Jessica Vaughan's blog

Director of Policy Studies


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Man Bites Dog: ICE Arrests Deportable Unlicensed Driver

By Jessica Vaughan, January 17, 2013

Last week ICE arrested Roberto Galo, the unlicensed Honduran who killed a young man named Drew Rosenberg in a traffic crash in November 2010, and is detaining him without bond. Galo's arrest is appropriate but, incredibly, despite the fact that Galo repeatedly violated California driving laws and killed someone, ICE had to make an exception to its policies in order to take him into custody and seek his removal. Read more...

New Waiver Shields Sponsored Illegal Aliens From Penalties

By Jessica Vaughan, January 7, 2013

In the latest installment of the Obama administration's "amnesty by executive decree" scheme, DHS has announced the creation of a new waiver that will enable an unknown number of illegal aliens who have married U.S. citizens or who have moved here illegally to join naturalized family members to avoid penalties enacted by Congress in the mid-1990s. Read more...

ICE Cancels Enforcement Agreements with 32 Local Partners

By Jessica Vaughan, December 31, 2012

Last week, ICE quietly announced that it was terminating 32 local enforcement task force partnerships, known as 287(g) agreements, some of which have been operating successfully for as long as ten years. This follows the revocation earlier this year of seven other task force agreements in Arizona. ICE has offered no specific reasons for the cancellation of these agreements, other than that it thinks it can do a better job without its local partners. Read more...

DHS Gives Criminal Alien Privacy but Snubs Victim

By Jessica Vaughan, December 21, 2012

Last month I reported the alarming news that ICE intended to take a pass on deporting Roberto Galo, a Honduran who was convicted of killing Drew Rosenberg in a 2010 traffic crash in San Francisco. Adding insult to the Rosenberg family's horrific injury, the ICE Public Advocate, whose office was created and funded to assist the public with their concerns about immigration law enforcement, has ignored repeated attempts by the victim’s father to contact him and discuss the case. Read more...

ICE Exercises Prosecutorial Discretion for ID Fraud

By Jessica Vaughan, December 20, 2012

It's a good thing North Carolina (and Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia) saw fit to enact stronger E-Verify laws that go into effect in 2013, because the Obama administration is making no effort to address the rampant identity fraud that enables illegal aliens to get jobs and wreak havoc in the lives of unsuspecting Americans. Read more...

Why Scrap the Per-Country Cap?

By Jessica Vaughan, December 19, 2012

Once again, the current Congress is under pressure to change fundamental parts of our immigration system in order to fix the problems created by previous Congresses that were too generous. Special interest groups are pushing to eliminate provisions in immigration law that now help prevent green card allocations from being monopolized by immigrants from just a few countries. If the proposed changes are approved this month by the U.S. Read more...

Who Wins the Visa Lottery?

By Jessica Vaughan, December 4, 2012

Defenders of the visa lottery, which is slated for elimination in a bill that just passed the U.S. House on Friday, have tried to portray this program as an essential category that invigorates our immigration flow. Others, including Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), have said ending the program would be "racist, if not in its intent, than certainly in its effect." Some media descriptions of the visa lottery have also given this false impression, that the visa lottery program benefits mainly black immigrants from Africa, who they say have no other legal channels to enter. Neither portrayal of the visa lottery is accurate. Read more...

After the Election, More Flexibility for Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan, November 26, 2012

The Obama administration has quietly abandoned the pretense that it will try to deter local sanctuary policies that actively obstruct immigration law enforcement, such as an ordinance in Cook County, Ill., that orders the sheriff's officers to ignore holds placed by ICE on criminal aliens. Read more...

DHS Gives Some Criminals Permanent Protected Status

By Jessica Vaughan, November 14, 2012

In one of the most absurd examples of immigration enforcement malpractice yet, this week ICE is planning to take a pass on removing a criminal alien convicted of vehicular manslaughter. On Friday, November 16, exactly two years after Roberto Galo struck and killed motorcyclist Drew Rosenberg while making an illegal left turn in a car he was unlicensed and uninsured to drive, Galo is scheduled to be released from a California jail. Read more...

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis: The Quasi-Student Terrorist

By Jessica Vaughan, October 24, 2012

The unsurprising revelation that foiled terrorist Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, arrested last week for trying to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York, entered on a student visa has once again provoked demands for reform from lawmakers. But the types of reforms being pushed, while worthy, will not address the most fundamental problem with our student visa program, and would not have interfered with the admission of Nafis. Read more...

Another One Bites the Dust

By Jessica Vaughan, October 18, 2012

Criminal aliens, illegal drunk drivers, identity thieves, and gang members are breathing a sigh of relief in Prince William County, Va., as they now have much less chance of being disturbed or uprooted by ICE or local police, thanks to the latest move by the White House to dismantle the successful 287(g) enforcement program.

Last week, county officials were informed by ICE that their program was next on the chopping block, following cancellations in Arizona and North Carolina. Despite having identified about 5,000 removable aliens who had been arrested for other offenses and processing a large share of them for removal at little cost to ICE; enabling ICE agents in Virginia to give better service to other parts of the state; and despite the absence of any findings of abuse or mismanagement, the White House has decided that the program must go. Read more...

California Governor Kills Sanctuary Bill

By Jessica Vaughan, October 1, 2012

The bill that was the top priority for illegal alien advocates in California, the TRUST Act, was vetoed yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown. This is clearly a setback for anti-enforcement activists nationwide, who had made this bill the centerpiece in their campaign against ICE's Secure Communities program, and who had hoped to inspire similar measures in other states. Read more...

Non-Citizen Voting Suits Spread to Michigan

By Jessica Vaughan, September 26, 2012

A group of activists in Michigan, including the ACLU, SEIU, and the Detroit-based Latin Americans for Social and Economic Justice, has filed a lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to stop her from asking voters the question, "Are you a United States citizen?" Read more...

GAO Report: State Dept. Has Good Tools but Lacks Coordinated Approach to Address Rampant Visa Fraud

By Jessica Vaughan, September 21, 2012

The good news in a new GAO report on visa fraud is that the State Department has developed a variety of new tools over the years to help detect those trying to lie and cheat their way into the United States. The bad news is that top management at State has not been particularly interested in making sure that consular officers are using these tools, even as temporary admissions are at an all-time high, and as the Obama administration seeks to open the gates wider. Read more...

How Many Murders Is Enough? Slain Teen's Father Implores Calif. Gov. to Veto Sanctuary Bill

By Jessica Vaughan, September 20, 2012

Jamiel Shaw, Sr., the father of a young man murdered by an illegal alien gang member in Los Angeles in 2008, speaks directly to California Governor Jerry Brown in a poignant new video (see below). Shaw asks Brown to veto a bill passed by the state legislature that would force California law enforcement agencies to release tens of thousands of criminal aliens each year instead of transferring them over to ICE for possible removal. Read more...

Report Dings DHS for Data Problems That Undermine Critical US-VISIT Screening Process

By Jessica Vaughan, September 12, 2012

A new investigative report from the DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reveals extensive and troubling data integrity problems that interfere with a key border security program's effectiveness in preventing the entry of individuals using aliases. Read more...

So Much for "No Path to Citizenship" for DACA DREAMers

By Jessica Vaughan, August 31, 2012

When President Obama announced on June 15 that he would bypass Congress and offer legal status to the so-called DREAMers, he said: "Now, let's be clear — this is not amnesty, this is not immunity, this is not a path to citizenship." False on all three counts, as it turns out. Read more...

ICE Agents Protest Disciplinary Action for Enforcing Laws

By Jessica Vaughan, August 22, 2012

The National ICE Council, which is the primary union for ICE enforcement agents and officers, is taking the extraordinary step of circulating a petition to draw attention to the threats of punishment some of its members have faced for trying to enforce immigration laws, even when those enforcement actions fall within the Obama administration's stated priorities. Read more...

Massachusetts Closes Illegal Alien Driving Loophole

By Jessica Vaughan, August 3, 2012

Massachusetts has joined the ranks of states that see the need to compensate for weak federal immigration enforcement by acting at the state level to make life more difficult for illegal aliens. The Bay State legislature has voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill to crack down on unlicensed illegal alien driving by allowing only licensed or legally present individuals to register vehicles. Read more...

DHS Plans Deep (and Possibly Illegal) Discount on Amnesty Application Fees for DREAMers

By Jessica Vaughan, August 1, 2012

It appears that the Obama administration is planning to offer the DREAM amnesty to many young illegal aliens either deeply discounted or free, charging fees only to those who apply for a work permit, according to an internal DHS memo obtained by the Associated Press. Read more...

New Report: Obama Catch and Release Policies Result in More Crimes, More Victims

By Jessica Vaughan, August 1, 2012

Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under subpoena from the House immigration subcommittee show that criminal aliens who were identified through the Secure Communities program, but then released by ICE, went on to be arrested for nearly 58,000 new crimes between October 2008 and July 2011. This report conservatively quantifies the public safety damage inflicted by the Obama administration's catch and release immigration enforcement policies. Read more...

Illegal Alien Advocates Push DHS for Leniency in DREAM Amnesty

By Jessica Vaughan, July 27, 2012

A group of 73 organizations has sent DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano a list of their demands -- I mean recommendations -- on how the Obama administration's new DREAM Amnesty should be implemented. Here's what they want: Read more...

Criminal Alien "DREAMer" Assaults ICE Agent, Gets Released on Prosecutorial Discretion

By Jessica Vaughan, July 20, 2012

The ICE enforcement agents' union is reporting an incident from earlier this week that illustrates the perverse results of the Obama administration's DREAM decree and "prosecutorial discretion" policies. An illegal alien, who is described as meeting the criteria for the president's DREAM amnesty, was arrested and jailed in El Paso, Texas, on a domestic assault charge. When ICE agents arrived at the jail for routine inmate screening, the 5'9", 245 lb. Read more...

Time to Sanction the Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan, July 18, 2012

An article this week on Time.com does a decent job of capturing current developments in one of the most rankling issues in immigration law enforcement — what to do about sanctuary cities — and, atypically, highlights the Obama administration's disinclination to confront them, even as they undermine a key enforcement initiative. Read more...

Sheriffs Skeptical of "Chilling Effect" from Secure Communities

By Jessica Vaughan, July 11, 2012

I recently participated in a panel discussion at the National Sheriffs' Association annual conference in Nashville on the topic of ICE's Secure Communities (SC) program and immigrant community safety and trust. Read more...

4.6 Million Waiting for Green Cards Displaced by Dreamers

By Jessica Vaughan, June 22, 2012

4.6 million individuals world-wide who have been approved to be sponsored for green cards by U.S. citizens, current green card holders, and U.S. employers through the established legal immigration process will now have to step aside for a while in order for USCIS to process the deferred action applications of people hoping to qualify under the Obama administration's Dream Scheme. Read more...

What Is Deferred Action?

By Jessica Vaughan, June 15, 2012

The following explanation of Deferred Action, the tool that will be used by President Obama for the DREAMer amnesty, is from testimony I provided last summer to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement: Read more...

California Senate Advances Sanctuary Bill, Ignoring Lessons of Triple Murder Case

By Jessica Vaughan, June 13, 2012

On Monday, a California judge sentenced unapologetic illegal alien and MS-13 gang member Edwin Ramos to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of American citizens Tony Bologna and his two sons, whom Ramos had mistaken for rival gang members. For years before the murder, despite several arrests, Ramos had been shielded from deportation by San Francisco's sanctuary policies. Read more...

Administrative Amnesties Create More Problems Than They Solve

By Jessica Vaughan, May 25, 2012

An article in the May 24 Boston Globe highlights the problems created when the executive branch tries to make an end run around Congress by using its rule-writing authority to allow illegal aliens to remain here in virtual amnesty, but then cannot deliver the green cards. Read more...

Obama's Catch-and-Release Policies Blunt Secure Communities

By Jessica Vaughan, May 8, 2012

Desperately seeking to acquire some credibility with the vast majority of American voters who want to see immigration laws enforced, the Obama administration is on a steady pace to complete implementation of the Secure Communities (SC) program in every state, perhaps even ahead of the 2013 target date. With Louisiana and Nevada most recently completed, the map is nearly all colored in. Rumor has it New England, possibly including the sanctuary states of Vermont and Massachusetts, could be finished next.

Will the full activation of Secure Communities nationwide mean the end of sanctuaries for criminal aliens as we know them? Not quite. Read more...