Jessica Vaughan's blog

Director of Policy Studies


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GAO Updates Cost of Criminal Aliens

By Jessica Vaughan, April 23, 2011

The incarceration of criminal aliens cost the federal government more than $1.6 billion in 2009, according to a new GAO report. In addition, taxpayers shelled out tens of millions more that year to incarcerate aliens in state prisons and local jails.

Other findings:

Massachusetts Health Plan Giveaway

By Jessica Vaughan, April 14, 2011

For a preview of how a federally-run health care system might deal with uninsured illegal immigrants, watch Massachusetts. In 2006 the state enacted Romneycare, which many consider to be the precursor to Obamacare. A recent report from the Massachusetts Inspector General has found that state agencies have failed to implement controls to prevent ineligible people – including illegal immigrants – from getting free taxpayer-funded health care. Read more...

Birthright Citizenship Report Sparks Debate

By Jessica Vaughan, April 7, 2011

Last week I appeared on a CNN news program to discuss our recent report on the national security implications of the U.S. practice of granting citizenship to the children of foreign temporary visitors. This is related to, but distinct from the issue of citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. Read more...

All in the Family

By Jessica Vaughan, March 24, 2011

The release of new Census data based on the 2010 count has focused public attention on immigration's role in driving U.S. population growth. I recently completed a report on how our prioritization of family immigration guarantees this outcome.

Among the findings: Read more...

Secure Communities, Please

By Jessica Vaughan, March 14, 2011

There are approximately 2.1 million criminal aliens living in the United States, according to new figures from ICE's Secure Communities office. Of these, about 1.9 million are removable, and the remaining 200,000 are green card holders who committed lesser crimes allowing them to avoid removal. Read more...

New Report: 287(g) Works

By Jessica Vaughan, February 1, 2011

A new report on the 287(g) program provides a wealth of information illustrating the tremendous public safety value and positive community impact of this initiative. It corroborates many of the findings of our 2009 report, "The 287(g) Program: Protecting Home Town and Homeland".

This is doubly remarkable considering that the new report was issued by the Migration Policy Institute, the Obama administration's pro-amnesty think tank. Read more...

Phoenix ICE Agents Raid Business!

By Jessica Vaughan, January 11, 2011

Today's batch of press releases from ICE included several noteworthy announcements: an impressive successful MS-13 gang prosecution in San Francisco, the continued steady implementation of Secure Communities, and the usual report of a child porn case. But one in the group caught my eye: "ICE Seizes Counterfeit NFL Jerseys in Phoenix." Read more...

DREAM Act Will Shield Some Gang Members from Removal

By Jessica Vaughan, December 14, 2010

If Congress passes the version of the DREAM Act approved by the U.S. House last week, ICE will likely have to scale back its successful anti-gang program known as Operation Community Shield, because more than one-fourth of the potential targets could qualify for the amnesty. Read more...

Potemkin ICE

By Jessica Vaughan, December 6, 2010

A story in today's Washington Post reveals the lengths to which this administration will go to give people the false impression that they are serious about immigration law enforcement. Remember all that high-fiving and fist-pumping in October when ICE announced that it had broken all the records for removals? Read more...

ICE to Sanctuaries: Just Say No to Holds

By Jessica Vaughan, November 22, 2010

In what appears to be yet another astounding display of mission apathy, a senior ICE official is now advising sanctuary jurisdictions on how they can opt out of his program. Earlier this month, the top manager of the Secure Communities program, David Venturella, suggested to the San Francisco Sheriff's Department that if the county did not wish to participate, it could simply ignore ICE's requests to take custody of the removable aliens that are discovered in county jails. Read more...

Illinois Officials Choose Sanctuary over Secure Communities

By Jessica Vaughan, November 18, 2010

State police officials in Illinois have insisted on blocking most local law enforcement agencies from participating in ICE's Secure Communities program, even in the wake of embarrassing revelations of how Cook County, the state's largest jurisdiction, routinely releases offenders that ICE is trying to remove. At the same time, they seek millions of dollars of payments from the federal government each year for illegal aliens who end up in their jails. I discussed this issue over the weekend on Fox & Friends (video below). Read more...

Mayorkas to USCIS Staff: Just Say Yes – Or Else!

By Jessica Vaughan, October 20, 2010

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas and other top Obama administration appointees have been trying to bully career staff into rubber-stamping approvals for green cards and other benefits, and discouraging them from investigating fraud, according to a letter sent last week from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Read more...

But We Like Our Criminals! Or, It Depends What the Meaning of 'Patchwork' Is

By Jessica Vaughan, October 6, 2010

The most accurate indication of how well an immigration law enforcement program works is not ICE statistics, nor management school-inspired metrics, but the volume and tone of the ethnic and civil liberties advocacy groups' opposition to the program. Read more...

ICE Caving on Secure Communities

By Jessica Vaughan, September 2, 2010

The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that ICE is going all wobbly in defending Secure Communities, its marquee program for identifying and removing criminal aliens. Read more...

From Sanctuary to Safer City

By Jessica Vaughan, August 31, 2010

The police union in Houston, a former sanctuary city, is taking a look at the experience of Phoenix, which two years ago implemented a policy to allow its officers to call ICE to report suspected illegal aliens who were connected to other crimes. The implementation of this policy, which is similar to the one signed into law by Arizona governor Jan Brewer and later blocked by U.S. Read more...

ICE Chief Morton to Field: See No Illegal Aliens

By Jessica Vaughan, August 19, 2010

ICE's misleadingly-named Office of State and Local Cooperation (OSLC) has announced the next step in the Obama administration's efforts to drastically diminish the scope of immigration law enforcement. According to a draft policy document now being circulated among a limited group of stakeholders, ICE chief John Morton intends to prohibit not only his officers, but also local officers with 287(g) immigration authority, from busting illegal aliens who are discovered as a result of traffic violations. Read more...

Take Back the Suburbs

By Jessica Vaughan, August 10, 2010

The article in today's Washington Times about a cluster of medium-sized cities starts with a description of ubiquitous gang graffiti and goes on to relate incidents of major heroin and meth busts, abductions, assassinations, extortion, kickbacks, and marginally qualified public officials earning obscene taxpayer-funded salaries while protecting their mobster associates. Read more...

Marriage Fraud a Growing Problem

By Jessica Vaughan, August 6, 2010

Today Fox News highlighted the persistent problem of marriage fraud in the immigration process, and invited me to discuss the implications (view the video segment below). Marriage is the most common way for a foreign national to gain permanent residency – more than 415,000 marriage-based green cards were issued last year, and the number has grown by more than 50 percent in the last few years. More than two-thirds of these individuals are already living in the United States at the time of their green card application. Read more...

Give Us Your Terrorists, Your MS-13 Homies . . .

By Jessica Vaughan, August 5, 2010

Don't miss today's hot topic in immigration law training – "Gang-based asylum claims" (see Third Session). Learn how to establish that your gangster clients are "members of a particular social group," that they deserve humanitarian protection due to their "political opinions" or "religion" (such as La Familia, the murderous Mexican cult-like cartel), and what the UN guidelines are on these oppressed individuals. This e-learning session was preceded by one on how to help your client get a waiver if they are denied a green card or refugee status because of their links to terrorist groups. No, this wasn't in The Onion, it was in Immigration Daily, the leading e-newsletter of the immigration bar. Read more...

CIS Assists Arizona in Defending SB1070

By Jessica Vaughan, July 22, 2010

Lawyers defending the people of Arizona and the state's new immigration law sought the Center's help in countering the Obama administration's claims that the law would disrupt their careful balance of immigration law enforcement priorities, unduly burden DHS agencies, and cause harassment of lawful visitors and beneficiaries of humanitarian programs, such as battered women. Read more...

Rebranding: New ICE or ICE Zero?

By Jessica Vaughan, June 17, 2010

Citing concern over the agency's image, ICE chief John Morton has announced a makeover and renaming of key bureaus so as to de-emphasize the immigration component of their work. This move is just silly on so many levels, but does illustrate three things: Read more...

ICE Program Finds 11% of Inmates Screened Are Removable

By Jessica Vaughan, June 11, 2010

Reports released Thursday on ICE's Secure Communities program confirm that removable aliens comprise a significant share of the nation's criminal population. According to these statistics, 11 percent of all inmates booked into participating jails are flagged by the system as removable aliens (in comparison, non-citizens comprise nine percent of the nation's total adult population – see "Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Conflicted Issue"). ICE has removed or ordered the departure of 16 percent of these criminal aliens. Read more...

287(g) Gossip

By Jessica Vaughan, May 13, 2010

Sources inside and outside ICE report that Suzie Barr, the Napolitano crony who is now ICE Chief of Staff, has chosen the controversial former Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt to head up ICE's Office of State and Local Cooperation, pending completion of the background check. This is an interesting pick, because Hurtt is well-known as an outspoken critic of ICE/local partnerships who kept Houston as a sanctuary city, even as several of his officers lost their lives to illegal alien criminals who cycled repeatedly in and out of HPD custody without being reported to ICE. Read more...

Faisal Shahzad: So Easy, Anyone Can Do It

By Jessica Vaughan, May 7, 2010

A review of the information that has been released on Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad's immigration history reveals a familiar pattern of a terrorist easily taking advantage of weak spots in America’s immigration system. Shahzad was admitted long before 9/11, but the openings he exploited are still in place today. Until policymakers move to shrink them, they offer a sobering guarantee of job security for counter-terrorism and security personnel for the foreseeable future. Read more...

Within Reason: Officers Checking Status

By Jessica Vaughan, April 22, 2010

This week the Arizona state legislature passed a bill that, among other things, says that if local law enforcement officers encounter someone they suspect is an illegal alien, they should take "reasonable" steps to try to determine the alien's immigration status. A new web program sheds light on issues such as these. Read more...

Utah Enacts Universal Mandatory E-Verify Bill

By Jessica Vaughan, April 1, 2010

Yesterday Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law requiring Utah employers to use E-Verify to make sure their workers are legal. The bill passed both chambers of the legislature with large margins, making Utah the fourth state to require all employers to verify their workers (the others are Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina). Read more...

ICE HQ to Field: ISO More Removable Aliens

By Jessica Vaughan, March 30, 2010

Advocates for illegal aliens must have been horrified to learn over the weekend via a Washington Post article that ICE's top manager for Detention and Removal Operations, James M. Chaparro, has directed ICE Field Offices to pick up the pace in removing not just aliens convicted of serious crimes, but – gasp! – other illegal aliens found in jails or who ignored previous orders to get out and stay out. Read more...

A Tale of Two Programs: Secure Communities vs. 287(g)

By Jessica Vaughan, March 12, 2010

Statistics recently released by the Harris County (Texas) Sheriff's Office provide an interesting point of comparison for two of ICE's programs that identify and flag criminal aliens for removal – Secure Communities and 287(g). Read more...

Hurtt Not So Good

By Jessica Vaughan, March 5, 2010

Sources inside and outside ICE are reporting that the agency leadership intends to install an embattled ex-police chief known for his obstruction of immigration law enforcement as its liaison to the local law enforcement community. Former Houston police chief Harold Hurtt is reportedly the top candidate to lead the agency’s Office of State and Local Coordination. Read more...

E-Verify Participating Employers

By Jessica Vaughan, February 23, 2010

The Department of Homeland Security recently released the latest figures on E-Verify use by state, specifically the number of employers, worksites, and queries so far this fiscal year (since October 1, 2009), as of February 20, 2010. Read more...