None Dare Call It Nonsense

      A Texas judge's injunction against President Obama's executive orders on immigration will be overturned promptly by the 5th Circuit.
     U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, a right-wing appointee of President George W. Bush, let his animus against Obama and immigrants prejudice his judgment.
     Hanen knows nothing about how immigration policy has been conducted for centuries - or he doesn't care to know it.
     Any district director of U.S. immigration services has the power to do what President Obama did.
     A district director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the power to admit immigrants into the United States on a whim.
     He or she can set them free on no bond, or imprison them under any bond he chooses.
     He can give them work permits, or not; let them travel out of his district, or not; charge them criminally or not; order them sent to a deportation hearing immediately or put it off indefinitely. He can do this because of where they came from, or their religion, or because they entered the United States in one place instead of 10 miles up the river.
     And the ICE boss in the adjoining district can enforce opposite policies on every point.
     Neither Texas, nor the 25 other Republican-controlled states that shopped for judges before suing the Obama administration in Brownsville, Texas, would dream of suing an ICE district director for this.
     Because that's the way it's always been done.
     I did legal work in U.S. immigration prisons for years. I wrote the first history of U.S. immigration prisons. The situation has not changed one bit since my book came out 19 years ago.
     ICE district directors have immense powers, some of which I've described. An ICE deportation officer has virtually the same powers, though deportation officers are civil servants a mere GS step or two above a Border Patrolman, but unelected - as are ICE district directors.
     Since 1980, district directors for ICE, and its predecessor the INS, have done these things:
     - Ordered refugees of war to be imprisoned in one Border Patrol district, but let them go 10 miles away;
     - Set bonds at $7,500 in one district and at $1,500, or nothing, in an adjoining one;
     - Given work permits and indefinitely postponed deportation hearings for Nicaraguans, but denied work permits and ordered immediate deportation hearings for Salvadorans;
     - Ordered every border-crosser in their district locked up, then let them all go, then ordered them all locked up again;
     - Allowed refugees of war to be tortured in U.S. immigration prisons.
     Most of these peculiar orders were approved, or ordered, by the U.S. attorney general. An INS or ICE district director who bucked the attorney general on Monday would be looking for a job Tuesday.
     All of these contradictory, often cruel, policies were actions of the executive branch.
     Congress never complained, effectively, nor did the glorious state of Texas, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Obama administration - Texas, where 3-year-old babies were strip-searched because their mother asked to talk to a lawyer.
     What were those babies hiding in their vaginas?
      I saw a deportation officer raise the bond of a Salvadoran torture victim from $1,500 to $3,000 when my co-worker, a nun, tried to bond him out.
     Sister Suzanne raised another $1,500, and when she went to bond out her client the deportation officer raised her to $5,000.
     Sister Suzanne wrinkled her nose - a nun's protest - then got other nuns involved, and she got her client out.
     This is the way the U.S. immigration system is run: on whims and vindictiveness. On orders from the Executive Branch, and whatever the district director says next.
     To claim that the president of the United States has "exceeded his powers," by doing no more than any ICE district director does every day, is utter balderdash.
     Now Speaker of the House John Boehner has threatened to kill funding for the Department of Homeland Security unless the president rescinds his order protecting millions of people who were brought to our country as children, and graduated from schools, and lived honestly, and can prove it.
     Boehner's proposal is vile, dishonest and racist - not just because it is a naked appeal to his party's voters - but because it ignores the way U.S. immigration policy is conducted, and has been conducted forever.
     Surely Boehner, as Speaker of the House, knows this. He has access to this information.
     The only reason Boehner and his party can do this is because 99.9% of the U.S. people do not understand how our immigration services are run, and always have been.
     Boehner and his party are bathed with blood, dancing upon corpses, willing to shut down funding for U.S. counterterrorism operations around the globe, to gain a few political points.
     None dare call it sanity.