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Archive for April 19th, 2017

Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Is Straining Already Backlogged Immigration Cases

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New federal immigration rules under President Trump are placing a heavy burden on Border Patrol agents, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys who already had been swamped.

The USA Today reports that Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, which gives agents more leverage to deport undocumented immigrants, has been strain on “an immigration court system already juggling more than a half-million cases and ill-equipped to take on thousands more.”

“We’re at critical mass,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio immigration attorney who works with juveniles. “There isn’t an empty courtroom. We don’t have enough judges. You can say you’re going to prosecute more people, but from a practical perspective, how do you make that happen?”

The number of backlogged immigration cases have increased from 236,415 in 2010 to 508,036 this year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research group at Syracuse University. 

The Border Patrol also is understaffed and having trouble hiring enough agents.

Other Stories of Interest

AG Jeff Sessions Has Yet to Replace A Single Dismissed U.S. Attorney

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has pledged a more aggressive crackdown on crime and illegal immigrants, has yet to replace a single U.S. attorney after he abruptly forced the resignation of dozens of them more than a month ago.

In all, 47 Obama administration attorneys resigned, and each position is still vacant, the Washington Post reports. Another 46 U.S. attorney positions are unfilled. 

“We really need to work hard at that,” Sessions said when asked Tuesday about the vacancies.

Sessions also has yet to appoint leaders to his top units, including criminal, civil rights and national security divisions.

Without U.S. attorneys, it’s difficult to implement a law enforcement agenda.

Acting U.S. attorneys have taken over temporarily, but that’s far from ideal.

“It’s like trying to win a baseball game without your first-string players on the field,” said former assistant attorney general Ronald Weich, who ran the Justice Department’s legislative affairs division during Obama’s first term.

“There are human beings occupying each of those seats,” Weich, now dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, said of the interim officials. “But that’s not the same as having appointed and confirmed officials who represent the priorities of the administration. And the administration is clearly way behind in achieving that goal.”

Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Stealing FBI Agent’s Gun, Badge, Body Armor

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI special agent in San Diego was shocked last year when he returned to his car after a morning jog and found that his vehicle had been broken into and his gun, ammunition, badges, credentials and body armor were gone.

On March 23, a suspected gang member, Hoang Minh Nguyen, was indicted and remains in jail after pleading guilty, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. 

Nguyen, a suspected member of the Asian Crips, was captured several hours after the theft on May 31, 2016, at the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail, near the FBI’s San Diego headquarters. Authorities used the agent’s cellphone signal to find Nguyen.

The FBI was led to a house where Nguyen was living with his parent.

But gone were the gun, badge, armor, radios and other items. It’s not clear whether those items were ever recovered.

FBI Used Trump Dossier to Bolster Case for Monitoring Advisor on Russia

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI gained approval to secretly monitor a Donald Trump associate after using a dossier of allegations that Russians were conspiring with Trump to help him win the presidential election, U.S. officials told CNN. 

The dossier, which alleges quid-pro-quo deals with Russia, helped the FBI gain approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to track the communications of Carter Page, who served as an advisor to Trump on national security.

U.S. officials said they conducted their own investigation apart from the dossier to conclude that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

CNN wrote:

The dossier alleges that Page met senior Russian officials as an emissary of the Trump campaign, and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election. Page has denied meeting the officials named in the dossier and says he never cut any political deals with the Kremlin.

During the campaign, he traveled to Russia in July, where he gave a lecture critical of US policy toward Russia. That trip drew the attention of the FBI and raised concerns about Page’s contacts with suspected Russian operatives, according to US officials briefed on the matter. Page has said he made the trip independent of the Trump campaign and his speech reflected his own views.

Homeland Security Secretary Lashes Out at Critics of Trump’s Immigration Policies

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly lashed out at lawmakers and critics of President Trump’s aggressive crackdown on undocumented immigrants, saying they should “shut up” or change the country’s deportation laws, the Houston Chronicle reports. 

“If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce – then they should have the courage and skill to change those laws,” Kelly said in a combative speech. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”

Kelly depicted his department as demoralized as the U.S. faces a dangerous world.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “we are a nation under attack.”

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine General, suggested lawmakers have demoralized his workforce with political debates over immigration policies.

“For too long, the men and women of my department have been political pawns,” he said. “They have been asked to do more with less, and less, and less.”