts and has plenty of time before 2020 or 2024 to atone in Congress for his transgressions and earn back the people’s trust. If he were to run for governor of Florida, for instance, he could amass a record of fidelity to immigration law by, say, passing mandatory E-Verify for his state. Even before then, during the remainder of his Senate term, he could work with Jeff Sessions to introduce legislation to end chain migration and abolish the Visa Lottery — or, at the very least, withdraw his sponsorship of the anti–American-worker I-Squared H-1B bill.

If Marco Rubio can convincingly turn away from his Merkelian past, he can have a bright future, perhaps even become the 46th or 47th president of the United States. But to nominate him in 2016 would be a profound mistake.

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Where Does United States v. Texas Stand after Scalia's Death?
By Jon Feere
CIS Immigration Blog, February 14, 2016
. . .
If United States v. Texas results a 4-4 split decision, it means that the lower court holding stands and President Obama's unilateral amnesty remains enjoined. Critical to this analysis, any opinion issued by the Supreme Court would not be precedent-setting. (It would also likely be quite short. For example, in a 4-4 case from 2010, the Court simply wrote: "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.")

What is unique in this situation is that the lower court's holding is in the injunction phase – a full trial on the merits of DAPA and the states' interests has not been held. This means that if the Supreme Court were to split evenly, a hearing on the merits of the case is still likely to be held at some point in the future by the lower court. At some point after that, it is possible that the case would get appealed back up to the Supreme Court. This would presumably happen after a new justice has been appointed and after a new president has been elected.

What's interesting about this is that if the Obama administration hadn't pressured the Court to take up the case, it could have slipped to the next term and perhaps the immigration case would not be on everyone's radar to the extent that it is now, making it easier for the president to persuade Congress to allow him to appoint a new justice later this year. It would be much more preferable from the administration's perspective to appoint a new justice before the immigration case is decided.
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Criminal Alien Assistance Funds: Wanting Your Cake and Eating It Too
By Dan Cadman
CIS Immigration Blog, February 12, 2016
. . .
But one can understand congressional interest in creating favor with politically savvy and powerful law enforcement officials throughout the country, such as county sheriffs and major city police chiefs, by establishing an atmosphere of good will and cooperation between law enforcement agencies nationwide and federal immigration agents charged with finding and removing alien criminals.

The problem is that recalcitrant state legislatures and city and county councils have erected barriers to such cooperation. Likewise, many sheriffs and police chiefs have adopted rules that render the jobs of federal agents much more difficult by refusing to honor immigration detainers and declining to notify agents of arrests or the release dates of aliens. This "sanctuary city" movement (which includes counties and states along with cities), having gone unchecked by the administration, has experienced mushroom-like growth — especially since the administration itself has unilaterally created policy barriers by narrowly defining when agents may even file such detainers. Not to mention the litigiousness of open-borders groups that have sued state and local law enforcement organizations for honoring the detainers (suits which, as often as not, the federal government has run from, leaving their enforcement "partners" to fend for themselves).

Still, there is something unconscionable about holding out one hand for federal money and using the other to stiff-arm federal immigration agents trying to do their job. Such is the case with California, which even as it receives tens of millions of dollars in SCAAP money, has enacted into law the "Trust Act", a statute prohibiting both state and local California agencies from fully cooperating with immigration agents or honoring detainers. This has on more than one occasion led to unnecessary deaths (see here, here, and here). Yet, amusingly, a California spokesman is quoted as lamenting the potential loss of money because of the serious impact it will have on his state, and talking about the number of alien inmates with detainers filed against them. One wonders how many would, in the end, actually be honored, and how many were rejected out of hand in the first place.
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"We Might as Well Abolish Our Immigration Laws"
By Dan Cadman
CIS Immigration Blog, February 8, 2016
. . .
I mentioned two ways in which this ultimate dismantling might come about. One involved stacking the deck of key appointments, such as enlarging the bench of immigration judges with individuals who share the president's open borders outlook. That has been happening in earnest, and as one can see from a cursory glance at the official website of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, it includes not just rank-and-file judges, but also a slew of six new assistant chief immigration judges who will ride herd over the others. Can anyone doubt their philosophical proclivities?

The other way involves continuing to mandate executive actions that crush even the semblance of immigration law enforcement. This most recent directive to the Border Patrol certainly meets that test. And it is not the only one. The administration has also directed that aerial surveillance of our borders be cut in half. This is incredible at a time when ISIS terrorists have threatened to infiltrate the United States by any means necessary. One suspects that they care little about that fight, though, since they have shown no will for it to date, and since it will become the inheritance of the next president. It takes little imagination to gauge that the reasons for the cut are twofold: First, to permit the flooding of our borders with citizens from our southern neighbors in a way that they believe, or at least hope, will force the issue of a future broad-based amnesty. Second, and more prosaically, to minimize the possibility that there will be a leak of aerial surveillance videos that reveal exactly how damaging the new rules of engagement for Patrol Agents are by showing footage of large numbers of aliens crossing the border with impunity and indifference to the possibility of apprehension.
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DHS OIG Issues a "No Recommendation" Audit Report — Or Does it?
By Dan Cadman
CIS Immigration Blog, February 8, 2016
. . .
As one can easily see, the left column, highlighted in blue, says, "What We Recommend: We made one recommendation to CBP to develop and implement a process to determine program costs for the SOG."

The text immediately to the right of the blue says, "We made no recommendation regarding the lack of formal performance measures in the SOG program [but that] CBP concurred with our recommendation. The recommendation is resolved and open."

Guess they couldn't decide whether saying "stay the course" was really a recommendation, but were reluctant to issue a report with no recommendations at all. So, hey, why not the best of both worlds?
. . .

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A Look at the New Center for Migration Studies Illegal Population Estimates
By Steven A. Camarota
CIS Immigration Blog, February 8, 2016
. . .
One of the biggest problems with the CMS report is the way the findings are presented. The headline and the accompanying article emphasize a "continued" decline in the illegal population. But this conclusion is not supported by data they present. The illegal estimates from CMS are based on the public-use file of the American Community Survey, and like any survey it has a margin of error. Although CMS does not provide it, for a population of 10.9 million illegal immigrants drawn from the public-use file of the ACS, the margin of error must be a little over 100,000. We can estimate the margin of error for the illegal population by using the total foreign-born Mexican population in the 2014 ACS as a proxy population. In 2014 the ACS showed 11.7 million Mexican immigrants, with a margin of error of ±110,000. If we simply use the same procedure for calculating the margin of error for an illegal population of 10.9 million, the margin of error would be ±106,000 for 2014. This assumes a 90 percent confidence level. If we assume a 95 percent confidence level the margin of error is +/- 127,000. The illegal population is very similar in characteristics to the overall Mexican immigrant population so the confidence interval would have to be nearly identical.
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The House Presents a Sprightly Hearing on EB-5
By David North
CIS Immigration Blog, February 12, 2016

The full House Judiciary Committee produced a lively and often stimulating hearing on the immigrant investor (EB-5) program yesterday.
. . .
TApparently the government has had, for 25 years, the power to raise the minimum investment, but never used it, even as inflation climbed.

Colucci said that the administration was thinking about it.

Several people said that the half-million/one-million differential was supposed to channel funds into depressed rural and urban areas, but that EB-5 promoters had through gerrymandering managed to distort the program into its current shape. Then in one of those moments we sometimes see in these hearings, witness Calderon pointed out something that had been forgotten for decades.

She said that "in footnote six of my paper there is a reference to a third level of investment in the 1990 act, and it calls for a minimum stake of $3 million" for an investment in a really prosperous area. She was arguing for a sliding scale of investment to help depressed areas.

At about this point, witness Gordon said, in response to a question about how to break the strangle-hold of affluent urban areas, that a new and vigorous use of differential rewards (with higher ones for investments in poor areas) could change the current patterns, but only if the government made that a priority.

Calderon had another interesting observation. There are something like 63,000 visas backlogged in the program because there are more applications on hand than can be filled within the annual ceiling of 10,000. The backlog has been worsened due to the fact that there usually are about 2.5 visas per investment, and also by the heavy use (87 percent) of the program by Chinese nationals. The Chinese usage has bumped into another provision of the law setting overall migration ceilings on aliens from individual nations.

Calderon's suggestion was: Why not give priority to those in line who were planning to invest more than the usual half-million dollars. She called it a visa reserve.
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Strategic Objective Is Questionable, but Tactics Are Attractive
By David North
CIS Immigration Blog, February 11, 2016
. . .
Yesterday's Immigration Daily featured a brief article by "Dino Palangic et. al." to which is attached an Excel spreadsheet that enables immigration attorneys use eye-catching graphics to support their petitions for either nonimmigrant treaty investors (E-2) or immigrant investors (EB-5).

Mr. Palangic runs a paralegal services firm that assists immigration lawyers as they seek to aid their alien clients – which shows, among other things, the complexity and the size of the migrant-advocacy industry.
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What Money Can and Can't Buy in Our Immigration System
By David North
CIS Immigration Blog, February 10, 2016
. . .
E visas are nonimmigrant ones and do not, in and of themselves, lead to a green card.

As an aside, my caller said that one of the reasons why there are so many small Korean retail establishments is that a migrant with $100,000 to $200,000 can buy a retail establishment and thus qualify for an E-2 visa. This is another way to buy your way into the country, but not permanently.

The Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) programs are worrisome because they are handled totally by the State Department, which has no on-the-ground oversight and enforcement mechanism. Further, there are no statutory minimums for the size of the investments.
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Most of the Gains from Immigration Go to Immigrants Themselves – Not to Natives
By Jason Richwine
CIS Immigration Blog, February 10, 2016

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a reasonably balanced look at the economic effects of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants. The state has enjoyed a 40 percent decline in its illegal population since it mandated E-Verify and empowered local police to check immigration status during traffic stops. (Because Arizona's decline is larger than in surrounding states, we may plausibly attribute it to the new policies.) The Journal points out that fewer illegal immigrants has meant less overall economic output for Arizona, but also higher wages in some sectors and less of a financial strain on schools and hospitals.

Sorting through these different effects can be tricky, and it tripped up even Kevin Drum, a sharp-minded liberal blogger for Mother Jones. Reacting to the Journal piece, Drum noted that Arizona's annual GDP is $6 billion lower because of the new policies, whereas schools and hospitals are saving only $410 million. "Arizona is paying a high price for cracking down on illegal immigration," Drum concluded.

But Drum seems to assume that the benefits of a higher GDP accrue to Arizonans. As CIS's Steven Camarota pointed out in congressional testimony, gains in GDP and gains to the native-born are very different things. Most GDP gains from immigration are captured by the immigrants themselves.
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The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Immigration Blog, February 7, 2016
. . .
South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy, the immigration subcommittee chairman, charged the Obama administration with failure to manage the crisis. He pointed to reports that migrants had told Border Patrol agents they came north because they had heard that if they made it across the border they would be allowed to stay in the country.

"In other words, no adequate steps have been taken to halt the surge or discourage aliens from attempting to enter the United States," Gowdy said. "We must at some point send a clear message to potential unlawful immigrants" that they will not be allowed to stay in the United States.

In response to Gowdy's call for tough-minded resolve, Michigan Democrat John Conyers called for big-hearted compassion. Said Conyers: "People need to live free from an endless cycle of violence and persecution. ... We must address the root causes of the hemisphere crisis. ... We have a moral as well as a legal obligation to provide asylum seekers the opportunity to apply for humanitarian protection."

Thirty years ago Democrats and Republicans managed to bridge the much narrower ideological divide of that era. Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, calling it a solution to illegal immigration. IRCA was built on a hard-won compromise that promised to combine protection in the form of amnesty with prevention in the form of worksite enforcement.
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Attention Syrian Refugees: U.S. Is Looking into Your Facebook Accounts
By Nayla Rush
CIS Immigration Blog, February 12, 2016
. . .
Based on the following excerpts from the witness statements, here's the deal. The U.S. government is going to hire more people, spend more money, deploy more resources to vet more and more immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees (unaccompanied minors from Central America have just been added to the list of people we "need" to bring in). And this, despite the fact that the system is already backlogged, staff is overwhelmed, and the budget is tight. As usual, it is the American citizen and the legal immigrant who will pick up the tab in order to keep up with this administration's overseas humanitarian enthusiasms.
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Democrats Get Immigration Wrong, Again
By Kausha Luna
CIS Immigration Blog, February 12, 2016

Last night, the Democratic debate in Milwaukee became the latest example of the ill-informed immigration narrative propagated in the United States and the lack of interest in enforcement of immigration law.

During the debate Sen. Bernie Sanders went after Hillary Clinton's vague support for deporting some Central Americans, claiming she was willing to deport "people who were fleeing drug violence and cartel violence," making an explicit reference to Honduras. Yet, violence is not the principal reason Honduran are choosing to migrate.
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Survey Shows Main Cause of Honduran Emigration Is Economics, Not Violence
By Kausha Luna
CIS Immigration Blog, February 9, 2016
. . .
Regarding migration, the survey confirmed the economic crisis in Honduras as the main cause for migration. Of the respondents that had a family member who had migrated in the last four years, 77.6 percent did so due to lack of employment and a search for better opportunities. Meanwhile, 16.9 percent migrated due to violence and insecurity. In comparison, the 2014 ERIC-SJ survey showed that 82.5 percent migrated for the former causes and 11 percent migrated for the latter. So while violence and insecurity have grown in importance among causes for migration, they continue to lag far behind economic factors as the primary cause.

Homicide rates in Honduras have been decreasing since 2012.

However, the Obama administration's narrative insists that Central Americans are fleeing violence and as such should be welcomed into the United States with open arms as "refugees." This narrative ignores the economy as the primary push factor for migration, as well as the pull of incentives created by the Obama administration in its refusal to enforce immigration laws.
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The Next Administration's Immigration Crisis
By Michael Cutler, February 8, 2016
. . .
While the politicians downplay the actual number of likely illegal aliens they also never mention that if legalized, millions of illegal aliens would have the right to immediately bring in their spouses and minor children. Think of how many millions of additional aliens would suddenly be admitted into the United States with lawful status- flooding our educational and healthcare systems.

We should be concerned about the growing national debt. However, when was the last time you heard anyone on any of the news programs talk about the fact that each year more than $200 billion is wired out of the U.S. by foreign workers- both legally and illegally working in the United States?
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How to Fix Illegal Immigration in Five Steps Without Building a Wall
But we should build some walls too
By Kevin D. Williamson
National Review Online, February 9, 2016
. . .
No, not the question of immigration — illegal immigration. There’s a temptation to bundle those together, because we have problems with our legal immigration regime, too, but the more tightly we tie them together, the more closely we bind ourselves to “solutions” that aren’t. With illegal immigration, we won’t get 100 percent of the way there with five reforms, but we might get 92 percent of the way there.

One: Enact a law that does one thing: prohibit people who have entered the United States illegally from applying for citizenship — even if their current status is legal. If you ever have entered the United States illegally, you don’t ever become a citizen.

Two: Enact a law that does one thing: prohibit people who have entered the United States illegally from applying for a work permit — even if their current status is legal. If you ever have entered the United Sates illegally, you don’t ever get a work permit.

That’s your firewall against amnesty. Vote against those laws, and you’re voting for amnesty; vote to repeal them down the line, you’re voting for amnesty. This creates good political incentives in Washington and removes bad incentives among those who come here illegally expecting that their status eventually will be made legal.
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U.S. Election Comm. Quietly Lets States Verify U.S. Citizenship
Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, February 12, 2016
. . .
Nevertheless, election officials in some states have confirmed that requiring ID is not enough to prevent fraud. American citizenship, mandatory to vote in U.S. elections at every level, must also be verified. But first states must get approval from the feds, specifically the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The bipartisan commission is tasked with assuring that elections are administered in accordance with federal laws. This includes accrediting voting system test labs, certifying voting equipment and keeping a national mail voter registration form.

For years the EAC has rejected requests from several states to allow the citizenship verification of its registered voters. Judicial Watch has been involved in several of the cases and years ago filed documents with the EAC in support of efforts by Arizona, Kansas and Georgia to require voter registration applicants to provide proof of citizenship. In its filing with the EAC Judicial Watch writes that under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration ACT (NVRA), states are under a federal obligation to assure that non-citizens neither register nor vote. A failure to allow states to require such information would undermine Americans’ confidence that their elections are being conducted fairly and honestly, and would thwart states’ ability to comply with the election integrity obligations imposed by federal law.
. . .
In the last few weeks, however, the EAC has quietly reversed itself by approving the petition of three states—Kansas, Georgia and Alabama—to add a citizenship requirement to their voter registration forms. The letters, signed by the EAC’s new executive director, Brian D. Newby, were issued on January 29, 2016. They can be viewed here. The about-face opens the door for other states seeking to preserve the integrity of elections by requiring evidence of voter eligibility before ballots are cast.
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Unaccompanied Alien Children Charged in Execution-Style Murder, Media Calls Them “Baby-Faced Boys”
Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, February 11, 2016

It appears that the recent execution-style murder of a Massachusetts man was committed by two Central American teens that came to the U.S. as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) under President Obama’s open border free-for-all. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors—mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—have entered the country through the Mexican border since the influx began in the summer of 2014 and the administration has relocated them nationwide.

News reports indicate that the 17-year-olds charged in the gruesome Massachusetts killing entered the U.S. recently as UAC’s and both have ties to MS-13, according to authorities cited by various outlets. They lived in Everett and one of the teens, Cristian Nunez-Flores, moved to Massachusetts from his native El Salvador a year and a half ago which is when the influx of Central American minors began. His parents remain in El Salvador, according to a local news article. The other gangbanger’s name is Jose Vasquez Ardon and he too is a recent arrival from Central America. Prosecutors say the teens, described in a local news article as “baby-faced boys,” shot a 19-year-old in the head. Both are being held without bail for obvious reasons.
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Obama Lied: $750 Million in Taxpayer Funded Obamacare Subsidies Went to Illegals in 2015
Katie Pavlich, February 9, 2016

Remember this moment from 2009 when President Obama was trying to reassure Americans that Obamacare would not benefit illegal immigrants?

"There are also those that claim our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This too, is false. The reforms I am proposing do not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama said. "You lie!" South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson shouted out.

Well, it turns out Congressman Wilson was absolutely correct. According to a new report illegal immigrants received nearly a billion dollars in Obamacare subsidies last year, a far cry from being barred from using the government healthcare program.
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America’s Balkan Values
White liberals and black careerists vigorously reject the MLK ideal of a color-blind society.
By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online, February 9, 2016
. . .
So who is deserving of special set-asides? Take the case of multimillionaire Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who fled Mexico’s censorship and came to America to establish a lucrative career under the singular protection of the U.S. Constitution as a self-appointed advocate against supposed American nativism. Has America been so unkind to Ramos that his children will have to have special help getting into college, while the progeny of an out-of-work coal miner in West Virginia or an Armenian farmer in Chico cannot qualify?
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A Day in the Life of Central Americans Crossing Mexico
By Silvio Canto, Jr.
American Thinker, February 12, 2016
. . .
First, many families need to send their young men to the U.S. to send back money. El Salvador receives about $4 billion in remittances or "remesas." It's probably the strongest safety net in the country. My guess is that other countries have similar numbers.

Second, the Obama administration refuses to speak clearly and defend U.S. sovereignty. Also, we indirectly invite people to come north when we offer legalization to anyone who crosses over.

The attitude in Central America is simple: get to the U.S., and you are likely to stay.

On one hand, we appreciate a young man who wants to cut our grass and support his mom back home. At the same time, we shouldn't encourage people to come with vague enforcement language.

It breaks your heart, but we are a nation of laws. Finally, I'm proof that you can come legally to the U.S.
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Rubio's Immigration Plan Will Only Cause Suffering for Americans
By Mark Thies
Overpasses for America, February 8, 2016
. . .
Equally compelling data are stagnant STEM wages, with increases averaging a tiny 0.4 percent per year from 2000-2012 ( In 2013, PBS ran a story called “The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower US Wages”. And last week in his blog, Professor Norm Matloff at University of California-Davis pointed out that computer science starting salaries went up a microscopic 0.06 percent last year.


But if Rubio has his way, prospects for our STEM students will be getting substantially worse. That’s because of a bill he is co-sponsoring in the Senate: S. 153, the Immigration and Innovation (I-Squared) Act. If passed, S. 153 would be a game changer — a bill that should scare the heck out of parents paying for a STEM education for their kids. Let’s look at how I-Squared will make it even harder for Americans to get good-paying jobs.

Work visas called H-1B visas are granted to foreign workers who have a bachelor’s or higher degree in a wide range of areas. S. 153 would increase the number of H-1B visas from 65,000 up to 245,000. Contrary to popular belief, there are no worker protections to prevent companies from firing American workers, replacing them with H-1B’s, and even forcing them to train their replacements (e.g., Disney).

As pointed out in Trump’s on-line immigration plan, 87 percent of current H-1B holders are paid wages in the bottom third.
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Hispanic Television's Most Influential Racialist
By John Perazzo, February 8, 2016

The National Council of La Raza (Spanish for “The Race”) once honored Ramos with its “Ruben Salazar” award for his positive portrayal of Latinos. It is fitting indeed that Ramos should have been singled out for praise by an organization obsessed with promoting open borders, lawlessness, racial and ethnic division, and perpetual anger against a nation that is supposedly racist to its core. Those are precisely Jorge Ramos's obsessions as well.
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Liberal Race-Baiters Embarrassed on Univision's Al Punto
By Jorge Bonilla, February 9, 2016
. . .
The panel featured Democrat Freddy Balsera, and Republicans Adolfo Franco and Otto Reich. When you factor Ramos, this adds up to an even panel.

Balsera dutifully took Ramos' first softball and dished out a steaming pile of racial vitiation against Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, charging both with being "anti-Hispanic" and "anti-immigrant". The evidence offered to support that claim is that they both built a base of support beyond the community (unlike, say, Luis Gutiérrez - whose district consists of the Puerto Rican neighborhood, the Mexican neighborhood, and the stretch of interstate that connects the two), the claim that they don't grant interviews to the network (false), and the charge that Cruz doesn't speak Spanish (which didn't stop the network from anointing Julián Castro).

Reich responds by noting the Times' anti-Cuban-American bias, the fact that they've been wrong on every major issue of the last fifty years, and by making a distinction between being anti-immigrant and pro-law enforcement. Franco then comes on and drops a truth-bomb so lethal that Ramos had no choice but to try and interrupt.
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On Immigration, Time for the West to be Realistic
By Michael Curtis
American Thinker, February 9, 2016
. . .
Some of these parties are virulent in their opposition to immigration and their fear of the challenge to Western values. Nevertheless, two factors are relevant. It is not racist to suggest that, for practical reasons, reasonable limits be put on those attempting to immigrate. Considering the millions desiring to leave not only from the Middle East, but also from Africa, Europe faces the possibility of an enormous increase in scale and an uncontrollable pressure. That pressure becomes even more potent since the native population of Europe is aging and declining.

More important is the perceived threat of Muslim migrants to Western values and the possibility of social, cultural, and religious conflicts, and especially Islamist terrorism, they may bring. The question is not one of discrimination, but of real differences: educational levels, cultural behavior, and religious and political views.
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After Hiring 1,000 New DMV Bureaucrats, California Issues 605,000 Licenses to Illegals
By Monica Showalter
Investor's Business Daily, February 10, 2016
. . .
Apparently the biggest reason they didn’t issue all of them this year is that so many illegals lacked basic literacy skills in any language, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Daily News reported that the spike in driver’s license applications didn’t lead to a rise in vehicle registrations or insurance purchasing, either, as might be expected given the rationale that Gov. Jerry Brown gave for opening the door to illegals’ driver’s licenses when he signed AB60 last year.

What the law does do is open the door for vast new benefits for illegals, something they have not hesitated to take advantage of, given the failure of the Obama administration to show any will to enforce U.S. law. A large number have received $750 million in illegal health care subsidies under ObamaCare, despite the president’s hard-argued selling point to the public that “those individuals” would not qualify.

It also opens the door to the right to vote. The California DMV automatically registers to vote anyone who gets a driver’s license, and it ascertains that eligibility to vote based on statements made by applicants on an honor system. What’s more, the law Brown signed explicitly exempts from prosecution anyone who’s cast an illegal vote. Large numbers of illegals already vote in U.S. elections, and it’s consequence-free.
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WSJ: Arizona’s Pro-American Immigration Reform Boosts Wages, Productivity, Housing
By Neil Munro, February 10, 2016
. . .
All those economic, social and technological benefits emerged from only a 40 percent drop in illegal population caused by the state’s modest reforms, and despite President Barack Obama’s refusal to seriously enforce popular federal laws intended to bar illegal migration. Also, there was no recorded drop in the annual inflow of legal immigrants. The state reforms only “barred [illegals] from receiving government benefits, including nonemergency hospital care … drivers’ licenses and … in-state tuition rates.”

The editors at the WSJ, which favors open-borders, however did highlight what they think is a greater economic harm to the overall economy caused by the reform. That harm was felt by major companies and the government because fewer illegal workers means higher wages, fewer consumers, lower profits and less tax revenue and fewer government employees who tend to vote Democratic.
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Dear Mexico: You Might Wind Up Paying For That Wall After All
By Jazz Shaw, February 10, 2016

Over the weekend the former president of Mexico took a rather scoffing tone when he said that Mexico wasn’t going to pay one cent for Donald Trump’s “stupid wall.” This is a knock we’ve heard from plenty of The Donald’s critics back here at home as well, coming from Democrats and Republicans alike. I mean… it’s crazy, right? How could anyone expect that to happen?

There’s an article this week over at The Last Refuge which might be worth a look if you’ve got an open mind on the subject. One of the less commented on aspects of international relations with Mexico is the volume of cash which Mexicans living in America (including illegal aliens) send home every year to their families. There’s nothing shocking about the idea at first glance. People send money home all the time. But just how much is it?
. . .
Is it possible? Absolutely, assuming you can mount the pressure required to make it happen. It would be complicated and politically messy, but such things don’t seem to bother Trump much to begin with. It all comes down to the idea of directing law enforcement to direct resources and vigorous attention to impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages. And once the word is out on the street that such payments are being looked at closely, both through electronic transactions and the purchase of money orders from banks and post offices, the flow might not be stopped but it would be severely reduced.
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Prescient Trump – Hidden Report: Mexico Remittances Total More Than Entire Mexican Oil Revenue
By Sundance
The Conservative Treehouse, February 9, 2016
. . .
Yes, you read that correctly. Immigrant remittances received by Mexico have surpassed Mexico’s $23.4 billion in oil earnings. This means the government of Mexico is more dependent than ever on the earnings of maids and gardeners in the U.S. to keep itself afloat. This is the leverage Donald Trump talks about to pressure Mexico to pay for the border wall.
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New Jersey Man Slays Child
By Ann Coulter
Human Events Online, February 10, 2016
. . .

Her neurotic repetition of the popularity of Trump’s Muslim ban should be considered an in-kind donation to his campaign. Most people heard it, and thought: “Is that true? Then I’m definitely switching to Trump.”

Even Muslim immigrants were saying, “I probably won’t commit jihad myself, but I know some of the Muslims coming definitely will.”

It’s like importing immigrants with Ebola. We feel bad for them, we know it’s not their fault, but we just can’t let them in. For every 100,000 Muslims we admit, we know that at least a few hundred either plan to engage in terrorism right away or can be persuaded to engage in terrorism later. Another 10,000 will send them money or help them hide.

Trump could probably help himself by saying: “Fine. You don’t want a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants? How about we temporarily suspend all immigration?” Let’s take a breather while we watch what happens to Europe.

Not only would a pause in immigration be wildly popular, but it also would give Trump a jump-start to his promise to be the “greatest jobs president God ever created.”
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Legalization of Illegal Immigrants Comes First – Then Border Security
By Jim Hoft, February 3, 2016

In 2013 Gang-of-Eight member Marco Rubio told Spanish station Univision that amnesty of illegal immigrants must come first – then border security.
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Enforcing Immigration laws Puts Georgia on Right Side of History and Popular Opinion
By D.A. King
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 7, 2016
. . .
It is amusing to see the leftist advocates invoke the very dubious conclusions of the left-leaning Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s latest “report” on immigration and the alleged monetary boost to the Georgia economy. That is if we would only ignore several federal and state laws and put illegal aliens in line with American citizens and legal immigrants in our university admittance offices. And also put them into our workforce to compete with American workers and their already stagnant wages.

After that, in the never-ending game of political incrementalism, the next oft-quoted report would no-doubt carefully explain the mega-benefits to the Georgia economy if only we had officially open borders and a constant, unregulated influx of immigrants to replace the workers already struggling to live the American Dream in their own country.

All concerned should pay attention to the legislative process under the Gold Dome on the pending Senate Bill 6. It addresses existing state law to clear up intentionally created confusion on just who is an illegal alien after President Obama’s dubious executive action on deferred action on deportation.

If passed, signed into law and then actually enforced by the Republican-run state government, SB 6 will end the question of whether the Regents can or should change tuition policy on illegal aliens – of any description.
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The Impact of US Immigration on Democratic and Republican Election Outcomes

By Giovanni Peri, Anna Maria Mayda, and Walter Steingress, February 2, 2016
. . .
An important aspect of the political effect of migration, which has received less attention in the US debate, is that natives' votes too can be affected by the increase in the share of immigrants, through the indirect channel described above. When we distinguish between the effect of naturalised and non-naturalised immigrants, our empirical analysis shows that this is indeed the case. The impact of immigration on Republican votes in the House is negative when the share of naturalised migrants in the voting population increases. Yet, it is positive when the share of non-citizen migrants increases above a threshold.2 Our results are consistent with naturalised migrants being less likely to vote for the Republican Party than native voters, and with native voters' political preferences moving in favour of the Republican Party but only at high levels of non-citizen immigrant shares. This second effect is significant only for quite high shares of (non-citizen) immigrants (above 0.132). According to CPS data as of 2012, only in six US states (California, District of Columbia, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas) was this share sufficiently high to push natives towards the Republican Party. For the other states, the share of non-naturalised immigrants in the population was less than 13.2% in 2012 (and it still is) and the corresponding impact on Republican votes of non-citizen immigrants was null to negative.
. . .

The GOP's Suicidal Immigration Stance

By Jacob Sullum, February 3, 2016
. . .
On the face of it, the Republican Party is not in a very pro-immigrant mood. Yet the positions staked out by Cruz and Trump are unpopular even among Republicans and could prove fatal to a party that needs support from Hispanic voters to win.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump remains the front-runner nationally, polling at or above 30 percent, and hostility to immigration is the most prominent theme of his campaign. The billionaire reality TV star, who has disparaged Mexican immigrants as criminals, rapists, and drug dealers, promises to end birthright citizenship, triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, "humanely" deport 11 million unauthorized immigrants, and build a wall on our southern border at the Mexican government's expense.

Cruz does not go quite as far as Trump, but he promises to "build a wall that works, triple border security, and put in place the surveillance and biometric tracking [required] to secure the border." The Texas senator wants to boost deportations and opposes anything even vaguely resembling "amnesty."
. . .

Reader comment: Opposing illegal immigration and importation of foreign "refugees is NOT suicidal !!! In fact, the opposite is what is suicidal. Trump and other GOP candidates are more in touch with the actual sentiments of the CITIZENS of USA who clearly want closed borders, and enforcement of immigration laws already on the books !!! Even legal Hispanic immigrants want an end to Illegals coming into this country and undercutting them and taking their jobs !!!! And black Americans, likewise resent jobs that they could have, being farmed out to illegals !!!

This Is The Jeff Sessions Election and the GOP is Just Along for the Ride

By Lauren Fox

Talking Points Memo, February 1, 2016
. . .
"Ted Cruz was with me, Steve King, Mike Lee and others who were opposed to this bill. Don't let anyone tell you differently," Sessions said, according to a report from

The truth of the matter is that if Sessions were to endorse Trump over Cruz or Cruz over Trump, it might actually have an impact on the first-in-the-nation presidential contest. Earlier this week a key Sessions aide, Stephen Miller, left the senator's office to join the Trump campaign.

For now, however, Sessions says, he's just there to be helpful. He's not endorsing anyone.

"I don't know if I will ever endorse anybody, but I do believe that a candidate who can effectively understand and articulate the American people's concerns on immigration and on trade can win this election," Sessions said. "Everybody is for the economy, everybody is for GDP, everybody is for more education, everybody is for more highways. How do you distinguish yourself?"

It turns out embracing Sessions' immigration policies is how.
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House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan

CIS Immigration Blog, February 1, 2016
. . .
Culberson's letter outlines several steps he expects the Justice Department to take:

* Work with sanctuary jurisdictions to change their policies, and if they do not, take legal action to compel their compliance with federal law;

* Beginning this year, amend the grant application forms for the Byrne/Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) reimbursement program to require agencies seeking these funds to swear that they do not have policies that violate Section 1373; and

* Deny funding to any non-compliant sanctuary jurisdictions.

In addition, he asks the attorney general to look at whether jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE are in violation of 8 USC 1324, the federal felony statute that prohibits anyone from shielding illegal aliens from detection. After all, these jurisdictions have been notified in writing by the detainers (federal Form I-247) that the aliens' identities and status have been confirmed by biometric fingerprint matching, and that federal agents wish to take custody of the aliens, and/or to be notified of the date, time, and place of release — so the sanctuaries are knowingly releasing deportable aliens sought by ICE. He said that he will consider applying this section of the law next year to block funding to jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE. This action could affect the hundreds of agencies that fail to comply with or accept ICE detainers, for example.
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U.S. Rescues Illegal Alien Minors Then Puts Them in Abusive Homes:

It’s ironic that some of the illegal immigrant minors that the Obama administration claims to have rescued from “persistent violence in Central America” have been placed in abusive homes by the U.S. government. Some have even been forced to become prostitutes or personal slaves, according to a scathing Senate investigation that’s ignited bipartisan fury.

read the full post
U.S. Rescues Illegal Alien Minors Then Puts Them in Abusive Homes:

Another Surge of Illegal Immigrants Along the Southwest Border: Is this the Obama Administration’s New Normal?

House Committee on the Judiciary
9:00 a.m., Thursday, February 4, 2016
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515


Brandon Judd, U.S. Border Patrol Agent and the President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National Border Patrol Council

Steven McCraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for immigration Studies

As Feds Plan to Cut Border Monitoring, Texas Officials Ask Why
A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, pressed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday to explain why the agency plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border.
In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers said the cut to a requested 3,850 hours of aerial detection and monitoring in 2016 amounts to 50 percent less coverage than recent years.
“Given the recent surge of migrants from Central America and Cuba along the southern border, we believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources, not fewer,” Abbott and Cuellar wrote in a letter.
The pair also reminded Johnson that in September, Abbott’s office asked the DHS for more aerial resources and U.S. Border Patrol agents but that the request was never acknowledged.
A DHS spokesperson said the agency would respond "directly" to the governor and the congressman.
The El Paso sector also saw 1,030 unaccompanied minors, an increase of almost 300 percent.
In Monday’s letter, the pair also requested a detailed breakdown of how the DHS determined the reduction in aerial surveillance was warranted and information on how staffing and operation levels would be affected.
While Abbott has spoken extensively about illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America, the letter marked the first time Abbott has referenced a recent surge of Cubans coming into Texas.
Abbott visited the island nation last year to explore expanding trade between Cuba and Texas. During that trip, he spoke about the current trade embargo but not the migrant issue.
During the 2015 fiscal year, about 28,400 Cubans entered Texas through U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Laredo field office, which extends from Del Rio to Brownsville. That’s compared to about 15,600 in 2014.
The surge came after the Obama administration announced in 2014 its plans to re-establish ties with Cuba, leaving many Cubans fearing they will lose a special designation that allows them to apply for legal residency status, or a “green card,” after living in the country for a year. Cuellar and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have called for the repeal of that designation.


Republican Debate Shows Where Comprehensive Immigration Is Headed: Nowhere

House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan, February 1, 2016
Today the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Justice, John Culberson (R-Texas), put the Obama administration on notice that it must take steps to rein in sanctuary jurisdictions or risk problems getting approval for its own budget requests. In addition, Culberson announced that he will begin requiring local jurisdictions to follow federal law and stop obstructing communication with immigration agencies as a condition for receiving certain federal law enforcement funding.


In a sternly worded letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Culberson said that he has a responsibility to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies are following federal law before they can get federal grants. He said that sanctuary policies restricting communication between local and federal officials are a clear violation of Section 1373 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the jurisdictions that have imposed such policies are San Francisco, Cook County, Ill., and New York City. In addition to prohibiting local officers from communicating with immigration authorities, these jurisdictions bar federal officers from coming into jails to interview or arrest deportable criminals.

State and local sanctuary policies obstruct immigration enforcement and cause the release of criminal aliens back to the streets of American communities. According to ICE records that the Center obtained in a FOIA request, in 2014 more than 9,000 criminal aliens that ICE was seeking to deport were instead released. More than 2,300 of these criminal aliens went on to commit additional crimes within just a few months.

The three law enforcement funding programs that could become off-limits to sanctuaries currently dispense more than $1 billion a year to state and local agencies.
Mr. Culberson contacted the Center shortly after the publication of this information in July, saying that he had long sought concrete information on the extent of this problem and that he was determined to use his authority to address it. The Center has compiled a list of over 300 cities, counties, and states that have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that protect criminal aliens from deportation — either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, or otherwise impeding open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration officers. These jurisdictions are noted on a map here.
Culberson's letter outlines several steps he expects the Justice Department to take:
  1. Beginning this year, amend the grant application forms for the Byrne/Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) reimbursement program to require agencies seeking these funds to swear that they do not have policies that violate Section 1373; and
  2. Work with sanctuary jurisdictions to change their policies, and if they do not, take legal action to compel their compliance with federal law;
  3. Deny funding to any non-compliant sanctuary jurisdictions.
In addition, he asks the attorney general to look at whether jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE are in violation of 8 USC 1324, the federal felony statute that prohibits anyone from shielding illegal aliens from detection. After all, these jurisdictions have been notified in writing by the detainers (federal Form I-247) that the aliens' identities and status have been confirmed by biometric fingerprint matching, and that federal agents wish to take custody of the aliens, and/or to be notified of the date, time, and place of release — so the sanctuaries are knowingly releasing deportable aliens sought by ICE. He said that he will consider applying this section of the law next year to block funding to jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE. This action could affect the hundreds of agencies that fail to comply with or accept ICE detainers, for example.

Culberson warned that if the administration stubbornly continues to tolerate sanctuaries, he will find it hard to look favorably on any spending requests from DOJ in the coming appropriations season: "I hope the attorney general will do the right thing here so that I am not compelled to object to relevant portions of the Department's spending plan and reprogramming requests. Any refusal by the Department to comply with these reasonable and timely requests will factor heavily in my consideration of their 2017 budget requests."

Even following public outcry over a series of cases of murders committed by criminal aliens after release by sanctuaries, including the killing of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, the Obama administration has resisted calls for action to discourage or punish the jurisdictions that obstruct immigration enforcement. Instead, it has pressed ahead in implementing the so-called Priority Enforcement Program, which explicitly allows sanctuary policies that violate federal law. It's clear that the administration is more interested in protecting criminal aliens than in protecting the public from their acts; now we'll see if the Department of Justice is willing to jeopardize its own funding to spare sanctuaries from being sanctioned, and if the sanctuaries are willing to sacrifice federal funding in order to protect criminal aliens.

Surge in Illegal Aliens, 500% Increase in Some U.S. Ports of Entry

Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, December 30, 2015

The agency’s own statistics certainly contradict that, showing that the southern border region is as porous and vulnerable as ever. Other entry ports that saw large hikes in Central American illegal immigrants during the first two months of this fiscal year include Del Rio, Texas (269%), El Centro, California (216%) and Rio Grande Valley, Texas (154%). The Border Patrol breaks the stats down by “family unit” and illegal immigrants under the age of 18, referred to as “Unaccompanied Alien Children” or UAC. The Rio Grande Valley port of entry topped the list in both categories with 8,537 family units and 6,465 UACs during the two-month period. In all, the nation’s nine southern border crossings saw an average of 173% increase in family units and a 106% increase in minors during the short period considered.

Some of the illegal immigrants are Mexican nationals, but the overwhelming majority comes from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The government records show that somehow 4,450 family units from El Salvador evaded our topnotch border security and entered the United States in a period of only two months. Guatemala and Honduras had 3,934 and 3,203 respectively. Mexico had 538 family units. Of interesting note is that, during this period, the Border Patrol reports 35,234 apprehensions in the region of foreigners labeled by the government as “Other Than Mexican” or OTM. This is a term used by federal authorities to refer to nationals of countries that represent a terrorist threat to the U.S.
. . .

Houston Slayings Fueled Border Security Debate

Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach,  at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, at his son's grave in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
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HOUSTON — Julie Golvach remembers that something felt “off” the night she lost her only child.
It was exactly one year ago today, a few minutes before 1 a.m. Standing in the driveway of her Houston home, waving goodbye to her sister under a clear winter sky, something didn't feel right. The stars didn’t look the same.
Golvach tossed and turned in bed for a while but was sound asleep when a knock on the door came at 6 a.m.
“I jumped up and I knew,” she said.
She stopped by her son’s boyhood bedroom, the one with the window looking out onto the driveway. He’d slept there a week earlier, the evening they went to see "American Sniper" together. She slipped past the picture of him and his best childhood friend on the wall, skirting the bed with the stuffed toy lamb — a baby shower relic — lying on top.
Out the window, Golvach saw three people — two uniformed police officers and a woman wearing a shirt that read “chaplain.” Her chest pounded as she made her way to the front door and opened it.
“Is it Spencer?” she asked.
The second those words tumbled out of her mouth, she knew the answer, just as she had known when she uttered that exact phrase the day he was born, before anyone told her if the baby was a boy or a girl. She just knew.
It was Spencer.
One night off
Spencer Golvach grew up in the sprawl of northwest Houston, surrounded by guitars and destined for a career in music, his father’s passion.
When he turned 16 in 2005 and got his driver’s license, the easygoing musician started working at a local guitar store in a strip mall not far from Jersey Village High School, where he excelled in shop class and anything he could do with his hands.
He had always fiddled with his dad’s guitars, and he developed a knack for fixing and rebuilding them at the store. A few years later, when the shop owner announced his retirement, Spencer decided to buy the Cy-Fair area business.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
Spencer Golvach, at the age of three, pictured with a guitar. Authorities say Golvach was killed by Victor Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, during a random shooting spree in January 2015.
With nine employees and a soft economy, life as an entrepreneur proved tough sledding. He struggled to turn a profit, and he took a second full-time job as a receiving lead and forklift operator at a local warehouse.
Even that wasn’t enough to cover the bills. By early 2015, Spencer was preparing to move into a smaller — and cheaper — space in the same shopping mall. He could hardly wait for Saturday, Jan. 31 to arrive, the day the slimmed-down version of Spencer’s Guitar Shop was set to open. Between giving guitar lessons, working an 8-to-5 day job, building out the new store and playing bass in his band — The Dead Revolt — Spencer needed a break.
“The guy was burning the candle at both ends for a long time,” recalled Dan Golvach, his father. “He takes one night off, to go take his girlfriend out for her birthday. That was Jan. 30. And he drops her off ... and 15 minutes later he pulls up to that red light.”
Less than a mile from his apartment, Spencer steered into the left turn lane at 18th Street and Mangum Road and waited for the green light. The details of what happened next are captured in the records of two police agencies, more than a dozen news articles and the unceasing nightmares of Spencer’s parents and loved ones.
An undocumented Mexican national named Victor Reyes, a native of Reynosa along the Texas-Mexico border, pulled up next to Spencer's beloved white Toyota pickup. He pointed a pistol at Spencer’s head and pulled the trigger.
The bullet went through the passenger side window and into Spencer’s skull, at the top of his right ear.
“I choose to believe it killed him instantly,” his father said in an interview months later. “I think he was just there and then it’s like someone turned the lights off. I don’t think he suffered.”
But the Golvach family’s suffering — compounded by the feeling that Spencer’s death could have been prevented — was just beginning.
Houston police, their report indicates, found 25-year-old Spencer dead in his truck at 12:56 a.m. — right around the moment Julie Golvach, waving goodbye to her sister, couldn't shake the feeling that something was off.
A few hours later, she was phoning her ex-husband to break the news.
“I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’”— Dan Golvach
“She was just inconsolable,” he recalled. “I couldn’t make out what she was saying and I finally just said, ‘is my son dead?’ She said, ‘yes.’ Then of course I started. I joined the chorus.”
More than a thousand people attended Spencer’s memorial service, a tribute to his fun-loving nature and penchant for making friends across generational, ethnic and gender lines.
Those who knew Spencer universally describe him as fun-loving and strikingly calm. After he died, a family friend ordered up a batch of commemorative rubber bracelets emblazoned with his laid-back motto: “Chill Don’t Freeze."

A bloody rampage
More than once since the funeral, Julie Golvach has found herself wishing that her son’s attacker had gotten to know Spencer. She’s convinced he never would have pulled the trigger. But the official evidence of the crime, while scant, suggests Spencer was chosen randomly. And he wasn’t the only victim.
Police say Reyes shot a man in the face, wounding him, in the suburban city of Jersey Village minutes before killing Spencer, and they connected him to at least two more random shootings shortly thereafter. All told, Reyes shot two dead and wounded three others before a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy took him down after a violent shootout, officials say.
John Weston, 67, says he’s lucky to be alive after encountering Reyes on the Hempstead Highway near Pinemont, about 10 minutes north of where Spencer had just been killed. He remembers seeing a big, dark truck driving aggressively behind him. When he got to the stoplight, it pulled up alongside him.
“All of a sudden I hear this ungodly noise,” Weston recalled. “I don’t know if you can imagine how fast your mind works, but I saw a shattered window and I saw a bullet hole in my window. My mind is thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, somebody’s shooting at me and this guy at this light.’”
He pressed his foot to the accelerator to get out of the line of fire, but not soon enough. He heard the second shot, and its impact felt like someone “hauled off and hit you upside the head,” he said.
Weston realized the truck's driver was the gunman. “I saw blood everywhere,” he said. His hands were covered in it, so he could only manage to re-dial on his cell phone. He finally reached his wife, who told him to go to the nearest toll booth. An ambulance was called. Doctors found that a bullet had entered his left cheek and stuck in the other side of his mouth.
A year later, after reconstructive surgery to replace a badly shattered jaw, his mouth remains completely numb below the tongue. With his health woes and lost time at work, he’s struggling to keep his printing business afloat.
“Everything I do now is a little more difficult, but considering I’m here talking, I’m blessed to be here,” Weston said. “It’s scarred me forever. I don’t break down and cry, but I think about it all the time.”
Had Reyes been a homegrown criminal, the story might have ended in the empty field where the deputy shot him — chalked up as another random act of violence in a city and nation all too used to them.
But as word spread about Reyes’ long criminal record and multiple deportations, the case was thrust into the volatile debate over illegal immigration and control of the southern border: first in local news stories, then at the Capitol in Austin and most recently on the presidential campaign trail on a stage in mid-November with GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump in Beaumont, where Dan Golvach spoke out and held up a poster of Spencer along with others killed by undocumented immigrants.
Gunman's long record
According to the Houston office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Reyes had been removed from the country four times between 2003 and 2010, but little is publicly known about what he was doing in Houston prior to terrorizing its northwest environs — or why he did it.
His criminal and illegal entry records stretch back at least to 2002 when, at age 18, he was convicted of burglarizing a building in Hidalgo County, across the border from Reynosa, which he told police was his place of birth. He spent a month and a half in jail before a state court sentenced him to three years' probation, ordered him to pay an $850 fine and mandated 120 hours of community service.

Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
A year later, he was back in the Hidalgo County Jail for breaking a beer bottle over a man’s head at the Tejano Saloon in Pharr. He was sent back to Mexico after serving about a month in the local jail, but he came back. By then, his previous probation had been revoked, and he served several months in a state jail in Raymondville.
Deported again on Jan. 20, 2004, Reyes was caught trying to cross the border the next day, triggering a 90-day sentence in federal prison and yet another deportation — his third.
A few months later, on Aug. 10, he was caught again, in McAllen, and received a one-year federal prison sentence for his fourth known illegal re-entry. His crimes didn’t end there. A few weeks before his prison release date, Reyes beat up a fellow inmate — described by his lawyer as a rival gang member — cutting and fracturing his face, according to federal court records.
Two new assault charges made Reyes eligible for 20 years behind bars. Despite his history of violence, burglary and repeat illegal crossings, federal prosecutors offered Reyes a deal: In exchange for a guilty plea on one of the counts, and in recognition of his “truthful testimony” and “acceptance of responsibility,” they promised to give him a sentence “at the lowest end of the applicable guidelines” on a single charge, court papers show. Under the plea bargain, Reyes' sentence was 63 months, a quarter of the maximum he faced under the two counts.
That’s a few more spoonfuls of salt in the wound for Dan and Julie Golvach. Had Reyes been given even half of his possible sentence on the two assault counts, he would have been in prison instead of at that traffic light killing their son.
“The people who agreed to this deal need to be held accountable,” Julie Golvach said. “The result was the horrific murder of my son.”
The prosecutor who signed the plea agreement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Hammer, declined to talk about the case, referring questions to U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Angela Dodge in Houston.
Dodge sent The Texas Tribune a boilerplate description of plea deals, saying they “ensure a resolution of the case and that someone is convicted of the crime(s) we believe they committed without going through the time and expense of a trial,” while providing “justice for all.” She declined to say whether prosecutors took Reyes' previous crimes into account, or if they frequently offer plea deals to convicted criminals who commit additional crimes behind bars.
It’s another official secret in a case with no shortage of them.
Family still seeking answers
The Houston Police Department, using its own discretion under the Public Information Act, blocked release of all but a few details on the Golvach and Weston shootings. The department cited a provision allowing it to withhold criminal records absent a final disposition, such as a conviction or deferred adjudication. Since Reyes is dead and the city’s case is otherwise closed, that means Houston police likely can withhold the information indefinitely.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office declined to release its investigative files, but for an entirely different reason: After every officer-involved shooting — in this case, a deputy ended Reyes’ deadly rampage — the Harris County district attorney’s office presents the case to a grand jury even if no one complains. That happened last week, just days before the one-year anniversary of the shooting spree.
The federal government holds onto its files with a tight grip, too, citing the 1974 U.S. Privacy Act. The act covers only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decreed that its protections apply to federal immigration detention records, even those related to undocumented immigrants convicted of horrific crimes. The agency voluntarily released a narrative of its multiple encounters with Reyes, but the Tribune has not yet heard back from ICE or U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services on its written request for his entire immigration file. 

The secrecy across local and federal agencies that came into contact with Reyes confounded and frustrated the people touched by his violence. Weston said his wife became “very disillusioned” about their quest for even the simplest answers.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
Dan Golvach, father of Spencer Golvach, in Houston Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the intersection where his son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in January.
“I mean, we asked them, ‘Who was the guy?’” Weston said. “We had to fill out paperwork and all that kind of stuff, but we never got any satisfactory answer. It was almost like it was top secret information.”
Hoping to break through the bureaucratic walls and get some answers about who killed their son and why, the Golvaches eventually hired a former investigative reporter, ex-KTRK-TV newsman Wayne Dolcefino. In a letter last year to then-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Dolcefino said the sheriff’s office was “doing a disservice to this crime victim by not responding to this request in a proper manner.” The local investigative files remained sealed as of late last week, but the Harris County Sheriff's Office asked the Tribune to resubmit its request for the records and promised a quick turnaround.
Even with new information beginning to trickle out, the victims and their families still don't know where Reyes lived or if he had a job, who owned the truck he was driving that night or — least of all — the motive for his deadly rampage.
According to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Heyward Carter, some elements of the senseless crime may never be known.
Carter, who handled a single aspect of the case — the officer-involved shooting — was able to speak about the case for the first time last week. He revealed that Reyes was "extremely intoxicated" and had a "significant amount of cocaine" in his system. He also identified the weapon, a .380 caliber pistol, that he said was legally purchased at one point, but authorities haven't determined how a convicted felon and undocumented immigrant, barred from buying or possessing firearms, obtained it.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is."
— Heyward Carter, Harris County Assistant District Attorney
Carter also provided details about the actions of the Harris County deputy sheriff, Javier Rojas, who finally put an end to the deadly rampage. By chance, Rojas was patrolling the area and heard shots being fired. He saw the truck of Reyes' final victim, identified by police as Juan Garcia, in obvious distress, weaving randomly at an intersection. Garcia later died from his wounds, and a woman in the car with him was slightly injured from the broken glass.
Rojas chased after Reyes, who crashed his truck through a barrier at the end of a dead end street and went another 200 yards or so into an empty field. Rojas continued the pursuit on foot and found Reyes crouching behind the truck. He ordered the suspect to drop his weapon but Reyes stood and fired at the officer instead. Rojas returned fire and struck him in the chest. When authorities photographed the body his hand was still gripping the pistol "with his finger on the trigger," Carter said.
In terms of a motive, authorities can only speculate based on a conversation Reyes had with a supposed girlfriend about three hours before the shooting spree began. He wanted her to go out to a bar or nightclub with him, and she turned him down. Authorities speculate he may have been taking out his rage on couples: It's possible he saw Spencer Golvach dropping off his girlfriend shortly before shooting him at the red light and then targeted Garcia after seeing he had a woman in his vehicle.
But it's just a theory.
“We live in an age of mass shootings, and even though this one didn’t get a whole lot of publicity, that’s what this is," Carter said. "I don’t understand why he was doing it.”
Carter did confirm what the families had learned from detectives in the immediate aftermath of the shootings: Reyes still had plenty of ammunition left in his truck — suggesting that he was planning a more extensive shooting spree. There were at least 20 live rounds left in the vehicle, and he appeared to be reloading while driving near the scene of his final attack.
“Had this officer not been there just coincidentally ... there were plenty of roads for him to go down. He had plenty of ammo, and it didn't seem like he was stopping, that's for sure," Carter said. "As horrible as this situation was, it could have been way worse.”
After the facts were presented to grand jury last Wednesday, the panel decided not to proceed with any further action related to the incident. The Golvach family calls Rojas' response heroic.
"Why was he allowed to be here?"
Julie Golvach burst out into tears again last week after hearing for the first time some of the details of the crime that took her son's life. 
“I really feel I deserve to know what brought them together at that point in time, what caused him to shoot my son,” she said. “I think we deserve to know why he was even here — why he was allowed to be here.”
It’s a common refrain among those who have been victimized by people in the country illegally. They weren’t supposed to be here in the first place, and the government's inability to keep them from crossing the southern border after they’ve been deported — and prevent them from committing crimes — provokes a unique brand of helplessness and outrage.
Even Weston, a lifelong Democrat who attended both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations and favors allowing otherwise law-abiding immigrants into the United States to work and seek a better life, said he had to fight the urge to call Donald Trump and tell him he was “dead-on” with his focus on foreigners who commit crimes here.
“Somebody’s got to do something about it,” he said. In the same breath, Weston emphasized that he doesn’t support Trump for president and said keeping dangerous felons from crossing the border or entering the vast illegal workforce defied simplistic solutions.
“If there’s some way to filter out the ones that intend to harm people, I would be in support of that,” he said. “It may prevent something like this from happening to somebody else.”
Dan Golvach is more blunt and outspoken. A few weeks after his son’s murder, he was at the state Capitol testifying in favor of 2015 state legislation — ultimately doomed — that would have prohibited local law enforcement authorities in Texas from adopting “sanctuary” policies that keep police out of immigration matters.
Then late last year, he appeared with Trump at a campaign rally in Beaumont, saying his son died as “the result of politically correct politics” — namely, bipartisan policies that he believes go too easy on undocumented immigrants and the people who hire them.
“When you lose the thing you love the most, you’re not that worried about being PC,” Golvach said in an interview. “If you’re going to come here, you need to do it legally on our terms, not your terms.”
Golvach readily admits that anger over his son’s killing sometimes hits “toxic” levels. He says he’s still haunted by the image of Spencer in a hastily chosen coffin, still upset he was killed right next to the stadium where he used to watch baseball as a kid, still mad as hell that the government won’t cough up the records they have on his son’s killer.
It would be worse without all the good memories of his son, and without the certainty that if Spencer were alive today he would say to him: “chill don’t freeze.”
“He’d tell me, ‘Don’t have a heart attack. You know, clear your mind and keep it cool,'” he said. “He would tell me not to hate anybody.”

Concrete Evidence of the Continuing Plunge in Both Civil and Criminal Immigration Enforcement

By Dan Cadman

CIS Immigration Blog, January 23, 2016

Two recent reports from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reflect the continued erosion of immigration enforcement under the Obama administration.

On January 20, TRAC reported that criminal prosecution for immigration offenses fell 22.3 percent from November 2014 to November 2015, and more than 36 percent over the course of five years, excluding magistrate court (which deals exclusively with petty offenses).

The following day, TRAC announced that "ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] Detainer Use Stabilizes Under Priority Enforcement Program". The Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) is the replacement to the Secure Communities Program mandated by Homeland Security Security Jeh Johnson as a part of the president's "executive actions" on immigration. It significantly restricts the ability of immigration agents to file detainers against aliens arrested by police on criminal charges.

I have no idea what TRAC means by "stabilizes". A quick look at Figure 1a of their report shows a more accurate state of affairs, if one considers the number of detainers being filed over the course of five years, from a high in April 2011, when Secure Communities became fully effective nationwide and kicked into high gear, versus October 2015. I would use other phrases: "plummeted" or "Dropped like a stone". Or, as my colleague Jessica Vaughan has noted, particularly in relation to detainers filed at county jails, where the lion's share of criminals of any stripes are held after being booked for offenses small and large: "a stunning free fall".