On February 4, the Washington Examiner carried a story detailing a secret directive ordering Border Patrol agents to immediately release — without processing for deportation — aliens apprehended along the frontier, simply upon their assertion, without verification, that they have been in the United States since prior to January 2014.
The directive was revealed by a Border Patrol union official testifying before Congress on the renewed surge of illegal aliens on our southern border, with numbers that exceed those who came during the 2014 summertime surge. Center for Immigration Studies' Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan also testified.
The article in the Examiner, by the way, was headlined "Border agent: 'We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether'". As one of my friends, a fellow retiree, promptly responded in our email exchange over the matter, "Memo to the Patrol Agent: We already have."
In a prior blog post, I speculated that with his term of office winding down the president might feel like a free agent, virtually unfettered in his attempts to completely dismantle immigration enforcement as a part of his "legacy". This would be particularly true if he is not invested in the outcome of the next election, which to date seems to be the case — witness his recent hosting of Democratic Socialist candidate Bernie Sanders at the White House, despite Sanders being the prime opponent of the president's own former secretary of state.
I mentioned two ways in which this ultimate dismantling might come about. One involved stacking the deck of key appointments, such as enlarging the bench of immigration judges with individuals who share the president's open borders outlook. That has been happening in earnest, and as one can see from a cursory glance at the official website of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, it includes not just rank-and-file judges, but also a slew of six new assistant chief immigration judges who will ride herd over the others. Can anyone doubt their philosophical proclivities?
The other way involves continuing to mandate executive actions that crush even the semblance of immigration law enforcement. This most recent directive to the Border Patrol certainly meets that test. And it is not the only one. The administration has also directed that aerial surveillance of our borders be cut in half. This is incredible at a time when ISIS terrorists have threatened to infiltrate the United States by any means necessary. One suspects that they care little about that fight, though, since they have shown no will for it to date, and since it will become the inheritance of the next president. It takes little imagination to gauge that the reasons for the cut are twofold: First, to permit the flooding of our borders with citizens from our southern neighbors in a way that they believe, or at least hope, will force the issue of a future broad-based amnesty. Second, and more prosaically, to minimize the possibility that there will be a leak of aerial surveillance videos that reveal exactly how damaging the new rules of engagement for Patrol Agents are by showing footage of large numbers of aliens crossing the border with impunity and indifference to the possibility of apprehension.
All of this is disturbing and ironic against the backdrop of the still-pending Supreme Court case that will examine the legality of past executive actions that directed the grant of lawful presence and work authorization documents to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens — actions the administration has defended on the basis that it has the right to "enforce" the law as it sees fit. One senses they may know that their Potemkin village of a defense is in trouble, as signaled by the Court's demand that both parties prepare briefs on the question of the president's constitutional obligation to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" — an issue that was not a part of the suit until the justices insisted upon it.
But as with ISIS, and with the hundreds of thousands of relocated-but-untracked illegal aliens, the fallout of the Supreme Court case will inevitably fall on other shoulders to clean up. Meanwhile, the president and his advisers continue to have a field day with the Constitution and the laws. If our immigration system is broken, look no farther than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to find the Wrecker in Chief.