Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Tries to Convince Readers that Feds Are Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

The Los Angeles Times has a front-page story that suggests the federal government is really cracking down on people who illegally re-enter the country. However, the paper doesn’t tell you that the big “crackdown” is actually a joke. Here is the story’s lede:

Federal authorities are cracking down on immigrants who were previously deported and then reentered the country illegally — a crime that now makes up more than one-third of all prosecutions in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, a Times review of U.S. attorney’s statistics shows.

The surge in prosecutions reflects the federal government’s push in recent years to detect illegal immigrants with criminal records in what may seem the most obvious of places: the state’s jails and prisons.

It sounds encouraging, until you look at the actual numbers of this “surge” in prosecutions:

Prosecutors filed 539 such cases in fiscal year 2007, making up 35% of the total caseload, compared to 207 in 2006 — 17% of all cases. Statistics for the first four months of this fiscal year show the trend continuing.

539 cases, up from 207 in 2006. That’s like saying: we’re getting an extra foot of water in this ship every minute — but we’re now bailing out the water with two eyedroppers instead of one! Great news! Now the ship will sink in five hours instead of 4 hours and 58 minutes. I’m relieved! How about you?

By any measure, tens of thousands of illegal aliens head for the Central District of California every year, many of whom have been removed from the country before. The first comment to this post has some relevant statistics.

When illegal immigrants re-enter the country, how likely are they to be prosecuted? Everyone knows that U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the Southwest have extremely restrictive filing guidelines on filing illegal re-entry cases. Recall that, during the U.S. Attorney scandal, it emerged that (with rare exceptions) Paul Charlton in Phoenix refused to prosecute illegal re-entry cases until the illegal alien had illegally re-entered the country for the 13th time. That’s not a typo. In most cases, if an illegal alien was deported and re-entered the country for the twelfth time, Charlton wouldn’t prosecute him.

Moreover, ICE agents lack incentive to submit illegal re-entrants for prosecution. Let’s revisit a post I did in June of last year, as part of my Deport the Criminals First series. In that post, I told you:

A source who wishes to remain anonymous, but whose word I trust, tells me an eye-opening story. My source once had a conversation with an ICE deportation officer in the Southern California area, who said that he personally arrests (on average) two people a week who could be prosecuted for illegal re-entry — but that he almost never submits the cases for prosecution. Instead, he just deports them. The deportation officer explained to my source that, as far as ICE is concerned, there is no requirement that every potential case of illegal re-entry be submitted for prosecution. Whether to submit such cases is considered an internal matter within ICE.

What’s more, the deportation officer said, there is no incentive to prosecute illegal re-entry cases. Some other ICE agents are specifically tasked with putting together illegal re-entry cases, and they do their job. But as a deportation officer, this agent said, he doesn’t get any additional recognition or credit for submitting illegal re-entry cases for prosecution — and it’s a lot more paperwork than simply deporting an illegal alien. So, although he arrested something like a hundred people a year for this offense — and keep in mind that we’re talking about only one deportation officer here — he submitted almost none for prosecution.

So if the prosecutions have more than doubled, what does that mean? It means that now, instead of submitting between zero and one cases per 100 for prosecution, that officer is probably now submitting two out of every 100. Don’t you feel better?

Sorry, but I’m not impressed that the Central District is prosecuting 539 people a year for illegal re-entry. I don’t blame the people who run that office; there’s only so much they can do with the resources they’ve been given. Hey, it’s a good thing, I suppose, that they’re using two eyedroppers instead of one. But it’s still fundamentally inadequate by several orders of magnitude, and the responsibility for that goes much higher than the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.

This is the context that the L.A. Times should be giving to its readers. Instead, they’re pushing a front-page story that suggests that the government is really cracking down. The message is: We’re doing enforcement first! And we all know what comes next:

Amnesty for everyone!

More Obama-Clinton News (Updatedx2)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I could probably name every political post for the next 3 months with this title but it’s Sunday evening and I’m running short on time so this is the best I could do. However, the news itself is intriguing.

The Barack Obama campaign is once again, but with more vigor, pressing Hillary Clinton to release all the documents she doesn’t want to release:

“Obama communications director Robert Gibbs called on Clinton to release full post-White House tax returns; disclose all congressional “earmarks,” or pet projects she had inserted into spending bills; and release all documents on the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Library, including a list of donors.

“What is lurking in those documents?” Gibbs asked as the two campaigns had dueling phone conference calls with reporters. “There are gaps that need to be filled,” said senior Obama strategist David Axelrod.”

Clinton senior strategist Mark Penn responded that this is an example of Obama going negative after losses in Texas, Ohio, and an expected poor showing in Pennsylvania. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson called this a personal attack.

The Clinton-Obama race has become a prime-time soap opera and it needs a name. Submissions are welcome in the comments section, with the winner to be determined by a majority vote of secret superdelegates who will vote according to their consciences.

UPDATE 1: And the winner is …

UPDATE 2: The National Archives has released Hillary Clinton’s schedules from her years as First Lady.


2008 NCAA Mens’ Basketball Tournament

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 2:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The brackets are out. The four No. 1s are: North Carolina (East), UCLA (West), Kansas (Midwest), and Memphis (South).

A good viewable bracket is at CBS Sportsline. Pick away and enjoy what promises to be a good basketball tourney.

I, of course, pick Texas and the Big 12. The rest of my family knows I’m an easy mark but I can’t help it.


Hillary’s Plan to Win

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

No wonder Democratic leaders are discussing ways to resolve the Obama-Clinton race. It may have something to do Hillary Clinton’s recent Q&A with Newsweek (March 17, 2008, issue):

“How can you win the nomination when the math looks so bleak for you?

It doesn’t look bleak at all. I have a very close race with Senator Obama. There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they’re all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we’re going to follow the process.”

Following up on those statements, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff (March 24, 2008, issue) apparently has confirmation from Harold Ickes that Hillary may encourage pledged Obama delegates to switch to her:

“Although her campaign quickly denied it was waging any effort to “flip” Obama’s pledged delegates, Clinton’s remarks weren’t academic. After the 1980 battle between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, her chief strategist Harold Ickes noted, the party changed a rule that required pledged delegates to stick with their candidates no matter what. The current rule, adopted in 1982, states that pledged delegates “shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

A “good conscience” reason for a delegate to switch, Ickes told NEWSWEEK, would be if one candidate—such as, say, Clinton—was deemed more “electable.” If delegates believe she has a better chance in November than Obama, Ickes said, “you bet” that would be a reason to change their vote. (He added, however, that the campaign is “focused” on winning over uncommitted superdelegates “at this point.”)”

Obama’s campaign spokesman responded that this proves Hillary would go to any length to win.

I think Presidential candidates have to sell a piece of their soul to put themselves in a position win. However, both Bill and Hillary Clinton seem inordinately willing to damage their Party if it would improve their chance to win. Urging pledged delegates to vote their consciences may be permitted by the rules, but it makes the Democratic Party seem like a political party of elitists beholden to special interests. In other words, it makes Democrats look like their characterization of the GOP.

If Hillary’s plan succeeds, the Democratic Party might as well name Bill Clinton as its permanent Super-DUPER Delegate.


Needed: A Super-DUPER Delegate

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 9:52 am

The New York Times tells of the Democrats’ amusing efforts to avoid an ugly showdown at the convention:

The delegates said they hoped to avoid being portrayed as party elites overturning the will of Democratic voters. They spoke of having some power broker — the names mentioned included Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee; former Vice President Al Gore; and Speaker Nancy Pelosi — step in to forge a deal.

Yeah, that would be impossible to portray as party elites overturning the will of Democratic voters.

If I can put my Arlen Specter hat on here, perhaps what the Democrats need is not merely “superdelegates,” but a “super-DUPER delegate.” A super-duper delegate would be a single delegate who alone decides the nominee . . . and whose vote cannot be overturned by the other delegates, a majority of the electorate, the Supreme Court, or a vote of Congress.

Just trying to help.

Oh, and I love this:

“This was everybody’s worse nightmare come to fruition,” said Richard Machacek, an uncommitted superdelegate from Iowa, who said he was struggling over what to do.

Define “everyone.”

As DRJ says: more popcorn, please.

Robert C.J. Parry on Attempts to Bring Affirmative Action to SWAT

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:24 am

Friend of the blog Robert C.J. Parry makes some news this morning in an op-ed in the L.A. Times. The op-ed addresses the aftermath of the tragedy in which a man named Jose Peña got high on cocaine, grabbed a gun, and threatened to kill himself and his 9-month old daughter Suzie, whom he was holding in his arms. He emerged from the building and fired at officers, hitting one. In the ensuing gun battle, Peña and his daughter were both killed.

Parry writes that Chief Bratton promised a board of inquiry to investigate the incident and make public recommendations. None of it happened:

Shortly after [Suzie Peña’s] death, Police Chief William J. Bratton appointed a board of inquiry to examine the incident. Its mission, he said, was to investigate the officers’ tactics and other factors in the shooting. “For the safety of the public and officers, we need to understand intimately what transpired in that incident,” he said at the time.

In fact, the board did nothing of the sort. None of the SWAT officers from the Peña shooting were even interviewed by the panel, according to multiple sources. Indeed, the board’s eight members included fewer tactical experts (one) than attorneys (three). In its final report, the board acknowledged that it had been “ultimately precluded from gaining a full and complete understanding of what transpired in Peña until after this report was finalized.”

What’s more, Assistant Chief Sharon Papa privately promised the team shortly after the incident that the report would be aired openly, according to officers who were present. That didn’t happen either. The final report — completed 15 months ago — has not been released. Many senior department officials have never seen it, and Times reporters have repeatedly requested it but have been turned down. I received a copy earlier this month from a source.

The report shows that instead of fulfilling Bratton’s promises, the board used the Peña case (with Bratton’s encouragement) as a way to push for a series of politically correct changes within SWAT — changes that many cops believe will have absolutely no benefit and that they believe will endanger the lives of citizens and cops alike.

It turns out that the attorney-heavy panel made a bunch of recommendations to make SWAT look more like Los Angeles. “The new test’s only physical challenges are a modest physical fitness qualification and a modified obstacle course. ‘My preteen daughter could pass that,’ one officer said.” If these recommendations are implemented, you are likely to see a mass exodus from SWAT.

There are two issues at play: 1) the P.C. proposal to revamp SWAT, and 2) the issue of why this board of inquiry didn’t investigate the case it was supposed to investigate, and why the findings were not made public. Robert concentrates on the first, which has to do with officer safety. I have a feeling that, the L.A. Times being what it is, we’re going to be hearing a lot more about the second, which has to do with Bratton’s integrity, and LAPD reform and secretiveness. Look for much more about this in coming days.

UPDATE: I originally said: “He emerged from the residence and fired at officers” — but it wasn’t a residence. This has been fixed.

Also, I am given to understand that Jack Dunphy may have a piece coming out on NRO which will have other interesting details about this. Stay tuned.

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