What Was The Extent of White House Influence on States Supporting Obama’s Immigration Executive Actions?

CONNECTICUT STATE GOVERNMENT MUM THUS FAR

by Sharon Rondeau

Judge Andrew S. Hanen is weighing whether or not to impose sanctions on the U.S. Department of Justice for first claiming that no part of Obama’s executive actions pertaining to illegal aliens had been implemented. Later, the DOJ admitted that more than 100,000 DACA applications had been granted with the expanded deferred status outlined in the new executive actions which have been challenged by 26 states

(Mar. 21, 2015) — On February 16, US District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Andrew Hanen placed a temporary injunction on the implementation of Obama’s executive actions which would allow millions of illegal aliens to avoid deportation for three-year periods if implemented.

Hanen issued his order on narrow grounds, agreeing with the state of Texas that the Obama regime violated the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires a public comment period before a significant change in federal policy can take place.

Obama announced the changes in immigration policy in a speech on November 20, 2014.  A series of memos signed the same day by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson directed three subsidiary agencies to reprioritize deportations and expand deportation relief to participants in Obama’s 2012 program known as DACA from two years to three.

When DACA was implemented, participants had to be younger than 31 years of age and, if found to be eligible, received deferred deportation status for two years.  They also must have been brought to the U.S. by their illegal-alien parents as minors.  Obama’s more recent proposals encompass millions of illegal aliens with relatives approved for DACA or who are otherwise related to legal U.S. resident.

Last month, Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) testified to a congressional committee that “There can be no doubt that immigration enforcement is in a state of collapse. Border apprehensions, which are considered an indicator of illegal crossing attempts, are rising and many of the illegal crossers are being released into the country instead of repatriated. Hundreds of thousands of temporary visitors are overstaying their visas each year. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics show clearly that over the last several years the number of deportations has plummeted and the number of illegal aliens allowed to stay and work in the United States has increased. The vast majority of illegal aliens residing in the interior face no threat of deportation, regardless of when or how they arrived, or if they have been deported before. Many deportable aliens who are encountered and apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are released soon after, even if they have come to ICE’s attention after being arrested by local authorities.”

In 2013, more than 36,000 illegal aliens convicted of violent crimes were released into American communities, and last year, the number was approximately 30,000.

Texas is leading a group of 26 states objecting to the implementation of Obama’s proposed executive actions announced on November 20, 2014. The states claim that they will suffer “irreparable harm” in the form of millions of dollars in additional costs to taxpayers if the plans go forward to grant work permits, Social Security numbers and other benefits to those who would be approved for deferment under a program called “DAPA.”

On January 7, an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the states’ position was filed by the Cato Institute and the Olson Law Firm stating that the Obama regime’s immigration “policy is unconstitutional.”

On February 17, the day following the issuance of Hanen’s injunction, 14 states plus the District of Columbia filed an Amicus Curiae brief advocating the launch of Obama’s proposals.  In addition, 23 mayors from around the country signed a letter of support.  The states which filed the Amicus Curiae are Hawaii, Iowa, Washington, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, California, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware, Maryland and New Mexico.

Also following Hanen’s order, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted, “Due to a federal court order, USCIS will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18 as originally planned. The court’s temporary injunction, issued February 16, does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012. Please check back for updates.”

On March 3, DOJ attorneys filed an “advisory brief” indicating that the “pre-injunction actions” of expanding DACA had been taken but that it “believed” it had “ceased implementation of DAPA and modified DACA…”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took office in January of this year, succeeding Greg Abbott, who campaigned and won the governor’s race

On March 5, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton asked Hanen to grant discovery in regard to the apparent early implementation of at least one element of Obama’s recent executive actions designated by the new proposed program, DAPA.

After asking Hanen to stay his own injunction, which he refused, on February 23, the Obama regime appealed his ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, LA. A request for an expedited hearing was denied by the higher court.

In a hearing on Thursday, Hanen reportedly exhibited visible chagrin at the U.S. Justice Department for having first stated that none of the executive actions’ components had been implemented, when in fact, at the DOJ’s own later admission, approximately 108,000 DACA applicants had been granted the new three-year reprieves.  At the recent hearing, Hanen asked DOJ attorney Kathleen Hartnett if Obama’s word could be trusted, calling himself “an idiot” for having taken the DOJ’s word that no part of the executive actions had been initiated.

In its appeal to the Fifth Circuit, the Department of Justice claimed there was an imminent need to implement Obama’s executive actions in order to protect America’s borders.

On the Mark Levin radio show in late February, two witnesses to three White House conference calls revealed that the Obama regime’s intentions in allowing illegal aliens to remain in the country may go much farther than the stated purpose of keeping families together and growing the economy. On November 21, the White House issued a presidential memorandum describing the establishing of “welcoming communities” for “immigrants and refugees.” During the three conference calls, White House and other operatives described immigrant communities to be created by an influx of between 13 and 15 million new illegals and proposed an executive order changing Thanksgiving Day to “Celebrate Immigrants Day.”

Last November, White House spokesman Eric Schultz stated that the White House had been in regular contact with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in the weeks prior to the response of the state’s National Guard to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown last summer. On November 26, Breitbart News reported:

Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz confirmed that Jarrett received “updates” from Nixon, “promising to stay in close touch” as the situation continued.

However, documents released to The Post & Email under a Missouri Sunshine Law request reveal no email or telephone communications between Nixon’s office and the White House during the month of November.

Almost immediately following the reported murders of 20 young children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Obama made separate visits to the southeastern New England town, with Obama’s visit having been featured in a White House 2012 “Year in Photos” exhibit showing Obama among a group of smiling children.

At the end of the 2013 legislative session, the Connecticut legislature passed a law prohibiting the release of “crime scene photos and video evidence” of homicide victims in general if deemed not to be vital to the public interest.  The bill, P.A. 13-311, states that it protects unknown witnesses to a crime as well as the privacy of family members of murder victims.

In a summary of legislation published in late June 2013, the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission reported:

In the early morning hours of the last day of the session, the General Assembly passed, without a public hearing or debate, a bill that amends the FOI Act and restricts access to certain law enforcement records, visual images of homicide victims and audio recordings.  The proposal arose in response to the horrific tragedy in Newtown and the desire to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
An earlier draft of the proposal (submitted out of the public view to legislators) by the State’s Attorney’s Office was extremely broad in that it would amend the law enforcement exemption of the FOI Act to exempt from disclosure all criminal investigation photographs, films, videotapes, other images or recordings or reports depicting or describing victim or victims.  A later “working draft” narrowed the proposal to apply only to records compiled in connection with the investigation of the Newtown tragedy, including, but not limited, to 9-1-1 calls and death certificates.
After significant outcry from both victim advocates and advocates of open government, the bill was broadened with respect to some records, but narrowed with respect to others.  The bill was broadened to include visual images of and recordings describing the condition of all homicide victims, not just records relating to the Newtown tragedy.  The bill, however, does not apply to 9-1-1 calls, calls for assistance and death certificates.  Audio tapes or other recordings requested after May 7, 2014, are also not covered under the bill.  In addition, with respect to the disclosure of visual images, such images are exempt only if disclosure of the record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the victim or victim’s surviving family members.  Although the new law will most likely give surviving family members the right to keep private the homicide photographs of loved ones, the newly adopted 27th exemption to the FOI Act is not an absolute prohibition on disclosure.
The Commission is concerned with the secret process by which the bill was drafted and negotiated, and the new restrictions on access to public records.  The final outcome, however, could have resulted in greater restrictions on the public’s right to access.
A summary of Public Act 13-311, An Act Limiting the Disclosure of Certain Records of Law Enforcement Agencies and Establishing a Task Force concerning Victim Privacy under the Freedom of Information Act, is attached for your reference.  The new law applies to all requests for records pending on or made on or after June 5, 2013.

Following the Sandy Hook killings, the Newtown Town Clerk denied reporters and other members of the public access to the decedents’ death certificates, citing that legislation prohibiting their release was “pending.”  However, the bill calling for the denial to the public of death certificates of minors did not pass.

An October 2013 summary of Connecticut death certificate law indicates that they remain available to the public, with certain information redacted in specific situations.

The month following the Sandy Hook shootings, the Obama regime announced 23 executive actions purportedly to curb gun violence throughout the nation in the absence of Congress’s passage of new legislation.

At approximately the same time in New York State, new gun legislation was passed after bypassing the customary public comment period. The unpopular New York SAFE Act, purposely or inadvertently, restricted police officers to seven-round magazines and has been protested widely by county sheriffs throughout the state.  Some have said they will not enforce the law, and thousands of citizens have been actively campaigning to repeal it.

The seven-round provision of the SAFE Act was found unconstitutional by a federal judge.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, an Obama appointee, is investigating members of the New York General Assembly to include the “three men in a room” who likely pushed for the SAFE Act’s passage.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is serving his second term after a second close race against Republican Tom Foley

In April 2013, the Connecticut legislature passed, and Gov. Dannel Malloy signed, a new firearms bill which reclassified dozens of firearms as assault weapons. According to the new law, many such firearms required registration with state authorities. In December 2013, photos depicting the mandatory registration which reminded some of gun confiscation in Hitler’s Germany were widely circulated on the Internet.

In February of that year, Obama appointed Malloy to the Council of Governors, “a group of 10 state governors established in 2010 to address matters of national security, homeland defense, synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States and matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard.”

On March 13, The Post & Email submitted a list of questions to the Connecticut Atty. General‘s office as to why Connecticut joined the Amicus Curiae action in support of Obama’s proposed executive actions.  After sending a media inquiry that day and receiving no response, we contacted Malloy’s office, whose spokesman referred us back to the Atty. General.

On the same day, 15 DACA participants were arrested on allegations of felony offenses.

As no response was received from the attorney general, on March 18, The Post & Email submitted a request under the Connecticut FOIA law to both Malloy’s office and that of Atty. Gen. George Jepsen for “All email communications exchanged between and among the office of Connecticut Atty. Gen. George Jepsen, the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and anyone using a whitehouse.gov email address between the dates of November 20, 2014 and March 18, 2015 containing the words ‘immigration reform’ and ‘President Obama.'”

The Connecticut FOIA law states, in part:

Sec. 1-210.  (Formerly Sec. 1-19).  Access to public records.  Exempt records. (a)  Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.  Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights granted by this subsection shall be void.  Each such agency shall keep and maintain all public records in its custody at its regular office or place of business in an accessible place and, if there is no such office or place of business, the public records pertaining to such agency shall be kept in the office of the clerk of the political subdivision in which such public agency is located or of the Secretary of the State, as the case may be.  Any certified record hereunder attested as a true copy by the clerk, chief or deputy of such agency or by such other person designated or empowered by law to so act, shall be competent evidence in any court of this state of the facts contained therein.

Regarding a government agency’s responsibility to provide records, the law states:

Sec. 1-212.  (Formerly Sec. 1-15).  Copies and scanning of public records.  Fees. (a)  Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.

FOIA requests to officials in any state can be made by any member of the public, not necessarily a journalist.

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