Patterico's Pontifications

2/5/2009

Another Obama Nominee, Another Problem with Unpaid Taxes

Filed under: General,Obama — Patterico @ 11:23 pm

Unbelievable: yet another Obama nominee facing questions about unpaid taxes:

A Senate committee today abruptly canceled a session to consider President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Hilda Solis to be labor secretary in the wake of a report saying that her husband yesterday paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business — including liens that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

Amazing how they just get around to figuring this out at nomination time.

A Follow-Up to This Morning’s Post About That Wretched L.A. Times Article on Apprehensions of Fugitive Aliens

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:02 pm

This morning I criticized an L.A. Times article that claimed that a new study, “along with newly released internal memos,” shows that ICE has “abandoned its stated mission to go after dangerous fugitives and instead targeted noncriminal undocumented workers.” I showed that the study actually showed that ICE had done no such thing, but rather had given greater latitude to teams serving warrants on fugitive aliens to arrest other illegal aliens they encountered while serving those warrants.

Following up on my post this morning about ICE’s arrests of fugitive aliens, commenter carlitos uncovered further evidence supporting my arguments. His findings are significant enough to merit a new post.

carlitos provides a link to the internal memos that, according to the L.A. Times, show that ICE had “abandoned its stated mission to go after dangerous fugitives.” Here’s a representative quote from one of the memos: “Apprehending fugitive criminal alien cases has always been, and will continue to be, one of the highest priorities for FUGOPS teams.” Further:

To further the enforcement mission of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FUGOPS teams will prioritize their fugitive cases according to the following standards:

1. Fugitives that pose a threat to national security
II Fugitives that pose a threat to the community
III. Fugitives convicted of violent crimes
IV. Fugitives with criminal records
V. Fugitives that are non-criminals

There will be no percentage quota for the types of cases to be worked. Fugitive cases at all priority levels are to be worked by the FUGOPS teams, but the higher priority cases take precedence.

Wow. You can really feel the abandonment of the commitment to go after dangerous fugitives, huh? It just leaps off the page at you, all that “abandonment.”

But surely the numbers don’t reflect this commitment? After all, in a quote from the study that appeared in this morning’s article, one of the study’s co-authors claims: “Maids and landscapers are precisely the people being rounded up by this program.” carlitos quotes some statistics from the memos that are a wee bit consistent with this claim — and are more consistent with the sorts of numbers I provided this morning:

(1) fugitive vs. non-fugitive arrests, within the meaning of ICE’s Fugitive Case
Management System Reporting and the 1000 Arrest Annual Goal for Fugitive
Operation Teams Memorandum, dated Sept. 29, 2006;

FY05: Fugitives: 5,781; Non-fugitive: 2,178

FY06: Fugitives: 10,109; Non-fugitive: 5,353

FY07: Fugitives: 18,323; Non-fugitive: 12,084

FY08: Fugitives: 25,936; Non-fugitive: 8,219

Most of the people being arrested are fugitives — not maids and landscapers.

The article features a prominent quote from someone at the “Immigration Justice Clinic” claiming that the government is targeting the “low-hanging fruit” of noncriminal undocumented workers. But what is the “Immigration Justice Clinic”? Should we not know this, to assess the credibility of the so-called expert’s claim? Apparently, the editors at the L.A. Times think this information is irrelevant. They neglect to tell readers anything about this organization — but carlitos comes up with the goods that the paper fails to disclose:

Initiated at the law school in 2008, the Immigration Justice Clinic responds to the vital need today for quality legal representation for indigent immigrants facing deportation, while also providing students with invaluable hands-on lawyering experience. The clinic represents immigrants facing deportation before federal immigration authorities and in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and represents immigrant community-based organizations on litigation and advocacy projects. Peter L. Markowitz, a practicing attorney and full-time clinical assistant professor, is the director.

Yes, it’s an immigrants’ rights group. Was that not pertinent information, editors?

As for the Migration Policy Institute, the independent, nonpartisan think tank that put out the study . . . I checked its sources of funding. I fully expected to find what I found: that one of the funders is the Open Society Institute — in other words, our old friend George Soros. (Who else?)

Ah, the things the L.A. Times neglects to tell you. You could fill a book with them.

Greg Packer Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:04 pm

JammieWearingFool catches the latest Greg Packer sighting. This time it’s the New York Post:

One devoted Torre fan, 45-year-old self-proclaimed retiree Greg Packer of Huntington, even stood in freezing temperatures from 3:30 a.m. on to get the first spot for the afternoon signing – and that was after standing in a long line the day before at a Midtown bookstore to get Torre’s signature, too.

“It was worth it,” Packer said. “I wish he was still the [Yankees] manager. With the talent we have on this team now, we’d be guaranteed to get to the World Series with Torre in charge.”

I love this guy. His indomitable spirit and need to be quoted serves as an inspiration to us all.

Best Wishes to Justice Ginsburg

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:38 pm

The AP reports:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today for pancreatic cancer, raising the possibility that one of the ideologically divided court’s leading liberals — and its only woman — might have to curtail her work or even step down before she had planned.

I wish Justice Ginsburg well. I am not a fan of Justice Ginsburg’s jurisprudence, but I respect her — as I do all the justices save Anthony Kennedy. (And of course, even if it were he who were suffering this malady, I would wish him well too.) Plus, she’s an opera fan and a personal friend of my hero Nino Scalia — so I figure that she must be a good person.

Pancreatic cancer has a poor survival rate, but the fact that hers was operable is a good sign. Good luck and best wishes to the justice.

L.A. Times Documents Immigration Authorities’ Shameful Policy of Actually Deporting Illegals With Whom They Come Into Contact

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:10 am

I have difficulty conveying the depth of my contempt for this morning’s shoddy article on immigration enforcement.

In a nutshell, the L.A. Times appears to be upset that immigration authorities are doing their jobs better, and deporting more illegal immigrants. And editors express their dissatisfaction by grievously distorting a recent report on deportations and illegal alien criminals.

The article begins:

For more than five years, U.S. immigration authorities have touted the success of a national program aimed at arresting and deporting dangerous criminals and fugitives.

. . . .

But new data released Wednesday showed that 73% of the nearly 97,000 people arrested by the fugitive operations teams between 2003 and early 2008 did not have criminal records, according to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

The data, along with newly released internal memos, show that the agency abandoned its stated mission to go after dangerous fugitives and instead targeted noncriminal undocumented workers — the “low-hanging fruit,” said Peter L. Markowitz, director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York, who sued the government to get the documents.

Reading that passage, you’d think that the agency was arresting fewer dangerous fugitives. Not so. Instead, the report shows that the agency has continued to go after dangerous fugitives — arresting them in increasing numbers as time goes on. The L.A. Times won’t tell you that inconvenient fact, because it destroys the dishonest narrative that they are foisting on readers.

So why is there a high percentage of arrestees who are not criminal aliens? The answer is simple. As ICE serves its warrants at the houses of fugitive aliens, it encounters a large number of other illegal immigrants. Before 2006, ICE had a policy of releasing these aliens, because they were not the targets of the raids, (Also, the arresting teams were operating under a quota system that required that 75% of the arrests be fugitive aliens. This discouraged arrests of other illegal immigrants found at the locations where warrants were served.)

In 2006, the policy was changed. Now, the teams serving these warrants were required to arrest any illegal alien with whom they came into contact. Overall arrests and deportations were expected to increase sharply — and they did. In 2003, the teams arrested 1901 illegals; in 2004, they arrested 6584. In 2006, by contrast, after the policy change, the number of overall arrests jumped to 15,462. In 2007, it was an astonishing 30,407.

The article mentions this explanation deeper in the article, but fails to tell you that: 1) the numbers show this explanation is accurate; 2) the absolute number of fugitive aliens with criminal records arrested has gone up over time; 3) there is no evidence that ICE has deliberately targeted locations with no fugitive aliens; and 4) overall arrests of fugitive aliens (with or without criminal records) has gone up significantly.

By accusing ICE of shifting its focus to illegal aliens without records, the L.A. Times implies that ICE has begun targeting locations containing no fugitive aliens at all. The report contains no evidence of that at all. Indeed, the report implies otherwise at page 20, saying that “[t]he majority of the arrests of [illegal immigrants without criminal records] presumably occur because such individuals happen to be nearby whlie [Fugitive Operations Teams] conduct their operations.” In other words, ICE is still targeting locations with fugitive aliens with criminal records. They are simply starting to arrest non-fugitive aliens whom they encounter during those raids.

Ultimately, the editors are whining that federal immigration officials are actually arresting and deporting more of the illegal immigrants with whom they come in contact.

And that’s a bad thing??

Once you understand what’s really going on, it’s hard to see it as a problem. It makes a better story to suggest that we have de-emphasized the effort to get the real bad guys.

Sure, the suggestion is false. But didn’t you hear what I said? It makes a better story.

The narrative is all that matters.

P.S. I have much more detail on the numbers here.

UPDATE: Much more on this here, mostly thanks to carlitos.


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