Via Fox News:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 68,000 foreign nationals who had criminal convictions and charges last year instead of pursuing deportation, according to newly uncovered documents — a statistic one senator said represents an enforcement “crisis.”
The internal documents were obtained and published by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates stricter immigration enforcement. According to the documents and the group’s analysis, ICE agents reported encountering 193,000 “criminal aliens” in 2013, but only targeted 125,000 for deportation.
A total of 67,879 were released.
CIS called it a “large-scale abuse of authority.”
“The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities,” study author Jessica Vaughan said in a statement. “It’s not a matter of if, but how many families will suffer harm as a result.”
The “criminal aliens” category includes both those charged with and convicted of crimes in the U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement accused CIS of distorting the numbers, and claimed that some of them could represent minor offenses. Further, the agency said a total of 216,000 “convicted criminals” were removed in 2013.
“ICE is focused on the removal of criminal aliens,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “The percentage of criminals removed continues to rise. Nearly 60 percent of ICE’s total removals had been previously convicted of a criminal offense, and that number rises to 82 percent for individuals removed from the interior of the U.S. The removal of criminal individuals is and will remain ICE’s highest priority.”
The ICE documents did not break down the types of criminal activity that those allowed to stay in the country had been convicted of. But a 2012 report by House Republicans tracked 26,000 illegal and criminal immigrants who were re-arrested, and found they were tied to 58,000 crimes and violations — much of them drunken-driving arrests, but also major criminal offenses like murder and rape.
The latest statistics challenge repeated claims by the administration that, when weighing whether to pursue deportation, they are prioritizing cases where the illegal immigrant in question has been convicted of a crime.
Indeed, the documents show that those with a criminal record are far more likely to be targeted for deportation than those without one. But they also show the agency is letting thousands who have a criminal record off the hook.
The CIS report said factors such as “family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups” are likely helping to “trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation.”
The report further deepens concerns about the course of an ongoing internal review of the administration’s enforcement and deportation policies. Groups like CIS have warned that this could chip away at an enforcement structure that already has been weakened.
“The preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that immigration enforcement in America has collapsed,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said. “Even those with criminal convictions are being released. [The Department of Homeland Security] is a department in crisis.”
Earlier this month, a DHS spokesman said the internal review of immigration enforcement is a process that is “ongoing” and will be done “expeditiously.”
“Since taking office, the secretary has made clear that he shares the president’s commitment of enforcing our immigration laws effectively and sensibly, in line with our values,” the spokesman said. “As part of that effort he has been taking a hard look at these tough issues, meeting with a range of stakeholders and employees and already has been assessing if there are areas where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice that prioritizes public safety.”
CIS also reported that in 2013, ICE charged just 195,000 of the 722,000 “potentially deportable aliens” they encountered.
Further, the agency reported more than 870,000 illegal immigrants have been ordered removed but have remained in the country anyway.
The Obama administration has been helping to facilitate a series of events nationwide at Mexican Consulate offices to enroll people in Obamacare – and a key activist says the efforts are “our responsibility” regardless of citizenship.
“Whether they’re Mexican nationals or whether they’re United States citizens or whether they’re in transition– and if they’re there it is our responsibility within all of America to educate on the Affordable Care Act,” Enroll America Field Organizer Jose Medrano told Breitbart News on Wednesday.
Health Care insurance navigator groups hosted an Obamacare enrollment fair on Tuesday in the Mexican Consulate’s Brownsville office, The Rio Grande Guardian reported last Friday, where Mexican nationals among others were counseled about enrolling in the ACA.
“The Mexican consulate is a very reliable source of information to the Latino community. And therefore when they host their events, yesterday being the health fair, there are several hundred people that show up,” Medrano said.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), undocumented immigrants aren’t supposed to be receiving government-run health benefits or subsidized coverage. However, President Barack Obama told Latinos in early March that the Healthcare.gov website would not be used to find out about an individual’s immigration status.
“None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services,” he said.
According to Medrano, 101 families were represented at the ACA enrollment and education fair at the Brownsville Mexican Consulate on Tuesday and about 60 percent of them spoke to a health care counselor. Medrano says that the consulate’s office is helpful “as part of the transition” to “mainstream… America.”
This is not the first time the Mexican Consulate has been used to enroll individuals into Obamacare. Get Covered Illinois announced in late February that the Erie Family Health Center hoped to increase its enrollment numbers at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, The Sun Times reported.
According to Vegas Seven, in Nevada, the Latino community is being targeted for ACA enrollment at the Mexican Consulate in downtown Las Vegas. Insurance News says Hispanic National Advocacy groups like National Alliance for Hispanic Health have helped lead the push to get more Latinos enrolled in Obamacare.
“Promoting Obamacare at a Mexican consulate raises three major policy concerns,” Stephen Miller, a spokesman for top immigration hawk Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart News.
“One, the possibility that illegal immigrants could fraudulently access federal subsidies; two, that such promotions provide a financial inducement to unlawfully enter the U.S. (or overstay a visa) by offering households headed by illegal immigrants federal subsidies through their legal relatives or dependents; and three, that these activities widen an existing flaw in our legal admissions process by continuing to subvert the principle that those seeking to lawfully enter the US should be financially self-sufficient,” Miller said.
Mexican Consulates have been used previously to advance USDA assistance programs like food stamps to Mexican nationals, The Daily Caller reported in July of 2012. Mexico promoted the program to 50 of its consular offices in the U.S.
In 2012, ranking members of the Senate Budget, Finance, Judiciary, and Agriculture Committees wrote an oversight letter to Secretaries Napolitano and Clinton that said in part:
The [Immigration and Nationality Act] specifically states: ‘An alien who… is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.’ … We were thus shocked to discover that both the State Department and DHS exclude reliance on almost all governmental welfare programs when evaluating whether an alien is likely to become a public charge… Under your interpretation, an able-bodied immigrant of working age could receive the bulk of his or her income in the form of federal welfare and still not be deemed a ‘public charge.’”
Medrano, however, said the Mexican Consulate is a trusted source of information for Latinos, who use “those who they relied on for good information” in the past.
“So many of these, of course, while they are U.S. citizens have very strong ties to the consulate in terms of news and information and events and things like that,” he said.
He added, “And also, it was a health fair. The Mexican consulate was providing a community health fair and as part of that, they asked us to come in, because that was the tie in.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been taking time out of her schedule to push for more ACA enrollment within the Lone Star state. She has made at least four visits to Texas for ACA outreach and enrollment and education related events since December 20, 2013.
“I’m sure [she was aware],” Medrano said when asked if Sebelius knew about the event at the Mexican Consulate. “We put our events in a database that several organizations are connected to at mainly HHS, so they are fully aware of who was here.”
Medrano says that Sebelius has not visited South Texas yet but Obama Small Business Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez did make an appearance at the consulate during the fair and “met with the consul so it was an event that was driven by that presence as well.” Olivarez also made a visit that day to the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce to promote SBA programs.
Olivares told Brownsville’s Action 4 News, “If they don’t meet the deadline they’ve lost the opportunity to have and to have coverage of affordable health care.”
The fair was one of two events (the other was at the McAllen Convention Center) where ACA navigators are scouring the Rio Grande Valley to enroll Latino individuals into the government health care program.
“This organization founded by Gabrielle Giffords, you remember her, the former Arizona congresswoman that Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck suggested should be murdered, the one who was critically wounded in a mass shooting in 2011, she calls it ‘the most extreme gun bill in America.’ The NRA, which they’re behind this of course, they want guns everywhere. Jesus Christ! I would like to invite one of the NRA board members, and I’ll be armed, let’s just get this over with, OK? Come on down to Georgia and I’ll be packing heat and you be packing heat or whether you want to or not, I don’t give a damn, it’s up to you. And you come, meet me someplace, and all of a sudden, see, we have stand your ground here, and all of a sudden I’m going to feel real goddamned threatened by you! And I will shoot you! If I feel threatened. The law says I can! Ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha!”
Via The Los Angeles Times:
Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against state Sen. Leland Yee in court Wednesday, accusing him of conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic firearms.
In all, 26 people, including former school board president Keith Jackson, were indicted on charges related to an extensive crime ring headed by well-known Chinatown figure Raymond Chow, who was also arrested and charged Wednesday.
The indictment alleges Yee and Jackson defrauded “citizens of honest services” and were involved in a scheme to traffic firearms in exchange for thousands in campaign donations to the senator.
Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman — who was actually an undercover FBI agent — agreed to donate thousands to Yee’s campaign fund, according to the indictment.
The indictment also describes an August 2013 exchange in which Jackson told an undercover officer that Yee had an arms trafficking contact. Jackson allegedly said Yee could facilitate a meeting for a donation.
Via the Washington Times:
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Wednesday that he won’t be able to produce all of former Lois G. Lerner’s emails and those of other key employees by the end of this year, pushing it beyond this year’s congressional elections.
In a heated exchange over whether he and his tax agency employees are cooperating in Congress’s investigations into tea party targeting, Mr. Koskinen said the amount of time it will take to look through and redact private information from the could last years.
“What they want is something that’s going to take years to produce,” he told the House Oversight Committee, which six months ago issued a subpoena for Ms. Lerner’s because the IRS wasn’t acting quickly enough.That subpoena remains outstanding and both Republicans and Democrats on the committee said the IRS needs to speed things up.
Ms. Lerner, who used to run the IRS’s division that processed nonprofit applications, has been a key subject of the investigation given emails and other information the committee discovered that, members said, suggested she let her political leanings dictate her official actions.
Mr. Koskinen said his agency was preparing to turn over another 20,000 pages of documents later Wednesday. But he said if Congress wants to change his focus, he could stop that production and send his lawyers back to review other areas.
He said the agency has been focusing on looking at emails related to examinations and other official areas of duty that Ms. Lerner would have been involved in. He said they were using search terms Congress provided to him.
Some Democrats objected to the congressional investigation in the first place, saying it has cost millions of for the IRS to upgrade its computers and to designate staff to review and reply to records requests.
Via the Washington Free Beacon:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said the fault of struggling to sign up on the Obamacare exchanges didn’t lie with the faulty website, but with the people who weren’t “educated on how to use the Internet.”
Explaining the reasoning behind the latest Obamacare delay, Reid said too many people just didn’t know to use their computer properly and needed more time. Apparently, it had nothing to do with the well-documented failings of the website that have embarrassed the White House for months.
“We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up who didn’t get through,” he said. “There are some people who are not like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time. It’s not — the example they gave us is a 63-year-old woman came into the store and said, ‘I almost got it. Every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.’ We have a lot of people just like this through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.”
It’s just the latest strange moment for the embattled Reid, who’s facing an increasingly uphill battle to keep a majority of Democrats in the Senate. Reid also recently implied all Americans telling their stories of Obamacare’s harmful effects were liars, and he has incessantly bashed the Koch Brothers as “un-American” and “against everything that’s good for America.”
Unfortunately for Reid, he has a far higher negative rating with the public than the Kochs.
Via The Telegraph:
The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.
Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.
Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’
At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.
A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person’s name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military.
The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, has already amassed 506.3 million law enforcement records ranging from criminal histories and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred.
LinX is a national information-sharing hub for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It is run by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, raising concerns among some military law experts that putting such detailed data about ordinary citizens in the hands of military officials crosses the line that generally prohibits the armed forces from conducting civilian law enforcement operations.Those fears are heightened by recent disclosures of the National Security Agency spying on Americans, and the CIA allegedly spying on Congress, they say.Eugene Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale Law School, called LinX “domestic spying.”“It gives me the willies,” said Fidell, a member of the Defense Department’s Legal Policy Board and a board member of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War.Fidell reviewed the Navy’s LinX website at the request of the Washington Examiner to assess the propriety of putting such a powerful database under the control of a military police entity.“Clearly, it cannot be right that any part of the Navy is collecting traffic citation information,” Fidell said. “This sounds like something from a third-world country, where you have powerful military intelligence watching everybody.”
Health insurance premiums have risen more after Obamacare than the average premium increases over the eight years before it became law, according to the private health exchange eHealthInsurance.
The individual market for health insurance has seen premiums rise by 39 percent since February 2013, eHealth reports. Without a subsidy, the average individual premium is now $274 a month. Families have been hit even harder with an average increase of 56 percent over the same period — average premiums are now $663 per family, over $426 last year.
Between 2005 and 2013, average premiums for individual plans increased 37 percent and average family premiums were upped 31 percent. So they have risen faster under Obamacare than in the previous eight years.
An important caveat is that eHealth’s prices don’t include subsidies, so the prices for anyone earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be lower. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has repeatedly claimed patients will pay as little as $18 per month, without noting the taxpayer cost.
Premiums are being hiked across the board for several reasons, but the biggest contributor is the Obama administration’s highly touted “essential health benefits,” services that insurers on and off exchanges must provide.
Some benefits, such as emergency and laboratory services, are uncontroversial. But others, like maternity, newborn and pediatric services, are causing headaches for huge swaths of the population that don’t need them. Anyone past childbearing age, single men, the infertile, even nuns — their premiums are rising as well, because their plans must, by law, provide more services.
But premiums aren’t the only key to health care costs — deductibles and out-of-pocket costs like co-pays are also rising. When it comes to employer health plans alone, four out of five U.S. companies have increased deductibles or are considering doing so.
Prices may be people away from purchasing health insurance. The latest survey from consulting firm McKinsey found that half of those who haven’t purchased health insurance yet this year cited their inability to pay the premium.