Monday, July 13, 2009

Homeland Security--287g and E-Verify

Under the U.S. Constitution, one of the government's principal responsibilities is to insure domestic tranquility. Does this DHS policy change help accomplish that important constitutional objective?
The Department of Homeland Security said Friday [July 10] it was revising a program that authorized local police to enforce federal immigration law -- a controversial aspect of U.S. border policy.
Opponents said the program, known as 287g, was intended to identify criminal aliens but instead has led to racial profiling; it allowed local police to identify and arrest illegal immigrants for such minor infractions as a broken tail light. Program supporters said it has been an effective tool for combating illegal immigration.
The new guidelines sharply reduce the ability of local law enforcement to arrest and screen suspected illegal immigrants. They are intended to prevent sheriff and police departments from arresting people "for minor offenses as a guise to initiate removal proceedings," according to Homeland Security. The program will instead focus on more serious criminals.
Sorry to be repetitive, but this policy change will make America safer and more secure how?

Now for some good news about the rule of law in the workplace in connection with the previously scuttled E-Verify program:
The Senate on Wednesday [July 8] agreed to permanently adopt a program for verifying the immigration status of those seeking work in the United States, previewing what could be a fight over revamping the troubled immigration system this year.
The Senate agreed to make permanent the voluntary "E-Verify" program as part of a $42.9 billion bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal 2010.
The Obama administration had sought only a two-year extension of the program, which uses Social Security numbers and immigration records to verify immigration status.
The House could still perform some legislative mischief when the bill goes to the conference committee, so stay tuned.

Sotomayor Confirmation Hearings: Must Avoid TV?

Since it's a done deal, there seems to be little reason to watch the Sotomayor confirmation hearings either live or on replay. Unless there are some interesting fireworks, it will just be more political theater--and boring at that. Better off watching Animal Planet or NatGeo. One thing is for sure: she will be treated with far more civility by the opposition in stark contrast to the horrible ordeal that Judge Bork, and Justices Thomas, Roberts, and Alito were forced to undergo. And unlike Miguel Estrada, whose federal court nomination was unfairly filibustered by the Democrats into oblivion despite his compelling personal story and superb credentials, she will get an up-or-down vote. [Then-senator Obama voted against both Roberts and Alito, and supported the Estrada filibuster.]

We've already proposed a a few questions to ask the judge. However, Stuart Taylor of the National Journal again does some excellent work in connection with the judge's questionable role in the Ricci appeals court decision:
For all the publicity about the Supreme Court's 5-4 reversal of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's decision (with two colleagues) to reject a discrimination suit by a group of firefighters against New Haven, Conn., one curious aspect of the case has been largely overlooked.
That is the likelihood that but for a chance discovery by a fourth member of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, the now-triumphant 18 firefighters (17 white and one Hispanic) might well have seen their case, Ricci v. DeStefano, disappear into obscurity, with no triumph, no national publicity and no Supreme Court review.
The reason is that by electing on Feb. 15, 2008, to dispose of the case by a cursory, unsigned summary order, Judges Sotomayor, Rosemary Pooler and Robert Sack avoided circulating the decision in a way likely to bring it to the attention of other 2nd Circuit judges, including the six who later voted to rehear the case....
But the case came to the attention of one judge, Jose Cabranes, anyway, through a report in the New Haven Register. It quoted a complaint by Karen Lee Torre, the firefighters' lawyer, that she had expected "'a reasoned legal opinion,' instead of an unpublished summary order, 'on what I saw as the most significant race case to come before the Circuit Court in 20 years.'"
According to 2nd Circuit sources, Cabranes, who lives in New Haven, saw the article and looked up the briefs and the earlier ruling against the firefighters by federal district judge Janet Arterton. He decided that this was a very important case indeed, and made a rare request for the full 2nd Circuit to hold an en banc rehearing.
Cabranes, like Sotomayor a Clinton appointee of Puerto Rican heritage -- and once a mentor to her -- was outvoted by 7-6, with the more liberal judges (including Sotomayor) in the majority. But by publishing a blistering June 12, 2008, dissent Cabranes brought the case forcefully to the attention of the Supreme Court.

Politicized Intelligence Gathering

NationalReview online's Andrew McCarthy calls the blogosphere's attention to the following:
"Had [President Bush's Warrantless Surveillance Program]" been in place before the [9/11] attacks, hijackers Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi almost certainly would have been identified and located."
Another Friday night, another dump by the Obama administration of a report underscoring the vital importance of President Bush's post-9/11 national security tactics.
The above quote about Midhar and Hazmi and is from Gen. Michael Hayden, the former CIA director who was director of the NSA when that agency ran Bush's "Terrorist Surveillance Program." It is a bombshell mentioned in passing on page 31 of the 38-page report filed by five executive-branch inspectors general (from DOJ, DOD, CIA, NSA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) pursuant to Congress's 2008 overhaul of FISA (the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).
The full report can be found here. In the meantime, AG Holder floats a trial balloon:
Contrary to White House wishes, Attorney General Eric Holder may push forward with a criminal investigation into the Bush administration's harsh interrogation practices used on suspected terrorists.
Holder is considering whether to appoint a prosecutor and will make a final decision within the next few weeks, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on a pending matter.
A move to appoint a criminal prosecutor is certain to stir partisan bickering that could create a distraction to President Barack Obama's efforts to push ambitious health care and energy reform.
As we have asked on this blog repeatedly, what is the end game here? This witch hunt/show trial--a stimulus package for lawyers and bureaucrats--will make America safer and stronger how? To some extent, this potential inquiry, and trotting out tired allegations against Cheney, seems like a feeble way to distract the American people away from the Obama administration's failed economic policies. This is a swerve: In general, no one other than the out-of-touch beltway pundits and law school professors cares about any of this.

Memo to Holder and other Obama functionaries: The average American living in the real world cares about whether he or she is going to get pink slipped at work, or how much it costs to fill up their gas tank, or sadly, what's the latest with Paris, Britney, or Lindsay. Actually, spending billions of taxpayer money on a so-called stimulus--that seems to call for an criminal investigation.