Fourteen hundred pages of recently uncovered calendar records from high-ranking officials at the Obama Administration reveal just how many resources and time the administration will spend trying to push through its immigration policies, including executive amnesty.
A tied 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court vote left a lower court’s decision blocking President Obama’s executive amnesty program in place. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is looking into options to challenge the latest court action which leaves a halt to the November 2014 executive amnesty order, as Breitbart Texas reported on June 28 in an article by Managing Director Brandon Darby.
Officials engaged in a year-and-a-half-long court battle when Texas led twenty-five other states in fighting the unlawful executive action. Just released calendar records from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (attached below) detail every meeting that Secretaries Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson took part in between January 2013 to January 2016. These show just how much time and effort this federal administration will use to further their immigration agenda.
Over 1,400 pages of records were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request after the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) made a request for these records. The documents provide a behind-the-scenes look into Obama’s major second term amnesty-push and importantly show just how committed he was, with or without Congress, to force through his open borders agenda. Among other things, the meetings during this period show that DHS recruited some of the top legal minds in the open borders movement creating an inner-circle within the agency that worked continuously with Secretary Jeh Johnson on amnesty and immigration.
Obama told amnesty advocates and the public that his “hands were tied” and he was “bound by the Constitution” and the “separation of powers” on deferring deportations en masse. Yet, it appears that in the background DHS was working on building its legal justification for applying blanket amnesty by executive fiat, and on maintaining its immigration programs. Breitbart News reported in January 2015 that then-House Speaker John Boehner took to the House Floor and quoted each of the twenty-two times the president said he did not have the authority to unilaterally change the nation’s immigration laws.
Looking through the hundreds of pages of these records reveals that DHS Secretary Johnson scheduled hundreds of meetings with agency officials and White House staff who have long histories in pushing for open borders. Notably, the list shows former La Raza lobbyist and current top Obama amnesty-advisor, Cecilia Munoz, as being a dominant fixture at the DHS. Along with her former La Raza colleague, Felicia Escobar, another White House counselor, she attended meetings with Secretary Johnson almost twenty times.
An article published on March 4, 2015 by Law360 entitled, “Top White House And DHS Officials Attys Need To Know,” introduces in one article, the key officials in the White House and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who “With the Obama Administration [are] working overtime to breathe life into the president’s immigration actions.”
In early February 2015 after a lawsuit had been filed, Munoz told the press that the Obama administration was “very confident” that the President’s actions were within his constitutional authority. She added, “we are looking forward to implementing them, and those plans are well underway.”
Most of the top immigration meetings took place along with two core immigration-advisers to the secretary, Esther Olavarria and Serena Hoy. Before joining DHS as immigration policy chiefs, Olavarria served as the chief counsel on immigration policy for notorious open-borders-pusher, Senator Ted Kennedy. Hoy served as a top immigration adviser to Senator Harry Reid. The two immigration experts met with Secretary Johnson numerous times a month, together accounting for almost 250 meetings with him on matters related to amnesty and immigration.
Another key DHS immigration policy official is David Shahoulian, an experienced immigration attorney and former senior aide to top Democrat amnesty-pusher Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). Lofgren has practiced and taught immigration law. Shahoulian appears nearly 100 times in meetings with Secretary Johnson, again, on matters related either to amnesty or immigration. Olavarria, Hoy and Shahoulian were used by the Obama administration in an attempt to implement his DAPA executive amnesty agenda (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents).
Also noticeable is Secretary Johnson’s consultation with notorious open-borders law professor, Stephen Legomsky. Legomsky penned a Wall Street Journal OP-ED praising Obama’s second executive amnesty almost immediately after it was announced and co-authored an open letter along with other open-borders law professors attempting to justify the president’s action. He has also published books on immigration law with Cristina Rodriguez, who, while at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel, authored a legal memo that purported to justify the constitutionality of Obama’s 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) amnesty. Just before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to keep the freeze on Obama’s amnesty program on November 9, 2015, records show that Secretary Johnson and his amnesty-team met with Legomsky on three separate occasions, most likely to talk about litigation strategy and DAPA-alternatives.
One can also see immigration meetings in the schedules, being clustered around key dates between 2013 and 2015. From May 1, 2013, just after the Gang of Eight’s bill was introduced, and November 17, 2014, just before the DAPA executive order dropped when Johnson was secretary, the secretaries met with core immigration staff no less than 45 times for so-called “CIR” meetings. “CIR’ is short for “comprehensive immigration reform,” a well-known euphemism for amnesty. The meetings, however, appear to taper off following the electoral defeat of key amnesty-pusher Eric Cantor in June 2014. One week later on June 18, Johnson had a meeting or call with House Speaker John Boehner. They likely discussed that Boehner and Congressman Paul Ryan simply could not afford to keep pushing a amnesty bill in the House. These records also show the phone calls and meetings that Secretary Napolitano had with “Gang of Eight” members Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) when they were trying to push their bill.
On July 3, 2014, Secretary Johnson convened a meeting titled “CIR/Legal Authority” combining all the key open-borders legal minds of the administration, including Olavarria, Hoy, Shahoulian and Karl Remón Thompson, a former aide to Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) and the head of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel. Only months following this meeting, Thompson would go on to author the DOJ’s official legal opinion that purported to justify DAPA’s constitutionality. The arguments raised in the opinion would later form the DOJ’s main arguments in the Texas litigation. At this point we can see that the failure of congressional amnesty was treated as just a very small part in their open-borders plans.
It should be noted that on August 6, 2014, one month after this “CIR/Legal authority” meeting took place, Obama stated in a public speech that he was in fact “bound by the Constitution,” does not “have a green light” to commit to executive amnesty, and that his “preference in all these instances is to work with Congress.” What eventuated, of course, was the president’s DAPA announcement on executive amnesty, which dropped on November 20, 2014.
Interestingly, hereafter the calendar entries for what had been regular “CIR Meetings” appear to be re-titled as “EIR meetings,” which likely stands for “Executive Immigration Reform.” These meetings, however, do become noticeably less frequent, occurring only four times in 2015. This is no doubt due to the well-planned legal challenge mounted by the Texas Attorney General’s office and the drubbing the DOJ took by the judge throughout the ensuing year in federal court (complete with numerous ethics violations for misrepresentations).
The institute that procured these documents, the Immigration Reform Law Institute or “IRLI,” describes itself as “a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative and predatory effects of unlawful immigration and ungoverned legal immigration.” The Institute has provided representation in a long and wide-array of cases.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.
DHS Secretaries Napolitano and Johnson’s Calendar Records 2013-2015 Obtained by IRLI
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