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Judicial Watch Sues DHS — Twice! — for Obama 'Stealth Amnesty' Plan


The President was on record last week saying that he has no plan to suspend deportations for illegal aliens. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise. So Judicial Watch is going to court — again — to try to force the truth out of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Judicial Watch filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the DHS to obtain records detailing the Obama administration’s alleged plan to grant legal status to illegal aliens without going through Congress, a strategy commonly known as “stealth amnesty.”

On July 2, 2010, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request to the DHS to obtain the following information: “Any and all records of communications between the Department of Homeland Security and any of the following entities, concerning ‘deferred action’ or ‘parole’ to suspend removal proceedings against a particular individual or group of individuals for a specific timeframe; as well as records of communications concerning ‘selective reprieve’ to the segment of the population holding expired visas: The White House; The Executive Office of the President; any third parties.” We’re also after internal DHS communications regarding “deferred action or parole.”

Then on August 30, 2010, Judicial Watch followed up with yet another FOIA request to DHS looking for the following information:

  • Any and all records of, and/or records concerning, Department of Homeland Security briefings regarding a systematic review of pending immigration cases against suspected illegal immigrants in Houston, Texas.
  • Any and all records of general guidelines issued to Department of Homeland Security attorneys, allowing dismissal of pending immigration cases.
  • Any and all records detailing the determination and implementation of a systematic review of pending immigration cases against suspected illegal immigrants in Houston, Texas.
  • Any and all correspondence with non-governmental organizations…concerning the process for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to give consideration of possible dismissal of pending immigration cases.

The DHS acknowledged receipt of the FOIA requests. However, to date the agency has failed to provide a single document.

The agency has also failed to indicate when a response will be forthcoming. In both cases the statutory allotted timeframe for response has long since passed, which is why we sued. (Of course this is unsurprising. Reporting by The Associated Press suggests that the DHS’s political appointees have improperly delayed FOIA requests on politically sensitive topics. And this week Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House Government and Reform Committee released a devastating report detailing this lawlessness.)

So what is this illegal alien deportation scandal all about?

The Obama administration has been heavily criticized for its alleged plan to bypass Congress and enact “stealth amnesty” by executive fiat. In fact, in June 2010, the press uncovered a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service “draft” memo that outlined a variety of ways to grant legalization to illegal aliens without going through Congress. A couple of months later Judicial Watch learned this “stealth amnesty” plan was not a theoretical exercise. It was already in full operation.

According to the August 24, 2010, edition of The Houston Chronicle: “The Department of Homeland Security is systematically reviewing thousands of pending immigration cases and moving to dismiss those filed against suspected illegal immigrants who have no serious criminal records…Culling the immigration court system dockets of noncriminals started in earnest in Houston about a month ago and has stunned local immigration attorneys, who have reported coming to court anticipating clients’ deportations only to learn that the government was dismissing the cases.”

It appears the Obama administration has initiated a policy to selectively deport illegal alien lawbreakers, while allowing others off the hook entirely!

The President was asked to comment on these suspended deportations. And despite evidence to the contrary, Obama claimed that he has no such plan. “There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president,” Obama said.

That is certainly true. But since when has the Obama administration cared a whit about immigration “laws on the books?” His Justice Department, while attacking Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law, has already announced it will not enforce federal immigration laws “on the books” to prosecute sanctuary cities. So why should deportations of illegal aliens be any different?

Obama may deny he has a plan to suspend deportations but this runs counter to the experience of immigration attorneys in Houston. And that’s why it’s critical that Homeland Security follows the open records FOIA law and turns over these records.

The American people need to know if the Obama administration has decided to flout our immigration laws (again) by enacting stealth amnesty for illegal aliens who are unlawfully here in the United States. And, as always, stonewalling by the “transparent” Obama administration suggests it has something to hide.

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