Phoenix Becomes Illegal Alien Sanctuary after Leftist Group Orders it in Private Meeting with Police Chief

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By MAGGIE HABERMAN

Arizona’s largest city recently became a sanctuary for illegal aliens after its police chief held a private meeting with a leftist group that demanded a change in immigration enforcement policies, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. The closed-door session between Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams and Will Goana, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona, occurred just weeks before the Phoenix Police Department quietly implemented a new policy banning officers from contacting the feds after arresting an illegal alien and forbidding them from asking about suspects’ immigration status. The new order violates key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and leaves the city vulnerable to costly lawsuits.

Judicial Watch exposed the abrupt policy revision last month after obtaining a copy of the Phoenix Police Department’s new sanctuary Immigration Procedures and filed a public records request to uncover the steps that led to the change. Law enforcement sources told Judicial Watch in July that the revisions were crafted by a Hispanic advisory committee that promotes open borders with the backing of the influential ACLU. It appears to be part of a broader scheme to dodge federal immigration laws in Arizona’s most populous county. Earlier this year Judicial Watch reported that the newly elected sheriff in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, was releasing hundreds of criminal illegal immigrants—including violent offenders—from county jail facilities to protect them from deportation.

The new records obtained by Judicial Watch show that an ACLU offshoot known as People Power attempted to meet with Williams, who became chief on October 28, 2016, on April 19, 2017 to order the policy change. It’s not clear if that meeting took place, but it appears that it did not and People Power called in the big guns at the ACLU. That’s when Goana, who also lobbies the Arizona legislature on civil liberties issues, met privately with the chief, on May 9, according to the records. People Power reps followed up with a meeting request on May 16 to discuss the Phoenix Police Department’s immigration policy changes with Chief Williams, the records show. The meeting occurred on June 9, about a week after Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher met with People Power and gave the group a glowing review. In his assessment, the city manager describes the leftist group as “one of the most reasonable groups I’ve talked with” and says it consisted of “a former high school teacher, a magazine editor, 2 attys, a massage therapist, and two Hispanic advocates who I’ve never seen before.” On June 29, Chief Williams had a follow-up meeting with the ACLU and People Power regarding the changes to the immigration policy, the records show.

People Power was launched by the ACLU as a direct response to the “Trump administration’s attacks on civil liberties and civil rights.” It recruits local activists to pressure law enforcement and elected officials to commit to the following demands: Not ask people about immigration status; Decline to engage in the enforcement of immigration law; Refuse to detain immigrants on behalf of the federal government unless there is a warrant signed by a judge. Thanks in large part to the group’s efforts, the 3,000 officers in the Phoenix Police Department have been stripped of discretion from addressing the crime of illegal immigration or using sound judgement when it involves suspects thought to be in the U.S. illegally. No other federal crime in department policy has those restrictions. Officers continue to have the discretion to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Postal Inspectors, U.S. Marshalls and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) without fear of violating department policy.

Allowing officers to use their discretion when dealing with criminal aliens has been an effective tool in curbing crime. In 2008, former Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris revealed that a 24% decrease in homicides and a 26% decrease in auto thefts could be partly attributed to “a new immigration policy that allows our officers to use their discretion when dealing with criminal aliens” and “unprecedented cooperation between our investigative units and our state, federal, and local partners (Maricopa County Attorney’s Office).” Border patrol contacts in the Tucson Sector reported that in the same fiscal year (2008 – October to September) they saw a 41% decrease in border apprehensions. Nevertheless, on July 24 the new restrictive immigration policy went into effect at the Phoenix Police Department at the request of an open borders coalition. Now officers can’t even use the term “illegal alien,” which has been officially replaced with “unlawfully present.”

Report: Donald Trump May End DACA Amnesty

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by NEIL MUNRO, Axios

President Donald Trump may soon end the controversial DACA amnesty for almost 800,000 illegals, according to a new report in Axios.
President Trump is seriously considering ending DACA, the Obama-era policy that shields some illegal immigrants from deportation, before conservative state attorneys general file a court challenge to the program.

Sources familiar with the deliberations tell Axios that Trump has made no final decision, and the White House continues to receive advice from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions strongly believes Trump should end DACA; DHS, however, has a more nuanced position, and Trump himself has said he’s sympathetic to the children helped by the program.

What is DACA? Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a program Obama introduced that shields illegal immigrants from deportation and temporarily gives them permits to work and study in the U.S., so long as they arrived as children.

Why this matters: If Trump rescinds the program, it will affect a huge number of people. At least 750,000 people currently have DACA status. Despite promising on the campaign trail to immediately rescind DACA, Trump has wavered since taking office, saying he feels for these children who were brought to the country through no fault of their own. The Trump administration has continued to issue new permits under the program, and with its future unclear, many families are confused and anxious about their futures.

What the administration believes: The Trump administration doesn’t believe it has the legal authority to maintain the current program; and DHS has made clear that if Congress wants to keep the principles of DACA in place, it would need to introduce legislation to do so.

What’s prompting Trump: On June 29, Texas AG Ken Paxton sent a letter — co-signed by 10 other attorneys general from conservative states — to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in which they “respectfully” request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program; warning that they’ll otherwise amend an existing lawsuit to challenge the program in court.

Asked about that threat, Sessions told Fox and Friends: “I like it that our states and localities are holding the federal government to account, expecting us to do what’s our responsibility to the state and locals and that’s to enforce the law.”

The amnesty was created by former President Barack Obama in the run-up to the June 2012 election. Trump has continued the program since his inauguration, despite a 2016 campaign promise to quickly end the program.  So far, almost 800,000 younger illegals — including many in their 30s and 40s — have gotten two-year work permits via the DACA amnesty.

A group of 10 state Attorneys General has said they will extend a successful lawsuit against Obama’s 2014 ‘DAPA’ amnesty to include the DACA amnesty on September 5. The lawsuit is likely to kill the DACA program because it has already ended the ‘DAPA’ amnesty for roughly 4 million parents of native-born children.

If Trump formally ends the DACA program, he can either cancel outright the outstanding 800,000 DACA work permits or else slowly wind the program down over the next two years by not renewing the two-year DACA work permits.

By ending the DACA program, Trump also gains more leverage to force the Democrats to accept passage of his  RAISE Act immigration and economic reform in 2018.

Pro-American immigration reformers worry Trump may trade his campaign-trail opposition to the DACA amnesty in exchange for a one-time appropriation of funding for his border wall in 2017. Under this “trinkets” scenario, Trump would agree to a deal in which Congress would establish a permanent amnesty for roughly 1.5 million current and future DACA recipients, in exchange for approving 2018 funds to build a small stretch of the border wall.

Reportedly, Trump’s top aides want a deal on DACA so that Democrats accept legislation offering tax cuts for major business interests.

Your Editor Warns: Dismantling again. Building?  Only the Wall.  

Ryan Becomes Highest Republican to Criticize Arpaio Pardon

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By Maggie Haberman, NYTimes

The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, on Saturday criticized President Trump’s pardon of the former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, making him the most prominent Republican to voice concern about the message the president had sent regarding his commitment to the rule of law.

“The speaker does not agree with this decision,” a spokesman for Mr. Ryan, Doug Andres, said in a statement. “Law enforcement officials have a special responsibility to respect the rights of everyone in the United States. We should not allow anyone to believe that responsibility is diminished by this pardon.”

Mr. Trump’s end-of-the-week pardon of Mr. Arpaio, a campaign supporter who had been convicted of defying a court order intended to halt racial profiling of Latinos, touched off a political outcry that did not abate on Saturday even as much of the nation was focused on a hurricane that pummeled Texas.

Democrats joined in condemning the president’s decision, which was made public by the White House on Friday night as Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, churned toward the Texas coast. Some Republicans praised the move, but most remained silent about a decision that further entangles the party in racial controversy.

Mr. Trump ran on a message of curtailing immigration, and his message dovetailed with Mr. Arpaio’s. Republicans who were caught by surprise by Mr. Trump’s victory have been grappling with how to stand up against racism while making sure they do not alienate the older, whiter demographic of the party’s base.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said that the president’s pardon “undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law, as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his action.” The state’s other Republican senator, Jeff Flake, who has been attacked by Mr. Trump and who is facing a primary challenge, was more muted.

“Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course,” Mr. Flake wrote on Twitter.

Representative Trent Franks, another Arizona Republican, said he saw it as a just end to the saga of Mr. Arpaio’s legal entanglements.

“The president did the right thing — Joe Arpaio lived an honorable life serving our country, and he deserves an honorable retirement,” Mr. Franks posted on Twitter.

Outside Arizona, most Republicans stayed quiet. But Democrats laced into the president.

Jesse Lehrich, a spokesman for Organizing for Action, the political group that grew out of former President Barack Obama’s campaigns, said the pardon “signals a disturbing tolerance for those who engage in bigotry.”

He added: “It sends an unsettling message to immigrants across the country. And it’s a repudiation of the rule of law. As a massive hurricane is hurtling toward the southern United States, the White House is focused not on saving lives, but on pardoning a man who committed unlawful acts of racial discrimination.”

The White House announced the pardon amid preparations for the storm, but the federal government said it was on top of the looming natural disaster.

Mr. Arpaio had become a symbol of anti-immigrant sentiment, a staple of cable television for his roundups of people suspected of being in the country illegally in the heavily Latino state. After the Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee conducted what came to be known as an election autopsy on what went wrong. The report concluded that the party needed to promote comprehensive immigration reform and do better outreach to Hispanics — guidance that Mr. Trump tossed aside during his campaign.

Many presidents have issued controversial pardons. Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon. Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, one of his donors, in his final days in office. By definition, pardons absolve someone of having broken the law.

But Mr. Arpaio, who had yet to be sentenced in his criminal case, has long been accused of abuses against minorities, including repeated violations of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. His pardon struck a different political chord.

Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who advised the main “super PAC” supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016, suggested that Mr. Trump was offering a different type of signal — one to people who might be approached by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president when he fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.

“The Arpaio pardon was awful in and of itself, but I also think it was a signal to the targets of the Mueller investigation that ‘I got your back,’” Mr. Begala said on Bill Maher’s HBO program on Friday night.

David Axelrod, who was a senior adviser to Mr. Obama in the White House, saw a different motive at play. Mr. Trump, he argued, was sending a signal after removing his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, a nationalist who is an icon among segments of the president’s base.

“I think this was a nod to the base, post-Bannon, that he’s still with them,” Mr. Axelrod said.

Mr. Arpaio was an early admirer of Mr. Trump. He appeared with him at a rally in Phoenix in 2015, and he vocally supported Mr. Trump’s interest in raising false questions about whether Mr. Obama, the first black president, was born in the United States.

Mr. Trump hinted at a rally in Phoenix this past week that he planned to pardon Mr. Arpaio, but said he would not do it that night to avoid controversy.

“I’m very appreciative of what the president has done,” Mr. Arpaio, 85, told NBC News. “Right now, I have to thank the president for standing by me and standing by law enforcement. And I’m very humbled.”

Ari Fleischer, who was a press secretary under President George W. Bush, said that pardoning Mr. Arpaio did not “break new ground” in a decades-long debate over immigration.

But, echoing Mr. Begala, he said the concern was the message it sent to others who might receive pardons.

He said Mr. Bush used to wonder why presidents had the pardon power to begin with. “It does strike me as a constitutional anachronism,” Mr. Fleischer said.

“One should not be able to break the law thinking they have a protector in chief,” he added. “If mischief is connected to the White House and the president can pardon those who engaged in that activity, it leads to unlimited power.”

Your Editor Marvels: Checks and Balance still exist

The Immigrant Hordes Are Already Here! Or not.

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By Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post

Hide your wife, hide your husband, hide your child! The immigrant hordes are already here!

Or so lots of Americans believe — making it easier for politicians and fringe “alt-right” white-supremacist groups to seize on these fears and exploit them for political gain.

The share of people in the United States who were born abroad has been rising over the past several decades, reaching 13.4 percent in 2015. (The highest share recorded was in 1890, at 14.8 percent.) Perceived levels of immigration, however, are several multiples of that number and have been so for a while.

The 2013 Transatlantic Trends survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, for example, asked people across 13 countries to estimate the percentage of their national population that was born abroad.

In every country for which reliable population numbers were available, survey respondents vastly overestimated the number of foreign-born people walking among them. This was especially true in the United States.

Perhaps reflecting our nickname as a “nation of immigrants,” Americans mistakenly thought that 42 percent of people in this country had been born abroad. For those keeping score at home, that’s three times the actual immigrant population share.

Those numbers are a few years old. The imagined scourge of scary not-like-me multitudes remains.

In 2015, Ipsos MORI’s Perils of Perception survey asked a similar question in 32 countries and found similar results: Nearly everywhere, people overestimated the share of immigrants . U.S. citizens’ guesstimate for the immigrant share was lower in this survey, though, at “only” 33 percent.

Then this past fall, Ipsos MORI polled people across 39 countries about their estimates of the Muslim population. In all but two countries, people overstated the share of their Muslim population.

In the United States, respondents said they thought about 17 percent of the country was Muslim, whereas only about 1 percent actually is.

The fact that Americans thought a sixth of the country practices Islam is especially striking when you consider that about half of Americans say they do not personally know a Muslim, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center.

It’s not just immigrants or Muslims whose numbers are vastly inflated in the minds of fearful Americans, according to John Sides, George Washington University political science professor and co-founder of the Monkey Cage, a blog hosted by The Post. Political science literature over the past 20 years has found that survey respondents tend to overestimate the size of almost any minority group, including blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Jews and gays.

The question is, why are these perceptions so out of whack with reality?

One possibility is that some members of these groups might be highly visible or memorable, particularly if they dress and talk differently than others in the local population. Media coverage may amplify these differences and make them more salient to the general public.

Recent research by Daniel J. Hopkins, Sides and Jack Citrin also suggests that hostility toward immigrants may drive misperceptions of their population size, rather than the other way around.

“People in general tend to believe that things that they don’t like or are anxious about are more extensive than they actually are,” says Rogers Smith, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “They think the crime rate is higher than it actually is, that we give more to foreign aid than we really do by a large margin.”

As easy as it is to blame President Trump and nativist politicians across Europe for creating these hostilities, the data suggest that outsized fears of an immigrant cultural takeover long pre date these particular political leaders.

As Sides put it in a phone interview, there was already a “reservoir of negative feelings about immigration out there.” Trump just figured out how to tap into those feelings to power a successful White House bid. Before Trump came along, politicians may have been reluctant to fully exploit this negativity — maybe for moral reasons and maybe for more practical ones, such as the fact that the business community generally supports more immigration.

Of course, Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric is likely heightening those extant negative feelings too, particularly among the young.

The good news is that while a very vocal group of nativist Trumpkins is clamoring for a wall (and even an ethnostate), attitudes toward immigration among the general populace are, on average, actually improving. Americans view immigrants more positively today than they did 20 or even five years ago, according to Pew Research Center data.

With any luck, a talented politician will soon figure out how to exploit that positivity, too.

Your Editor Ponders:  How can we build bridges for our two Americas? 

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