Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From the Judiciary Committee comes this:
"...In 2010, the mayor of the City of New Orleans requested the Justice Department to “reform” the NOPD [New Orleans Police Department].  In 2012, officials at DOJ’s Civil Rights Division sued the city for alleged civil rights violations, resulting in a consent decree joined by the parties..."
DOJ investigators concluded that there were strong indications that the New Orleans Police Department was involved in violations, discriminatory practices that included racial, ethnic, and LGBT bias, and that there was a failure to provide critical police services to language minority communities, thus the suit.  To resolve the issue a consent decree was issued, but there were mandates that also prohibited inquiries by local law enforcement as to suspects' immigration status.
"... As part of the consent decree, NOPD officers were prevented from considering an individual’s immigration status when performing their law enforcement duties.  In February 2016, the NOPD enacted written policies pursuant to the consent decree that prevent officers from responding to requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding criminal aliens in custody, except in very limited circumstances. The Justice Department reviewed and approved those policies prior to their enactment by the NOPD, even though they appear to be in violation of federal law. And despite these concerning policies, the NOPD still continues to receive Department of Justice grant funds..."
Earlier this year (May) the Judiciary Committe wanted to know from Attorney General Loretta Lynch why the Justice Department wanted to make New Orleans a sanctuary city. Specifically they were concerned that the DOJ sought and obtained a consent decree in federal court requiring the New Orleans Police Department to adopt policies that prohibit police officers from considering an individual's immigration status when performing their law enforcement duties.  The committee stated that it was troubled by policies that mandated that:
"...NOPD members shall not make inquiries into an individual’s immigration status ... The enforcement of civil federal immigration laws falls exclusively within the authority of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) ....The NOPD shall not engage in, assist, or support immigration enforcement except as follows: (a) In response to an articulated, direct threat to life or public safety; or (b) When such services are required to safely execute a criminal warrant or court order issued by a federal or state judge ... Unless authorized ... members are not permitted to accept requests by ICE or other agencies to support or assist in immigration enforcement operations . . .   In the event a member receives a request to support or assist in a civil immigration enforcement action[,] he or she shall report the request to his or her supervisor, who shall decline the request and document the declination in an interoffice memorandum to the Superintendent through the chain of command..."
The Committee told Loretta Lynch that it was outrageous that DOJ would seek a consent decree to actually inhibit the ability of the federal government to enforce federal law:
"...By hindering the ability of ICE to apprehend criminal aliens, DOJ consciously disregards the safety and security of the American public by enabling the release of these criminals back into our communities to commit more crimes.  It also places ICE agents and officers at greater risk when they are forced to arrest these criminal aliens who are no longer in a secure jail facility, but in public places where they can more readily escape or access a weapon.  In addition, the consent decree may be interpreted to require NOPD to adopt policies that require its officers to violate federal law.  The policy statements referenced above could be read to require the violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which provides that no person or agency may prohibit or restrict a federal, state, or local agency from sending, requesting, receiving, or exchanging information about an individual’s immigration status with ICE..."
The committee submitted an extensive inquiry list to the Attorney General regarding this and held a hearing to investigate the issue.  According to Chairman of the Committee Bob Goodlatte, the Dept. of Justice "consent decree" was a shocking action on the part of DOJ.  Good Latte asserted:
"...The chief law enforcement agency of the federal government acted to impede the enforcement of federal law.  In addition, the policy appears to be in direct violation of section 1373.  Yet, it was reviewed and approved in advance by DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.  This appears to be another example of the current DOJ’s cavalier disregard for the Constitution and the law ... Chairman Gowdy and I sent a letter to the Attorney General in May, asking that she explain how the NOPD policy complies with section 1373 and requesting that she provide communications with New Orleans concerning the development of the policy ... DOJ’s response was almost completely nonresponsive ... The DOJ Inspector General issued a report in May that expressed concern that ambiguous language in some sanctuary policies may cause local officers to comply with such policies in a way that would violate section 1373 ... The Inspector General noted that, 'unless the understanding of NOPD’s employees is that they are not prohibited or restricted from sharing immigration status with ICE, the policy would be inconsistent with section 1373.' ..."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte continues:
"... I have asked for the training materials that NOPD gave to its officers to ensure their understanding of section 1373.  I have been provided with nothing.  This leads to a troubling possibility that through a lack of training, NOPD has in practice violated section 1373 ..."
Goodlatte pointed out collusion between then New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Lynch Department of Justice to turn New Orleans into a sanctuary city.  At the hearing, no administration officials denied that this was the case.  New Orleans P.D. was in danger of losing law enforcement federal grants in excess of $2 million because of the section 1373 violations, however, we have learned that after the hearing was scheduled, the DOJ changed that part of the mandate.

According to Goodlatte:
"...Finally, just four days before this hearing, after this committee’s persistent efforts to expose this disturbing matter and demand action, DOJ informed the Committee that NOPD had revised its sanctuary policy ... Specifically, the NOPD policy now states that it is to be construed in accordance with section '1373(a).'  On that basis, DOJ has represented to the federal court and this Committee that the policy now complies with section 1373 ... Unfortunately, this coordinated effort by DOJ and the City of New Orleans to preserve the patina of legality of their consent decree clearly fails.  Section 1373(b) prohibits jurisdictions from restricting their employees from 'requesting' information from ICE, 'maintaining' such information, and 'exchanging' information with other agencies.  Nowhere does the revised policy require compliance with this subsection ... A NOPD officer that arrests an individual who is believed to be illegally present is most likely going to contact ICE to 'request' information regarding that individual’s immigration status.  However, the revised NOPD policy expressly prohibits NOPD officers from making 'inquiries into an individual’s immigration status.' ... DOJ and NOPD have provided no evidence that NOPD in practice has complied with section 1373.  And they have provided no training materials showing that officers have or will be properly trained regarding compliance with section 1373 ..."
So in the absence of oversight by Congress, the Obama Justice Department essentially colluded with a mayor to create a Sanctuary city to fulfill the requirements of their political agenda in violation of federal law,  to the detriment of the security of that municipality, and  the restriction of law enforcement officers from carrying out their appointed duties.  Sanctuary cities exist, however, this case reveals that federal agents, time, energy,  and taxpayer funds  have been used to create a sanctuary city with a Department of Justice willfully and purposely violating the very laws it is supposed to enforce.

As of this date no sanctions, no reprimands, and no penalties have been issued, nor has anyone been held accountable for the violations.