Even as the GOP prepares to cave in to the Democrats in the Senate on executive amnesty, the Obama administration has been quietly “readjusting” expectations and cancelling some plans which were in place to implement the plan. At the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office, planned hiring of new staff to process all of the newly welcomed “undocumented residents” have been tabled.
The Homeland Security Department quietly canceled one of its major amnesty contracts after a judge’s ruling against the program last week, but officials have struggled to explain how they are complying otherwise even as the administration filed an appeal Monday asking that it be allowed to begin processing applications immediately.
Republicans on Capitol Hill searched for an honorable retreat from a fight over homeland security funding that could cast blame on them for a second partial government shutdown in 17 months.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s lieutenants struggle to figure out how to live up to Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s ruling.
If you go to the home page of the USCIS today you will see the following banner at the top.
Following that banner we find a letter from Jeh Johnson which strikes a sad tone and informs everyone that the expected programs are indeed on hold.
I strongly disagree with Judge Hanen’s decision to temporarily enjoin implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it.
Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA tomorrow, February 18, as originally planned. Until further notice, we will also suspend the plan to accept requests for DAPA.
But Johnson doesn’t stop there. He goes on to point out that he can still essentially ignore the laws as he sees fit through the usual dodge of setting priorities.
It is important to emphasize what the District Court’s order does not affect.
The Court’s order does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA pursuant to the guidelines established in 2012.
Nor does the Court’s order affect this Department’s ability to set and implement enforcement priorities. The priorities established in my November 20, 2014 memorandum entitled “Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants” remain in full force and effect. Pursuant to those enforcement priorities, we continue to prioritize public safety, national security, and border security.
That last bit left me curious, as I had not read the memo in question before. You can read the memo here. (pdf format) In it, the Secretary lays out his own view of prioritizing prosecution and removal of illegal aliens. It’s all cloaked in the mantle of being responsible with the people’s money and applying asserts in the “smartest” way possible, but the underlying message is clear. For example, when it comes to “prosecutorial discretion” in deciding who should or should not be bothered by ICE, the quicker the agents exercise said discretion and pass them by, the better.
Read through the document. Of particular interest are the three categories of illegal aliens and how officers should “prioritize” them. Johnson is basically saying that they need to go after anyone who is a cartel member, a terrorist or a repeat violent felon. Everyone else falls into category 3, where agents are directed to determine if they might qualify for asylum or some “other form of relief.” And even if they don’t, they should ignore them if they use their own judgement and determine that “the alien is not a threat to the integrity of the immigration system or there are other factors suggesting the alien should not be an enforcement priority.”
What does that even mean?