N.C. Sheriff Is Target of DOJ's Harassment Tactics

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on October 13, 2011

The Obama Justice Department may be abusing its power and harassing America's local law enforcers. The Obama administration appears to be trying to intimidate state and local police out of immigration enforcement.

A number of sheriffs, in a panel Wednesday sponsored by the Center for Immigration Studies (the video will be online next week), told Washington that the porous border is flooding foreign-born crime into their communities hundreds of miles from the Mexican border. Immigration is bringing to their counties spikes in foreign gang activity, unprecedented new violence, Mexican drugs, ID theft and fraud, and an environment that enables the criminal element to thrive. The sheriffs want to be part of the solution, but this administration is bringing vast federal resources against the good guys wearing badges.

The Alamance News in North Carolina (a weekly that is not online) broke stories in its September 29 edition exposing the radical political nature of the DOJ intimidation lawsuit against the county sheriff. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is one of the Obama Justice Department's victims. The flimsy allegation: racial profiling.

DOJ has targeted Alamance because the sheriff's department participates in the 287(g) program. This administration has systematically weakened, fettered, and undermined 287(g). DHS has slapped an arbitrary limit of 70 participating law enforcement agencies – despite Congress's intent that this program be widely available to any willing states and localities and despite widespread interest in enrolling, even with its recent bureaucratic red tape. One of the sheriffs visiting Washington said his agency had applied for 287(g) but was turned down – ICE said the county didn't have a big enough immigration problem. Then came a quadruple homicide among Latino residents in the town that's the model for Mayberry of TV fame.

This administration's cynicism and disdain for Americans and the rule of law are unbelievable. Left-wing lawyers in the Justice Department have collaborated closely with local open-borders activists. The Alamance sheriff has evidence: e-mails among the agitators. County attorney Clyde Albright told the News, "These e-mails clearly show it's a politically motivated [investigation]." For example, local American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Katy Parker, involved with the misnamed local group "Fairness Alamance," proposed "a plan to embarrass the sheriff during a[n] immigration-related conference in Elon by confronting him with embarrassing statistics."

Local immigrant rights activist Blanca Nienhaus admitted she "had a long talk" last spring with DOJ lawyer Samantha Trepel. UNC professor Hannah Gill surfaced in an e-mail revealing that over a year ago, she and others "had spoken to ESL students at Alamance Community College to urge them to contact the Justice Department" regarding any trumped-up "discrimination on the part of law enforcement." The Gill e-mail also promoted a fundraiser for Sheriff Johnson's electoral opponent, which may have violated election laws.

The News reported that DOJ's Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez is helped in the Alamance litigation campaign at DOJ by former ACLU lawyer Trepel and anti-death penalty activist Michael Songer. Perez himself is a former Teddy Kennedy and Clinton and Obama administration staffer steeped in "civil rights" causes. He served on the board of the extremist CASA de Maryland, about which Accuracy in Media recently produced an expose. AIM's excellent report discusses Perez's ties to the unsavory organization.

Hardball political intimidation tactics have long characterized leftist activism. Now, though, the practitioners hold positions of power in the federal government. Further, these foul actions are being systematically executed by ACLU lawyers within the Justice Department itself. Left to suffer the consequences are the American people and the law enforcement officials who swore an oath to uphold the law and to protect us all.