Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
There has been a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the issue regarding the current “immigration reform bill” that the Senate has taken up, but one thing you likely haven’t heard about at all is the scope and breadth of power the massive 850-page-plus measure contains. Simply put, if it becomes law, it will give the Department of Homeland Security near-dictatorial powers.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, has entered a letter into the congressional record from law enforcement personnel around the country who are warning S.744, officially titled the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” would grant sweeping, discretionary powers to “political appointees” – bureaucrats – while stripping law enforcement of authority.
‘Virtually unlimited discretion’
The letter, from the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council of the American Federal of Government Employees Affiliated with AFL-CIO, states:
Congress can and must take decisive steps to limit the discretion of political appointees and empower ICE and CBP to perform their respective missions and enforce the laws enacted by Congress. Rather than limiting the power of those political appointees within DHS, S. 744 provides them with nearly unlimited discretion, which will serve only to further cripple the law enforcement missions of these agencies.
The members warn that the bill conveys to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano “virtually unlimited discretion to waiver” prohibitions on getting legal status, such as previous deportations or criminal activity:
This same section (Section 2101 of S. 744) gives the Secretary of Homeland Security virtually unlimited discretion to waive any manner of crimes that would otherwise make an individual ineligible for legal status – for such expansive reasons as family unity, humanitarian purposes, or what the Secretary believes is in the public interest.