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Archive for December 11th, 2008

Illegal Immigrants Clean Homeland Security Sec. Chertoff’s Home

Under the category of “You’ve Got To Be Kidding” comes the latest: Illegal immigrants cleaned Homeland Sec. Michael Chertoff’s home.

Sec. Michael Chertoff/dhs photo

Sec. Michael Chertoff/dhs photo

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Every few weeks for nearly four years, the Secret Service screened the IDs of employees for a Maryland cleaning company before they entered the house of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation’s top immigration official.
The company’s owner says the workers sailed through the checks — although some of them turned out to be illegal immigrants.
Now, owner James D. Reid finds himself in a predicament that he considers especially confounding. In October, he was fined $22,880 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators said he failed to check identification and work documents and fill out required I-9 verification forms for employees, five of whom he said were part of crews sent to Chertoff’s home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented.
“Our people need to know,” said the Montgomery County businessman. “Our Homeland Security can’t police their own home. How can they police our borders?”

For Full Story

Other Stories of Interest

Gov Lawyer Tells Supreme Court That Mueller and Ashcroft Shouldn’t be Part of Arab Muslim Suit (Washington Post)

FBI Says Company Fraud Caused Consumers to Pay More For Tomato-based Products Like Sauces (San Francisco Chronicle)

Homeland Security Responds to Post Story on Illegal Immigrants Cleaning Chertoff’s Home

Russ Knocke
Department of Homeland Security spokesman
WASHINGTON — Every contractor in the United States has the responsibility of ensuring their workers are legal. As customers, the Chertoffs obtained assurances from Mr. Reid that any personnel he dispatched to their home were authorized to work in the United States.
As soon as the Chertoffs learned that Mr. Reid deceived them by employing some unauthorized workers, they fired him. Further, Secretary Chertoff recused himself from any involvement in immigration enforcement actions that could follow.
The United States Secret Service maintains a round the clock security presence at the residences of protectees, and screens individuals who enter a residence or have business to conduct on the property.
This matter illustrates the need for comprehensive immigration reform, and the importance of effective tools for companies to determine the lawful status of their workforce.
More 91,000 employers have enrolled in E-verify, and there were more than 6.6 million workers checked last year. E-verify is free, fast and available online for employers. It is unfortunate that Mr. Reid did not acknowledge his own personal responsibility and check the eligibility of his work force.”

Sen. Specter Wants to Slow Atty. Gen. Confirmation of Holder; Cites Concerns About Marc Rich Pardon

The prevailing wisdom is that Eric Holder will be confirmed as the new Attorney General come early 2009. But the prevailing wisdom is also that some Republicans will give him a hard time over the pardon of the infamous Marc Rich.

Sen. Leahy supports Eric Holder (left)/official photo

Sen. Leahy supports Eric Holder (left)/official photo

By J. Taylor Rushing
The Hill
WASHINGTON — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, wants to slow down the process of confirming Eric Holder attorney general, citing lingering concerns about the nominee’s role in the 2001 pardon of Marc Rich.
Specter said his concerns do not suggest he would oppose Holder, but said starting the hearings before Jan. 26 is “not realistic or fair.”
Earlier this week Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) set a Jan. 8 confirmation hearing date for Holder and said he would like the nominee confirmed by the time President-elect Obama takes office on Jan. 20.
“There are questions which have to be inquired,” Specter, a former Philadelphia district attorney, said.
Specter said he has drawn no conclusions about Holder’s role in the pardon of Rich, but cited lingering political fallout from the controversial tenure of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the need to ensure the department stays nonpolitical.
For Full Story

UPDATE: 4:10 p.m. Friday: Sen. Leahy Says He Won’t Give in To GOP and Delay Hearing (Huffington Post)

Three Men Convicted in N.J. Bank Heist That Ended With an FBI Agent Fatally Shooting Another Agent

Another senseless tragedy for the FBI. The only upside for the bureau: the men in the robbery were convicted Wednesday.

By Matthew Reilly
The Newark Star-Ledger
TRENTON, N.J. — Three young New Brunswick men, whose bank robbery spree ended in an incident in which FBI agent Barry Lee Bush was shot and killed by another agent, were convicted today of conspiracy and various bank robbery and weapons charges in U.S. District Court in Trenton.
Wilfredo Berrios, Efrain Lynn and Francisco Herrera-Genao, all in their 20s and from New Brunswick, were not charged in connection with Bush’s death outside a PNC Bank in the Whitehouse section of Readington Township on April 5, 2007, but all three were found guilty guilty on charges that will put them behind bars for decades.
“This is a tragic story in a number of respects,” said Jacob Elberg, who helped prosecute the case. “The good thing today is we finally reached a conclusion. Much of what happened here today reflects the impressive work the FBI did in tracking this group down and catching them in the act before they could do what they had done four times before.”
Berrios, Lynn and Herrara-Genao were charged with robbing banks in Piscataway, East Brunswick, Ocean Township and South Brunswick before they were arrested.
For Full Story

Justice Dept. Refuses to Give Obama Team Classified Legal Opinions Linked to CIA and NSA Programs

No surprise, the Bush administration is reluctant to share classified legal opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel with the Obama team. The big question is: how can they really justify it?

Joe Palazzolo
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — A senior Justice Department official said Tuesday that “99.8 percent” of the department’s work with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team has gone smoothly. The 0.2 percent snag: The department has reservations about granting the team’s request to review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs.
In a roundtable discussion with reporters last week, Attorney General Michael Mukasey declined to discuss specific requests made by transition staff regarding opinions issued by the Office of Legal Counsel, the arm of the Justice Department that provides legal advice to the president and all other executive branch agencies.
The Justice official said the dispute over access to the NSA and CIA opinions has made its way up to Williams & Connolly’s Gregory Craig, who earlier this month was named to be Obama’s White House counsel. Craig was expected to meet with current White House counsel Fred Fielding to discuss the issue, the official said. It’s unclear whether such a meeting has already taken place. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Justice official said the department was reluctant to provide the opinions to Obama’s team without permission from the two intelligence agencies whose activities they address. At the roundtable, Mukasey said OLC opinions are issued at the request of other agencies with their “own equity or interest in the information.”

For Full Story

Adovocate Group in Fla. Accuses ICE of Using Excessive Force During Raids

Did ICE agents use excessive force? An advocacy group says yes.

BY TRENTON DANIEL
Miami Herald
MIAMI— A coalition of immigrant advocates is demanding that the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami investigate the arrests of dozens of Mexicans and Guatemalans taken into custody as undocumented immigrants last month during a raid targeting a separate group of alleged sex-trade traffickers in Homestead.
The advocates, along with local community leaders, say the 42 Mexicans and 35 Guatemalans — who were not involved in sex-trade trafficking — were rounded up Nov. 19 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They accused ICE agents of using excessive force when they took the foreign nationals into custody.
For Full Story

Late Nite Comics Give it to Gov. Blagojevic