Documents confirm Obama administration’s ‘catch and release’ immigration policy 

Well, what do you know. Obama administration officials at the Department of Homeland Security deliberately misled Congress when they denied using “selective enforcement” to deport convicted criminals in the U.S. illegally. Their much-criticized “catch and release” policy was confirmed by documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents “show that the Obama administration is implementing ‘stealth amnesty’ which is an end-run around the rule of law and Congress,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.

Contrary to administration claims that convicted criminals were being deported just as fast as DHS got them, the released documents show that local immigration officials were in fact being given what Judicial Watch describes as “wide latitude” to dismiss federal immigration charges –even against criminals convicted of violent crimes such as sexual assault, solicitation of murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, drug possession and assaulting a police officer.

They were then released back into the same American communities they violated, where they were free to prey on new victims. 

One example: A June 30, 2010 memo from John Morton, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Enforcement, instructs all ICE employees to use discretion in “prioritizing” deportation cases. As a result, Houston ICE increased its dismissals of deportation cases by 40 percent, earning praise from ICE headquarters.

“If the crime is remote in time and the alien has a substantial number of equities, all factors will be weighed to determine if an exercise of PD [prosecutorial discretion] is appropriate,” wrote Gary Goldman, chief counsel for Houston ICE, in a Aug. 12, 2010 memo. “ICE Senior Leadership does not want their attorneys to merely fill a seat in immigration court and blindly prosecute every case handed to them.  The current administration wants attorneys of greater sophistication, independence and complexity in decision making…”

The current administration may want “sophistication”, but the American people want convicted foreign criminals kicked out of the U.S.A.

Another example: ICE officials in Pennsylvania advised police to release three illegal immigrants charged with speeding, driving without a license, insurance or registration under false identification

This is strikingly similar to ICE’s refusal to deport Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who was subsequently charged with killing one nun and critically injuring two others last August in Prince William County in a drunk driving accident. Martinelly-Montano was allowed to remain in the U.S. despite two previous DUI convictions.

After critics in the media, including The Examiner, criticized ICE’s “catch and release” policy, Morton sent out another memo dated June 17, 2011 further defining the term “prosecutorial discretion.” 

“In basic terms, prosecutorial discretion is the authority of an agency charged with enforcing a law to decide to what degree to enforce the law against a particular individual,” Morton writes.  In other words, the identity of the foreign offender – not the crime itself – determines whether or not the criminal is deported.

As Fitton points out, this is exactly the selective enforcement that the Obama administration claimed it was not doing.

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