FAIR Files FOIA Request Seeking Information About Sweeping Administrative Changes in Immigration Enforcement
(Washington, DC - August 26, 2011) In response to sweeping changes in the enforcement of U.S. immigration policy announced August 18 by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is seeking detailed information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) about how the policy changes were formulated and how they will be executed.
On August 18, the Obama administration announced that it would no longer carry out enforcement in what it termed low-priority immigration cases. In a statement on the White House website and in a letter from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to Democrat Senators, the Administration classified broad classes of immigration law violators as low-priority. The Secretary stated that some 300,000 pending deportation cases would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with an eye toward dismissal of all that do not involve aliens who have been convicted of aggravated felonies, or pose other security dangers.
In a letter to Secretary Napolitano, Dan Stein, president of FAIR, sought clarification about how the Administration proceeded to make sweeping policy changes without congressional authorization; the cost in money and manpower to carry out the administrative changes; the impact of these changes on American workers, taxpayers and state and local governments; the role of non-governmental organizations in formulating the policy directives, and other issues.
“The announcements made last week by the White House and DHS amount to a radical change in our nation’s immigration policy,” state Stein. “These changes were made without approval by Congress – in fact, in direct contradiction to numerous laws enacted by Congress. The American people have a right to know on what legal basis the Administration is asserting such broad discretionary power.
“The immigration laws that the Administration has declared it will no longer enforce were designed to protect the jobs and tax dollars of Americans. As such, the American public has a compelling interest in knowing the likely consequences of the Administration’s decision to abandon enforcement of those laws,” continued Stein.
The policy changes appear to have been the direct consequence of White House and DHS meetings with outside groups identified as “stakeholders” in U.S. immigration policy. Without exception, every one of these “stakeholders” is on record in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. “The American people have a right to know who is making their immigration policies. Clearly it is not Congress, which is vested with the exclusive constitutional authority to legislate immigration policy. Drastic changes have been made to U.S. immigration policy. It is critical to our democratic process for Americans to know exactly how those changes were influenced by groups representing illegal aliens and cheap labor businesses.”