Chairman Smith and Senator Vitter Introduce Bill to Stop Backdoor Amnesty

Hi Gang:

I recently became aware of a bill that has been introduced by Representative Lamar Smith, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Senator David Vitter.  It is an extremely important bill because it seeks to thwart the efforts of the administration to essentially attempt to create a de facto amnesty for unknown millions of illegal aliens through the issuance of policy directives.   I have provided you with a copy of the press releases issued by the House Judiciary Committee and by Senator Vitter, concerning this bill as well as the material to be found on the Thomas website which, among other issues, tracks the progress of legislation.

The bill, H.R. 2497, is called the HALT Act.  “HALT” is an acronym for Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation.

In drafting this bill, Representative Smith and Senator Vitter are demonstrating clear leadership to make certain that our nation’s immigration laws are enforced- a mission that should be the goal of every leader from both political parties.

I have had the distinct privilege of working with Mr. Smith, his counsel and his other staffers on many immigration issues over the past 15+ years.  He has, once again, demonstrated leadership and his commitment to the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.  Senator Vitter should be commended for joining with Representative Smith in creating this legislation.

It is vital for all Americans of all political leanings to contact their Senators and Representatives in Congress and urge them to support H.R. 2497 so that it not only passes but with such numbers that it is “Veto Proof!” 

An alien who evades the inspections process is not the equivalent of a subway rider who jumps the turnstile to avoid paying his (her) fare.  The CBP Inspectors are tasked with preventing the entry, into our country, whose presence would be harmful or even dangerous to our nation and our citizens.

Title 8, United States Code section 212 is section of law that enumerates the various categories of aliens who, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, are supposed to be prevented from entering the United States and are supposed to be removed if they are found here:


Please take the time to review the contents of this section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Among the categories of aliens who are supposed to be kept out of the United States are aliens with dangerous communicable diseases, aliens who suffer serious mental illness and are prone to violence, aliens who are convicted felons, aliens who fugitives from justice in other countries, aliens who are human traffickers and drug smugglers, aliens who are war criminals and aliens who have committed human rights violations.  Also aliens who are engaged in terrorism and espionage are among those who are, by law, supposed to be prevented from entering our country and are supposed to be removed if they manage to evade the Border Patrol and enter the United States.

Criminal aliens have two advantages over American criminals.  They can easily flee from the United States when they believe that law enforcement authorities are coming after them and they can threaten to do harm to the family members of members of the immigrant communities if these immigrants dare speak with the police or refuse to aid these criminals.  

At a time when jobs are in extremely short supply and when the unemployment and underemployment rates are second only to the disastrous Great Depression, it is unfathomable that the administration is seeking ways for aliens to not only run our borders but remain here with little fear of being caught and no fear of being arrested or deported!

Any person who would entice or encourage aliens to enter our country in violation of law or remain illegally thereafter would face serious felony charges!

When the President, members of his administration or “leaders” in Congress promise a “Pathway to United States citizenship” to millions of illegal aliens they are demonstrating utter contempt for the laws of our nation and the well being of the citizens of our nation!

Please consider the following sections of law to be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act:
Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324(a) defines several distinct offenses related to aliens. Subsection 1324(a)(1)(i)-(v) prohibits alien smuggling, domestic transportation of unauthorized aliens, concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts. Subsection 1324(a)(2) prohibits bringing or attempting to bring unauthorized aliens to the United States in any manner whatsoever, even at a designated port of entry. Subsection 1324(a)(3).

Encouraging/Inducing — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) makes it an offense for any person who — encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.


Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting — Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) expressly makes it an offense to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid or abet the commission of the foregoing offenses.


Here is the link to this section of law in its entirety:


It would certainly seem to me that when anyone makes statements that credibly offer the potential for gain to illegal aliens who may be contemplating violating our nation’s immigration laws and/or our nation’s borders that the person making those statement is encouraging aliens to “…come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry or residence will be in violation of law.”

When the person making such statements is the President of the United States, these words of encouragement take on an entirely new dimension and possess extreme credibility!

The will of the people are being ignored by the administration and the legislative process has been subverted!

Time and again the American people made it clear that they did not want Comprehensive Immigration Reform to be enacted.  The DREAM Act was falsely sold as a bill to help children- yet the age cutoff is 35!  In what country would someone who is 35 years old be considered a “child?”

There is an old cell phone commercial where a guy walks around communities around the United States and attempts to make a phone call and repeatedly ask, “Can you hear me now?”

Clearly the administration has heard us and in a duplicitous response to the will of the American people devised a new strategy- to create an amnesty by decree!

The policy memo issued by the administration amounts to the starter’s pistol at the marathon!  It is the equivalent of the famous announcement heard at the start of the Indy 500 auto race held every Memorial Day, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start you engines!”

The message heard around the world is that if an alien is able to get past the Border Patrol or somehow be admitted into the United States via the inspections process, that they have nothing to fear!  The President, himself, wants these folks to be here and is working to protect them from law enforcement authorities that are supposed to protect our nation’s borders and make certain that if the borders are violated that those who violate those borders will be arrested and deported.

That is not the message that should be sent out, especially in this perilous age!   

Certainly the administration has the authority to create policy for the administration and to that end has the ability to exercise discretion about the enforcement of laws and regulations.  Prosecutorial discretion is not unusual- a police officer who stops a motorist for running a stop sign may decide to issue a warning rather than a summons to the driver he pulls over or may decide to take no action at all depending on such factors as the driver’s demeanor and other factors.  That same police officer may, on the other hand, decide to arrest that errant motorist.  

Often police officers give drivers a bit of leeway where speed limits are concerned provided that the driver who exceeds the speed limit is otherwise driving safely and road conditions do not render the speed at which the driver is driving to be unsafe

These are examples of prosecutorial discretion exercised on the smallest scale.

Plea bargain arrangements worked out by prosecutors on all levels of government also involve prosecutorial discretion.  If every arrest resulted in a trial, the criminal justice system would quickly become overwhelmed and the entire system would implode.  However, in each example of prosecutorial discretion, the issue of reasonableness must be taken into account.  While person arrested for a crime may plead guilty to a somewhat reduced crime to get a reduction in sentence, a duty-bound prosecutor could not justify such a reduction in a criminal charge that it makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.

The exercise of appropriate and proportional prosecutorial discretion certainly has a place in government.

HOWEVER, on June 23, 2011, the AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) issued a press release that demonstrated how civil service unions can not only serve the best interests of dues paying members but the citizenry of our nation when it brought a very disturbing document to light, exposing a supposed use of “prosecutorial discretion” that amounted to the blatant willful obstruction of governmental administration where the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws are concerned.

The AFGE press release also includes links to the memo that was issued by the Director of ICE, John Morton.

Here is that link:


The language of the instructions provided to the employees is so open-ended that from an employee’s perspective the message is clear- you are likely to have no problems if you fail to take an illegal alien into custody but could be in for a world career terminating problems if you fail to exercise appropriate discretion!



Consider what is contained in the memo:


                                                                       ***************************************

Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens

Factors to Consider When Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion

When weighing whether an exercise ofprosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given . alien, ICE officers, agents,and attorneys should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
 
the agency’s civil immigration enforcement priorities; 
the person’s length ofpresence in the United States, with particular consideration given to presence while in lawful status; 
the circumstances ofthe person’s arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child; 
the person’s pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution ofhigher education in the United States; 
whether the person, or the person’s immediate relative,has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat; 
the person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants; 
the person’s immigration history, including any prior removal, outstanding order of removal, prior denial of status, or evidence of fraud; 
whether the person poses a national security or public safety concern; 
the person’s ties and contributions to the community, including family relationships; 
•       the person’s ties to the home country and condition~in the country; 
the person’s age, with particular consideration given to minors and the elderly; 
whether the person has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent; 
whether the person is the primary caretaker of a person with a mental or physical disability, minor, or seriously ill relative;  
whether the person or the person’s spouse is pregnant or nursing; 
whether the person or the person’s spouse suffers from severe mental or physical illness; 
whether the person’s nationality renders removal unlikely; 
Whether the person is likely to be granted temporary or permanent status or other relief from removal, including as a relative of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; • whether the person is likely to be granted temporary or permanent status or other relief from removal, including as an asylum seeker, or a victim of domestic violence, human trafficking, or other crime; .and
whether the person is currently cooperating or has cooperated with federal, state or local law enforcement authorities, such as ICE, the U.S Attorneys or Department of Justice, the Department ofLabor, or National Labor Relations Board, among others.

This list is not exhaustive and no one factor is.determinative. ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should always consider prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis. 

The decisions should be based on the totality of the circumstances, with the goal of conforming to ICE’s enforcement priorities.



                                                                       ***************************************


Recently I wrote a commentary on how ICE has come to use the term “Victim” to describe illegal aliens in a deceptive manner.  Victims of Human Trafficking, for example are often simply aliens who paid an alien smuggler to enable to circumvent the inspections process because they know that they are in one or more categories of aliens who are statutorily ineligible to enter the United States.  To put it succinctly, an alien who pays a smuggler to facilitate his (her) entry into our country in violation of law is not a “Victim of Human Trafficking” but is, in fact, a co-conspirator!  The alien who pays a smuggler to enable him to enter our country surreptitiously is certainly committing a violation of law- yet in this insane world, the federal government that is charged with securing our nation’s borders from unlawful entry of aliens is eager to re-brand these illegal aliens “Victims of Human Trafficking!”  

You should note, by the way, that “Victims of Human Trafficking” are now eligible to benefit from prosecutorial discretion!

Here is a link to that commentary as it appears on my website.  I would urge you to take the time to read that commentary:

In reviewing all of the many reasons why an alien should not be taken into custody and or his/her removal (deportation) proceedings terminated, it would certainly appear that the vast majority of illegal aliens could easily qualify for “prosecutorial discretion!”

Please also note the statement at the very beginning of the list of grounds for prosecutorial discretion:

When weighing whether an exercise ofprosecutorial discretion may be warranted for a given . alien, ICE officers, agents,and attorneys should consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

The following sentence is posted right after the (partial) list of categories of aliens who should be granted prosecutorial discretion:

This list is not exhaustive and no one factor is.determinative. ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should always consider prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis.

In other words, as extensive and seemingly nearly all-inclusive as that list is, there may be still more reasons to walk away from an illegal alien encountered in the United States!

The language is so vague and so absurd that if I was an ICE agent, I would be extremely reluctant to even think about arresting an illegal alien!

I am certain that the open borders advocates will make the usual baseless claims of xenophobia, racism and the usual nonsense we have come to expect whenever anyone calls for the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.

In point of fact, the immigration laws are utterly and completely blind as the race, religion and ethnicity of aliens.  The only distinction our nation’s immigration laws make is to distinguish citizens of our nation from non-citizens (aliens). 

The citizens and resident aliens of our nation who are losing their jobs and also losing their lives to criminal aliens are of all races, religions and ethnicities!

Our nation cannot win a “war on terror,” combat the Mexican drug cartels and other transnational criminals or help get Americans back to work until and unless our nation’s borders are made secure and the immigration laws are effectively enforced, thereby deterring aliens from illegally entering our country.  You don’t deter undesired activities by rewarding those who are responsible for doing the undesired activities!

Police officers would never give out vouchers for free meals for motorists caught speeding!

We don’t give burglars the keys to the front door to the homes or businesses they are caught breaking into!

The silence of far too many of our fellow Americans has been deafening!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

I

our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!


We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.  

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same.  We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!


The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians.  I implore you to get involved!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!


-michael cutler- 


Please check out my website:

Additionally- this summer, on Friday afternoons from 4:00 PM until 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time, I will be filling in for Tom Garcia as the host on The USA Talk Radio Network’s excellent radio show, “The American Hour.”


I hope you will be joining my cohost, Paula Lauzon Ostman and me, on Fridays this summer!

Here is the link for this program:

 

Chairman Smith and Senator Vitter Introduce Bill to Stop Backdoor Amnesty

For Immediate Release
July 12, 2011
Contact: Jessica Baker (Smith), 202-225-3951 Luke Bolar (Vitter), 202-228-5853

Chairman Smith and Senator Vitter Introduce Bill to Stop Backdoor Amnesty

Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today introduced the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act (H.R. 2497), legislation to prevent the Obama administration from abusing its authority to grant massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants.  Senator David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus, will introduce the companion in the Senate this week. 

Chairman Smith:  “Congress has defeated amnesty for illegal immigrants several times in recent years but this has not stopped President Obama from trying a backdoor amnesty.  Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has ignored the will of Congress and the American people by using executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. 

“While this authority is justifiable when used responsibly, it’s clear this Administration plans not to use but to abuse these powers.  If the President gets his way, millions of illegal immigrants will be allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.  That is why I have introduced the HALT Act, which will prevent the Obama administration from granting a massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants.  The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws it will enforce.  Congress must put a halt to this administrative amnesty.”

Senator Vitter: “The Obama administration has taken steps to pass their amnesty agenda through executive order and completely bypass Congress. In the Senate we’ve already rejected some attempts at granting amnesty for illegal aliens by defeating the DREAM Act in last year’s lame duck session. The administration has now taken their amnesty push to new levels by attempting to give DHS officials and other agencies the ability to grant amnesty, which is exactly why we’re introducing the HALT Act. Awarding amnesty over the objections of Congress and the American people would be a slap in the face to taxpayers, and especially to legal immigrants.”

Original cosponsors of the House bill include Reps. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), John Campbell (R-Calif.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Randy Forbes (R-Va.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.),Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), Gary Miller (R-Calif.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), David Roe (R-Tenn.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), and Bill Young (R-Fla.).

Background:  Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has sought to circumvent Congress and use executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.  Last month, Administration officials caved to pressure from their liberal base and announced changes to Secure Communities.  This program keeps our neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted.  The changes made by the Administration could open the door to allow millions of illegal and criminal immigrants avoid current immigration laws. 

Specifically, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued two memos to agency officials on how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion,” such as granting deferred action, deciding whom to stop, question, arrest, or detain, and dismissing a removal proceeding.  While this authority is justifiable when exercised responsibly, the Obama administration has made clear that it plans to use this authority recklessly.

This isn’t the only time the Administration has sought administrative amnesty.  Last year, a draft memo written by top political officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggested the agency take steps to legalize countless illegal immigrants by granting deferred action or parole.  Both deferred action and parole are reasonable on a case-by-case basis but are not intended to be used to grant massive administrative amnesty.

Summary of the H.R. 2497:  The HALT Act will prevent the Obama Administration from

Granting parole, except in narrow circumstances;
Issuing deferred action, except in narrow circumstances;
Issuing extended voluntary departure to removable aliens;
Granting work authorization to aliens on a discretionary basis;
Granting temporary protected status to any new groups of aliens’
Waiving the three and ten year bars to admittance for aliens who have been illegally present in the U.S.; and
Granting cancellation of removal to illegal immigrants. 

The HALT Act will restore these powers to the next president whom the American people elect on January 22, 2013.

###

Bill Text PDF

July 12, 2011

Vitter and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith to Introduce Bill to Stop Amnesty by Administrative Fiat

Washington, DC – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today introduced the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation (HALT) Act (H.R. 2497), legislation to prevent the Obama administration from abusing its authority to grant massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants.  U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus, will introduce an identical version in the Senate this week. 

“The Obama administration has taken steps to pass their amnesty agenda through executive order and completely bypass Congress. In the Senate we’ve already rejected some attempts at granting amnesty for illegal aliens by defeating the DREAM Act in last year’s lame duck session. The administration has now taken their amnesty push to new levels by attempting to give DHS officials and other agencies the ability to grant amnesty, which is exactly why we’re introducing the HALT Act. Awarding amnesty over the objections of Congress and the American people would be a slap in the face to taxpayers, and especially to legal immigrants,” said Senator Vitter.

“Congress has defeated amnesty for illegal immigrants several times in recent years but this has not stopped President Obama from trying a backdoor amnesty.  Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has ignored the will of Congress and the American people by using executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S,” said Chairman Smith. 

“While this authority is justifiable when used responsibly, it’s clear this Administration plans not to use but to abuse these powers.  If the President gets his way, millions of illegal immigrants will be allowed to legally live and work in the U.S. without a vote of Congress.  That is why I have introduced the HALT Act, which will prevent the Obama administration from granting a massive administrative amnesty to illegal immigrants.  The Obama administration should not pick and choose which laws it will enforce.  Congress must put a halt to this administrative amnesty,” Smith added.

A copy of the bill can be found athttp://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/HALT%20Act%20Bill%20Text.pdf

Background:  Over the course of the last year, the Obama administration has sought to circumvent Congress and use executive branch authority to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.  Last month, administration officials caved to pressure from their liberal base and announced changes to the Secure Communities program.  This program keeps our neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted.  The changes made by the administration could open the door to allow millions of illegal and criminal immigrants avoid current immigration laws.

Specifically, the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued two memos to agency officials on how to exercise “prosecutorial discretion,” such as granting deferred action, deciding whom to stop, question, arrest, or detain, and dismissing a removal proceeding.  While this authority is justifiable when exercised responsibly, the Obama administration has made clear that it plans to use this authority recklessly.

This isn’t the only time the administration has sought administrative amnesty.  Last year, a draft memo written by top political officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services suggested the agency take steps to legalize countless illegal immigrants by granting deferred action or parole.  Both deferred action and parole are reasonable on a case-by-case basis but are not intended to be used to grant massive administrative amnesty.

The HALT Act will prevent the Obama administration from
• Granting parole, except in narrow circumstances;
• Issuing deferred action, except in narrow circumstances;
• Issuing extended voluntary departure to removable aliens;
• Granting work authorization to aliens on a discretionary basis;
• Granting temporary protected status to any new groups of aliens;
• Waiving the three and ten year bars to admittance for aliens who have been illegally present in the U.S.; and
• Granting cancellation of removal to illegal immigrants. 

The HALT Act will restore these powers in January 2013 to the next president elected by the American people.

-30-

Bill Summary & Status 
112th Congress (2011 – 2012) 
H.R.2497

H.R.2497 
Latest Title: HALT Act 
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] (introduced 7/12/2011)      Cosponsors (22) 
Latest Major Action: 7/12/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. 


All Information (except text) Text of Legislation Summary Major Congressional Actions 

All Congressional Actions 

All Congressional Actions with Amendments 
With links to Congressional Record pages, votes,reports

Titles Cosponsors (22) Committees
Related Bills Amendments Related Committee Documents
CBO Cost Estimates Subjects Constitutional Authority Statement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.