By Columnist Jim Kouri
A scathing report by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed on Tuesday that President Barack Obama and his administration broke federal law when thousands of illegal aliens – including upwards of 600 criminal aliens – were released.
The DHS’s internal watchdog said that the Obama administration’s “poor planning and bad leadership” are key factors that have led to the Mexico-Texas crisis that is dividing the nation and causing political posturing among politicians of both parties.
What many find especially troubling in the report is that DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directorate provided “faulty” – some would argue misleading – information to both houses of the U.S. Congress especially about the illegal alien releases. The ICE officials blamed the threatened budget sequester rather than the agency’s own budget pressures, according to the Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth.
The release of the report on Tuesday brought immediate condemnation by members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Two U.S. Senators – one from Arizona, the other from Oklahoma – blamed the higher-echelon ICE officials for the obvious failures and the even more obvious covering up of those failures.
“In this single action, ICE undermined its own credibility, the rule of law and the safety of Americans and local law enforcement,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who had requested an Inspector General’s investigation and report. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had also requested that Roth probe the allegations of unlawful release of illegal aliens into American society.
“This report provides more evidence that our nation’s immigration laws are being flagrantly disregarded. Americans need to be assured the problems within ICE that led to the dangerous release of illegal aliens will be fixed and DHS and ICE will never again violate the law by releasing known criminals into our streets,” Mr. Coburn said in his official response.
The tsunami of illegal alien “children” and families entering the United States has put the issue of illegal immigration front and center during the upcoming mid-term elections. While Democrats feel the issue helps them hold on to the Latino vote, the majority of Americans in both parties are dissatisfied with the the Obama administration’s attempt at sneaking future Democratic Party voters into the U.S., according to critics.
While Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson talks about detaining and deporting the tens of thousands of illegal aliens from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, they continue to flood into Texas.
“While Obama, his administration and the DHS secretary tell the American people the border is secure and the majority those illegally entering the U.S. will be deported, they’re moving the children – some of whom are wearing gang tattoos and insignia – into new facilities,” said former police investigator Iris Aquino, herself a Hispanic citizen.
“The ICE official have quietly freed illegal aliens from detention facilities with DAT’s to appear on a future date at a federal immigration hearing. My guess is most of them will just tear up the DAT’s and not show up,” Aquino said.
In police jargon, a DAT is a desk appearance ticket that bears a return date and information regarding the hearing process.
According to the inspector general’s report, from Feb. 9 through March 1, 2013, ICE allowed over 2,200 illegal aliens, in spite of the fact that close 625 of them possessed criminal histories which included 34 felons convicted of serious crimes.
Once the releases were leaked to the media and the public, ICE agents were ordered to find the criminal aliens and re-arrest as many as possible. ICE reported that agents apprehended 54 offenders who had lesser felonies or multiple misdemeanors and four offenders who had a misdemeanor conviction.
However, the IG investigators have still provided “cover” for ICE officials by declaring they didn’t realize the agency was breaking the law by its release program until they were told by Republican congressional staffers. In their official reply, ICE officials claimed that not only are they committed to addressing but that they are already involved in correcting “irregularities.”