Archive for the ‘Trump and law enforcement’ category

Trump Court Nominee Upheld Rights of Police Against Holder DOJ Misconduct

September 29, 2017

Trump Court Nominee Upheld Rights of Police Against Holder DOJ Misconduct, PJ MediaJ. Christian Adams, September 29, 2017

(The excerpt from an article identifying Tom Perez as the Secretary of Labor was written before Mr. Perez, an Obama appointee, was replaced by President Trump’s appointee R. Alexander Acosta, who was sworn in on April 28, 2017. — DM)

Bernstein is still employed at the Civil Rights Division.

Ironically, Bernstein’s boss is now one Tamara Kessler, an ideological partisan and law enforcement foe in her own right, whom the Obama Civil Rights Division politicos burrowed into a career civil service position at the end of the administration. (Hans von Spakovsky and I have each chronicled Ms. Kessler’s lengthy swamp pedigree before.)

***********************************

President Trump has nominated a slate of solid picks for the federal bench, including a new list of nominees this week. Among them is Kurt D. Engelhardt.

Trump nominated Engelhardt to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a district that covers the area from Alabama to the Rio Grande. Engelhardt already serves as a United States District Court judge in New Orleans.

Engelhardt will be familiar to PJ Media readers.

He is the judge who wrote a scathing 129-page order blistering the misconduct of lawyers at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the local New Orleans U.S. Attorney’s Office in a prosecution of New Orleans police officers. His order offers a look behind the curtain of some of the worst ideological misconduct that occurred at the Obama DOJ.

Misconduct may be an inadequate word to describe the behavior of DOJ lawyers, and Engelhardt saw it all up close. See PJ Media’s “Justice Dept. Lawyer Karla Dobinski’s Misconduct Sends Cops to Prison,” or Hans von Spakovsky writing at National Review: “Grotesque DOJ Misconduct“.

Here’s von Spakovsky on the Holder DOJ’s skullduggery and Engelhardt’s opinion:

Trying to figure out what the prosecutors had done sent the court “on a legal odyssey unlike any other.” But that legal odyssey led the judge on September 17 to grant a new trial to the New Orleans police officers. It is the first time, according to Judge Engelhardt, that federal “prosecutors acting with anonymity used social media to circumvent ethical obligations, professional responsibilities, and even to commit violations of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

The 129-page order, which details the misbehavior of the Louisiana DOJ lawyers and the Civil Rights Division’s Dobinski, is appalling reading. And it isn’t just that Dobinski was a high-level Justice Department lawyer who was posting anonymous blogs about the trial. She also encouraged other anonymous bloggers, who “repeatedly posted vigorous pro-prosecution statements strongly condemning the defendants, their witnesses, and their entire defense.”

If you want to see the corrupt depths that ideological lawyers in the Holder Justice Department would plumb to convict cops, read Engelhardt’s entire order.

It is a tale of deliberate and deceptive violation of the constitutional rights of police officers in order to get a conviction at any price, and of lying to the court. It is a cautionary tale of civil rights enforcement run amok from ideologically driven hatred of police — an issue that even this week continues to resonate in America.

As I wrote at PJ Media, one of the lawyers, Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein, was criticized by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for misleading Englehardt. Did her behavior hurt her career?

Quite the contrary:

Bernstein even received an award from Attorney General Eric Holder and now-Labor Secretary Tom Perez for her work after the New Orleans police trial where she made statements to the federal judge later proved to be false.

Not only did the DOJ lawyers engage in an anonymous internet campaign against the police, the Justice Department engaged in a broader abuse of power in the prosecution. Again, the federal appeals court:

[A]t least one cooperating defendant felt coerced into pleading guilty, that the sentences meted out to defendants were shockingly disparate, that FBI Agent William Bezak had used coercive tactics against a defense witness, and that the defense was deprived of live testimony by at least three witnesses who refused to testify at trial when DOJ targeted them for possible perjury charges.

Eric Holder and Tom Perez award Bobby Bernstein for New Orleans police case.

Bernstein is still employed at the Civil Rights Division.

Ironically, Bernstein’s boss is now one Tamara Kessler, an ideological partisan and law enforcement foe in her own right, whom the Obama Civil Rights Division politicos burrowed into a career civil service position at the end of the administration. (Hans von Spakovsky and I have each chronicled Ms. Kessler’s lengthy swamp pedigree before.)

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals also got a taste of the Justice Department misconduct and upheld Engelhardt’s dismissal of charges against the police. Upholding Engelhardt, the Fifth Circuit wrote:

These prosecutors created an air of bullying against the defendants whose rights they, especially Dobinski, were sworn to respect.

Just as a mob protesting outside the courthouse has the potential to intimidate parties and witnesses, so do streams of adverse online comments. The impact is felt not only by the defendants but by codefendants pressed to plead guilty or defense witnesses dissuaded from testifying. Preventing mob justice is precisely the goal of prosecutorial ethical constraints.

Of course, mob justice is not so out of fashion as it once was.

Police groups should take note, and thank the president for the Engelhardt nomination. So should regular Americans who appreciate the men and women who serve as a thin blue line between civilization and anarchy.

At the Orgy of Self-Righteousness

August 19, 2017

At the Orgy of Self-Righteousness, American SpectatorGeorge Neumayr, August 18, 2017

(Please see also, Anti-Israel Academics Launch Campus Antifa Group for Faculty. — DM)

The press had grown accustomed to Republican presidents who suffered under what might be called a conservative inferiority complex. Trump, fortunately, isn’t touched by it and is willing to call the self-appointed ruling class on its propaganda and lies. As phony Republicans and conservatives chase after the mob headed for Lee’s statue, there stands Trump like a stonewall.

******************************

Out of this week’s orgy of self-righteousness has come toppled statues in the South, a vandalized Lincoln Memorial in the North, a Democratic state senator in the Midwest calling for the assassination of President Trump, and numerous other examples of “progressive” barbarism. It tells you everything you need to know about the rancid condition of “higher education” that the scenes of the greatest irrationality in America today take place in university towns.

In Durham, a cradle of ruling-class liberals at Duke, demonstrators put down their copies of Malcolm X’s memoirs long enough to take off Robert E. Lee’s nose in the school’s chapel. How will Duke respond to this vandalism? By expelling the students? Or by expelling the Lee statue?

Naturally, “conservatives” and members of the stupid party are joining the lynch mob instead of stopping it. By the way, what exactly do “conservatives” conserve anymore? It is difficult to say, except maybe their seats on Meet the Press and Morning Joe. Turn on the TV and you are likely to hear some “conservative” rebuking Trump for his ban on transgendered troops, extolling the glories of gay marriage, and casting Robert E. Lee as a traitorous dirtbag. Rich Lowry wants to see the Confederate monuments “mothballed.”

One wonders what entitles this generation to speak so confidently about past evils given its inability to recognize present ones. Modern America is awash in the blood of millions of aborted children — a monstrous evil we’re told is as central to the modern lifestyle as slavery was to the ancient one.

Can anybody imagine the “conservatives” heard this week lecturing Trump on his comments ever refusing to appear in the company of abortion advocates? No, the Bill Kristols are only too happy to belly up to the smugfests of the pro-abortion liberal elite. They consider their pro-abortion peers very fine people indeed. They will often lecture social conservatives on the need to lighten up and accept the “Big Tent.”

Of course, it is an enormous lie that Trump ever called white nationalists very fine people. He explicitly condemned them. His comment was obviously referring to the non-racist protesters dismayed by the removal of Lee’s statue. Notice that nobody in the press actually quotes Trump’s statement, since that would expose their “reporting” as despicable propaganda worthy of a Soviet show trial.

The fake news has never been faker, as puffed-chest “anchors” instruct their audiences to trust their dishonest paraphrase of Trump’s remarks. And of course here too the “conservative” press joined in the journalistic malpractice. The politically correct weenies at the New York Post, for example, ran outrageously dishonest headlines about Trump calling the white supremacists fine people.

A parade of “conservative” prognosticators and effete Republicans say that this controversy will inflict permanent damage on Trump. Before you take their comments seriously, go back and look at what these cocky jackasses said about Trump’s chances in the Republican primaries. If any of these frauds ever tried to run against Trump, he would crush them. Pundits on stations with anemic ratings, and pols who couldn’t win their own states, claim that they speak for the “country.”

These dolts still don’t get it. Trump won the presidency not in spite of his defiance of conventional wisdom but because of it. And he will win re-election for the same reason. If anything, the hidden Trump vote will increase. Trump’s strength is that he refuses to go wobbly in the face of fashionable lies — a trait no Republican president since Reagan has displayed.

One can only laugh at the fatuousness of the Bushes, who so desperately want to be seen as “enlightened” on matters of race. In what the press reported as an implicit rebuke to Trump, they issued a joint statement on Tuesday from Kennebunkport against “hatred.” I recall George W. Bush saying that one of the most troubling moments of his presidency was when Kanye West accused him of not giving a damn about the stranded people of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. That criticism hurt deeply, an anxious Bush acknowledged. Bush’s imprudent decision to invade and occupy Iraq, causing thousands of collateral deaths, didn’t keep him up at night. No, he was worried about the self-indulgent carping of a celebrity rapper. And the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. When Bush’s daughter made the utterly minor and innocent mistake of confusing the titles of two black movies, she quickly popped up on the Today show to offer an abject, tears-streaming-down-the-face apology to the black community.

The press had grown accustomed to Republican presidents who suffered under what might be called a conservative inferiority complex. Trump, fortunately, isn’t touched by it and is willing to call the self-appointed ruling class on its propaganda and lies. As phony Republicans and conservatives chase after the mob headed for Lee’s statue, there stands Trump like a stonewall.

Trump vs. MS-13

August 2, 2017

Trump vs. MS-13, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, August 2, 2017

President Trump’s intensifying crackdown on transnational crime gang MS-13 is being met with fierce resistance by the Left.

Understanding the leftist mind is an inexact science but the complaints seem to center around the idea that in the Trump era trying to eliminate an ethno-culturally non-diverse criminal organization is somehow racist, no matter how horrifying and brutal the group’s crimes against innocent Americans may be. The Left habitually sides with antisocial causes, putting partisanship over the interests of the American people. Left-wingers promote so-called sanctuary cities which are magnets for illegal aliens and the crime that accompanies them. They don’t care about the damage such policies do to American society.

Although it may sound like hyperbole to some, leftists hate Donald Trump and everything he stands for, so if Trump comes out against rapists and serial killers, for example, the Left will defiantly take a stand in favor of rapists and serial killers.

Racist left-wing journalist Jamelle Bouie of Slate argues that MS-13 is nothing to be afraid of. It’s all hype. He writes that the president’s speeches on MS-13 and illegal aliens employ words to “make white people afraid.”

“Trump wasn’t just connecting immigrants with violent crime,” according to the in-your-face Black Lives Matter supporter. “He was using an outright racist trope: that of the violent, sadistic black or brown criminal, preying on innocent (usually white) women.”

The massive pile of corpses generated by MS-13 suggests otherwise.

Trump’s clampdown on MS-13 is “emboldening them, because this gives them the opportunity to tell immigrants, ‘What are you gonna do? Are you going to report us? They’re deporting other innocent people … [so] they’re going to associate you with us by you coming forward,'” says Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator for the far-left Make the Road, which CNN describes as an immigrant advocacy group.

“‘So what are you going to do? Who’s going to protect you?’ And that’s what really strikes many of us.”

Make the Road is heavily funded by George Soros’s philanthropies, National Council of La Raza, as well as by other left-wing funders, including the Tides Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund Inc., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

What on earth could generate such apoplexy among left-wingers?

President Trump told law enforcement officials on Friday at the Van Nostrand Theatre in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., that his administration will bring MS-13 to heel.

Together, we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities, and we’re going to destroy the vile criminal cartel, MS-13, and many other gangs. But MS-13 is particularly violent. They don’t like shooting people because it’s too quick, it’s too fast … they like to knife them and cut them, and let them die slowly because that way it’s more painful, and they enjoy watching that much more. These are animals.

Since January 2016, “MS-13 gang members have brutally murdered 17 beautiful, young lives in this area on Long Island alone.” Gang members “kidnap, they extort, they rape and they rob,” the president said.

They prey on children. They shouldn’t be here. They stomp on their victims. They beat them with clubs. They slash them with machetes, and they stab them with knives. They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. They’re animals.

Trump declared that it is “the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13,” and praised law enforcement for “liberating our American towns.”

This is like I’d see in a movie: They’re liberating the town, like in the old Wild West, right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be standing up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island where I grew up, but that’s what you’re doing.

To finish the job, Trump called for more than doubling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff focused on enforcement and deportations.

Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE. This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people. It’s essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers — and we’re asking for that — so that we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country.

And Trump laid the blame for the rise of MS-13 where much of it belongs: on former President Obama. The Obama administration “enacted an open-door policy to illegal migrants from Central America. ‘Welcome in. Come in, please, please.’”

Under Obama’s policies, “MS-13 surged into the country,” Trump said. “In the three years before I took office,” the president added, “more than 150,000 unaccompanied alien minors arrived at the border and were released all throughout our country into United States’ communities — at a tremendous monetary cost to local taxpayers and also a great cost to life and safety.”

Mara Salvatrucha, commonly called MS-13, reportedly operates in 42 states and in the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Its motto is “kill, rape, control.”

Although often described as a Salvadoran criminal organization, that doesn’t tell the whole story. MS-13 was founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s who came to the U.S. after the various Central American civil wars of the period.

According to investigative reporter Ines Rivera, MS-13 grew out of the Salvadoran Civil War (1979 – 1992) in which tens of thousands perished. During that conflict,

Many died or saw their loved ones killed in death squads, civilian massacres, beheadings, and in the crossfire. A reality often not talked about is the fact that many of the soldiers in the war were children. Using firearms, blunt objects or machetes, Ms-13 members have been known to leave their victims with their limbs severed, at times decapitating them as well; this kind of violence is a characteristic that distinguishes them from other gangs.

The origin of the name Mara Salvatrucha is disputed, but Rivera reports that it “is a conglomeration, combining the name of a violent street gang in El Salvador called, La Mara or gang, with Salvatruchas, a term referring to members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which was a group of Salvadorian peasants trained as guerilla fighters,” Rivera writes. “The ‘13’ is believed to stand for the letter M, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, but it [has] also been rumored to pay homage to a California prison gang, the Mexican Mafia.” Others say the “13” refers to the 13 seconds new initiates to the gang are supposedly beaten by existing members in a hazing ritual.

No matter how despicable and loathsome MS-13 may be, there are plenty of activists on the Left who side with the group over America’s 45th president.

Vox’s Dara Lind idiotically proclaimed Trump’s address to police as “the most chilling speech of his presidency,” and accused him of “explicitly encouraging police violence.”

Lind sided with MS-13, implying Trump was spewing racism by “[r]eturning to the theme of scary immigrant criminals” so he could provide “tough talk before an adoring crowd.” She gave MS-13 a pass, mocking Trump for addressing in “gory” detail “the methods by which MS-13 members supposedly torture and kill Americans.”

Then there was the disgraceful recent performance by so-called Republican pundit Margaret Hoover on CNN.

The crackdown on MS-13 was part of a racially coded law enforcement sweep, she maintains.

“Trump was there to highlight the existence of criminal gangs,” and what Trump “was actually doing is he was highlighting the existence of a criminal gang that is South American, El Salvadorian,” said Hoover, whom Breitbart News describes as “one of many Republican useful idiots CNN trots out to bash Trump and his supporters in exchange for pats on the head and cheers of affirmation from Democrats and liberal media elites.”

Ignoring the specific threat posed by MS-13, Hoover said that Trump was focusing attention on the group because there “are individuals from other countries, sometimes there are citizens of the country, sometimes they’re not, of course Americans citizens get caught up and every violent criminal who is here should be deported, and they are on borrowed time.”

Trump’s attacks on the gang are a sop to “white supremacists,” Hoover said.

In other words, Trump is a bigot so of course he is trying to hurt minorities, in this case, members of MS-13.

Sane Americans sympathize with the president’s goal of taking a strong stand against the vile butchers of MS-13, regardless of whether they approved of President Trump.

That’s what patriots do.

But on the Left there aren’t many of those remaining.

How Trump Can Help the Cops

April 26, 2017

How Trump Can Help the Cops, Front Page MagazineHeather Mac Donald, April 26, 2017

Reprinted from City Journal

Donald Trump vigorously defended law enforcement during his presidential campaign. He pledged to restore order to the nation’s cities—where violent crime is surging—and to reinvigorate the rule of law. His appointment of conservative Republican senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general was a strong signal that Trump’s words were more than campaign rhetoric. Now that the Trump administration and the Sessions-led Justice Department are up and running, where should they focus their efforts?

The most immediate goal of the Trump administration should be to change the elite-driven narrative about the criminal-justice system. That narrative, which holds that policing is lethally racist, has dominated public discourse since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. In response, officers are backing off of proactive policing, and violent crime is rising fast: 2015 saw the largest one-year spike in homicides nationwide in nearly 50 years. That violent-crime increase has continued unabated through 2016 and into the early months of 2017. A Trump administration official—perhaps Attorney General Sessions, or the president himself—should publicly address the question of what we expect from police officers: Do we want them to be proactive and to try to stop crime before it happens? Or do we want them to be purely reactive, responding to crime only after someone has been victimized? The administration should explain that data-driven, proactive policing made possible the country’s 20-year, 50 percent violent-crime decline that began in the mid-1990s.

In February, Sessions made a good start in turning around the false narrative about policing, addressing the National Association of Attorneys General. Sessions warned that the nation’s violent-crime decline is now at risk, while acknowledging that the crime increase is not happening in every neighborhood. Yet we are diminished as a nation, he said, when citizens “fear for their life when they leave their home.” (To be blunt, the violent-crime increase has hit almost exclusively in black neighborhoods. Nine hundred additional black males were murdered in 2015 compared with 2014, bringing total black homicide deaths that year to more than 7,000. It is a marker of the perversity of elite rhetoric about race that both Trump and Sessions have been fiercely attacked as racist for pledging to save black lives.)

Sessions noted that officers have become reluctant to get out of their cars to conduct discretionary stops and other “up-close” preventive policing. The administration should go further: it should convey the charged, hostile atmosphere in which officers in many urban areas now operate, thanks to the hatred spread by the Black Lives Matter movement. Gun murders of officers increased more than 50 percent in 2016, led by the targeted assassinations of cops.

A frontal assault on the dominant narrative about a racist criminal-justice system will require laying out the stark racial disparities in criminal offending and victimization. The public has been kept in the dark for decades about how vast those disparities are: blacks commit homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined, for example, and die of homicide at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. Lifting that veil of ignorance is necessary to explain why officers operate more actively in minority neighborhoods—in order to save lives. The public must also understand that it is law-abiding members of high-crime communities themselves who beg the police to maintain order, and that such public-order policing was central to the now-jeopardized 20-year crime decline.

The federal government will be vigilant against abusive policing, the administration should say, but it will not deem police departments and police officers biased for proactively fighting crime.

The federal government’s practice of slapping years-long consent decrees on police departments calls out for reform. There is zero chance that civil rights attorneys in the federal government know more than police departments do about how to fight crime constitutionally and successfully. Yet the Obama administration opened 25 “pattern-or-practice” civil rights investigations, based on the false notions that police bias is widespread and that federal lawyers are qualified to recommend effective police practices. The Department of Justice is currently enforcing 14 consent decrees with local departments, which grew out of such investigations. At a minimum, the Trump administration should publish data on how much the Obama-era investigations and consent decrees have cost those departments.

At the end of March 2017, Sessions announced a review of existing and pending consent decrees. The immediate target of this review was a consent decree for the Baltimore Police Department, hastily signed in the waning days of the Obama administration and at that point still awaiting final approval from a federal judge. Sessions’s reevaluation was fully justified.  As is typical, the Obama-era DOJ report that preceded the Baltimore decree failed to put numbers behind its charge that the Baltimore PD engaged in a “pattern or practice” of unconstitutional policing. The Obama report blasts the Baltimore cops for “clearing the corners” of miscreants and loiterers, but the police engage in such corner-clearing at the behest of the community. Since the report came out in summer 2016, Baltimore neighborhoods have been overrun by drug dealers, who now believe that they can operate with impunity. Residents have begged the department to return to corner-clearing and other public-order enforcement.

The proposed Baltimore consent decree discourages all such self-initiated police activities. It requires officers to contact a supervisor before making an arrest for minor offenses like disorderly conduct. It prohibits officers from stopping and questioning trespassers and loiterers, unless the officer has received a call for service regarding those individuals. The spurious philosophy beneath these rules is that policing should focus on “serious offenses,” not “minor infractions.” But the best way to prevent serious offenses is to maintain public order in high-crime areas. Proponents argue that the deemphasis on low-level enforcement will save money; in fact, it will only lead to more high-level crime.

Violent street crime in Baltimore has remained at alarming levels in 2017; shootings were up 78 percent through February 25, compared with the same period in 2016; homicides were up 38 percent through early March. These increases come on top of the highest per-capita homicide rate in the city’s history in 2015 and close to that record rate in 2016. Complying with the consent decree will cost financially struggling Baltimore millions of dollars—money that could be better spent hiring new officers and giving them rigorous tactical training. Officers will be pulled from the streets to compile reports for the overpaid federal monitor, covering matters including—as reported in the Power Line blog—whether beat cops respect an individual’s chosen “gender identity” in addressing him (or “zim”). In March 2017, seven plainclothes Baltimore officers were indicted for extortion and fraud. The consent decree is irrelevant to this egregious failure of supervision, focusing as it does on the usual policing-is-racist narrative. Five of the seven indicted officers were black.

The Sessions Justice Department requested a 90-day pause before District Court Judge James Bredar made the Baltimore decree irrevocable. This request triggered strenuous protest, not just from activists and Democratic politicians but also, bizarrely, from Baltimore police commissioner Kevin Davis himself. Davis in essence was declaring his inability to manage his own police department without federal oversight. Judge Bredar rejected the DOJ request for a 90-day extension and approved the decree on April 7, consigning Baltimore and Maryland taxpayers to a depleted and demoralized police force and to tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars of unnecessary costs and fees.

The next target of the Sessions consent decree review is an as-yet unfinalized consent decree in Chicago. Since no agreement between the Justice Department and Chicago officials has been signed, the Justice Department should drop negotiations and pull out. The Obama-era report that triggered the pending consent decree suffers from the same flaws as the Baltimore report: it provides no quantified evidence for its claim that the Chicago Police Department engages in systemic civil rights abuses. The mayhem in Chicago in February and March 2017 alone included the slaying of a two-year-old boy and two other children in separate drive-by shootings over four days, and the spread of rape, robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings into downtown and other previously safe neighborhoods. Quelling that violence will not be made easier by diverting police resources into the care and feeding of a federal monitor.

The 2012 police consent decree in New Orleans, for example, is projected to cost $55 million over five years; the actual cost will be much higher. A recent news story trumpeted the fact that sexual-assault complaints rose 83 percent in 2015 (allegedly suggesting greater “gender” sensitivity in the New Orleans Police Department). What should be of greater concern is the fact that New Orleans is also in the midst of an ongoing violent-crime spike. Shootings and homicides more than doubled in January 2017 over January 2016, notwithstanding that 2015 and 2016 had already seen a significant rise in murder and shootings.

Sessions’s announced review of pending consent decrees brought forth the same claims of impotence on the part of Chicago officials as it did in Baltimore. The attorney general should ignore these professions of dependency on the federal government and do the right thing for the law-abiding residents of Chicago’s gang-terrorized neighborhoods by tearing up the proposed decree.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division should formulate and publish the criteria that it will use to open pattern-or-practice civil rights investigations of police departments. It should quantify the constitutional violations that it uncovers during pattern-or-practice investigations and explain how it concludes that these infractions rise to the level of a “pattern or practice” of civil rights abuses.

The federal government should analyze police actions against a benchmark of crime rates, not population data. If 55 percent of police stops in a jurisdiction have black subjects, for example, the relevant starting point for analysis is the percentage of violent crime committed by blacks, not the black percentage of the resident population.

The specious population benchmark for finding police discrimination is typical of the disparate-impact analysis that drove most criminal-justice policy under the Obama administration. Such analysis should be extirpated in its entirety. There is not a single colorblind law-enforcement practice that does not have a disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics, given their higher rates of crime. The only way to avoid a disparate impact in law enforcement is to stop enforcing the law.

Before the election, the FBI announced a worthy initiative to collect and publish data on all officer uses of force. Such reporting must be accompanied, however, by information on local crime rates, since police use of force will occur most frequently where cops encounter armed and resisting suspects.

Crime-fighting remains overwhelmingly a local matter. But federal agents—from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service—can provide vital assistance. Federal law enforcement reoriented itself toward counterterrorism and cybercrime following the 9/11 Islamist terror attacks. With violence skyrocketing in many urban areas, it is time for a rebalancing. Embattled police departments are calling for more federal agents to work on joint gun and drug task forces. Trump’s proposed budget for the Justice Department has recognized that demand by allocating an additional $175 million to address violent crime.

U.S. gun and drug prosecutions fell significantly during the Obama years, discouraged by the administration’s belief that mandatory-minimum federal sentences, especially for drug trafficking, have resulted in the “mass incarceration” of minorities. In fact, drug enforcement plays no role in disproportionate black incarceration rates. If all drug prisoners were removed from the nation’s prisons, the share of black prisoners would drop from 37.4 percent to 37.2 percent. Libertarians might welcome the five-year, 18 percent drop in federal drug prosecutions, but neighborhoods riven by drug violence do not. In Baltimore, when the local police stopped making drug arrests following the anti-cop riots of April 2015, shootings spiked. Attorney General Sessions must encourage U.S. attorneys in high-crime areas to increase their gun and drug cases, including RICO prosecutions. While modest changes in the federal sentencing guidelines for drug trafficking are acceptable, they should not be undertaken in the name of “racial justice.”

All federal law-enforcement agencies should adopt a CompStat system for information-sharing and analysis. CompStat, first developed in the New York Police Department under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, holds commanders ruthlessly accountable for measurable results. A White House allegedly informed by business acumen should welcome such a proven system for bottom-line accountability.

Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, called on local U.S. attorneys to involve themselves in prisoner reentry and rehabilitation activities. The Trump administration should determine if that initiative is producing enough crime reduction to justify the diversion of scarce prosecutorial resources; arguably, reentry activities are most efficiently carried out by U.S. probation officers. Federal prisons, on the other hand, can serve as a model for prison work policies and prisoner education. The Bureau of Prisons should partner with private business for job-skills development, as recommended in the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.

Sanctuary cities, counties, and states must be severely penalized. These scofflaw jurisdictions, numbering about 300, refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) efforts to deport convicted illegal-alien criminals. When ICE requests that a jail in a sanctuary jurisdiction briefly hold a criminal who has finished serving his sentence so that ICE can pick him up for deportation, the jail will deliberately release him before ICE can arrive, unless his crime was particularly heinous. Over just one week in late January 2017, ICE found 206 criminal aliens who had been released back to the streets in defiance of a detention request. Their convictions included aggravated assault with a weapon, robbery, rape, aggravated assault against a family member, domestic violence, life-threatening arson against a residence, burglaries of homes and businesses, battery, carrying a prohibited weapon, resisting an officer, driving under the influence, forgery, and indecent exposure. Pending charges against those released aliens included homicide, aggravated assault against an officer with a weapon, and indecent exposure to a minor.

Such disobedience of lawful federal requests undermines the constitutional system. It is also a betrayal of a fundamental truth that big-city police chiefs purport to believe: that all violations of public order, including so-called low-level offenses, threaten community cohesion and safety. There is no public benefit to sending an illegal-alien criminal back into the community if grounds exist for removing him. Congress should impose liability on local law-enforcement officials if someone is victimized by an illegal-alien criminal released in defiance of ICE.

Passage of the Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015, which establishes a compulsory five-year sentence for illegal reentry, would encourage U.S. attorneys to prosecute illegal aliens who have reentered the country following deportation. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget rightly funds 75 additional immigration-judge teams and 20 additional attorneys and support staff for immigration litigation in order to speed up removal proceedings.

Local police departments are shaking the cup for more federal funding, but the Trump administration should resist. Federal grants are not new money; they are merely the same taxpayers’ dollars that localities rely on, minus the huge administrative costs of being routed through Washington. Though many departments desperately need more officers and more tactical training, the better way to provide those resources is to lower federal spending mandates and the federal tax burden so that localities can pay for their own policing needs. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is taking the lead in demanding more federal money for social programs and summer jobs. But if government welfare programs were the solution to crime, we would have had crime-free inner cities decades ago.

Only initiatives that are truly national in scope should be federally funded. Research on what works in crime-fighting is a proper federal function, since local police departments lack the money to conduct their own studies. Topics to be explored include: the effectiveness of public-order and hot-spot policing; the relationship between criminal history and recidivism; and the success rate of electronic monitoring. The federal Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, announced in February, will explore how to improve data collection in order to fight crime more effectively; a crash course in CompStat data analysis would help detect unmet data needs.

The Obama DOJ spent a lot of time talking about police “legitimacy”; by contrast, the Trump DOJ should advocate for more hands-on, scenario-based tactical training that helps officers avoid the need to use deadly force. Officers should be taught how to cope with stress. When cops use foul language, threats, and unjustified force, they are usually overreacting to stress. The current fad for de-escalation training is appropriate, so long as the proposed principles do not jeopardize officer safety.

From dash-cam videos to body cameras on officers, technology plays an increasingly vital role in policing and in public perceptions of policing. Several areas need to be addressed. The cost of storing video from police body cameras has become a huge problem. The federal government could help determine if a federal cloud for storage or a state consortium is the best solution. Washington should encourage departments to adopt lawful surveillance technology such as aerial cameras and family genetic matching to target criminals surgically.

National legislation is needed on encryption. Law-enforcement agencies now fear “going dark” during the surveillance of criminals and terrorists, thanks to encryption. The feds could also help with technology to improve communications (interoperability) between the nation’s 18,000 police departments. Anti-cop activists and anarchists are breaking into law-enforcement communications. Police WiFi was hacked during the November 2014 anti-cop riots in Ferguson, Missouri; the previous month, a radio operator tried to interfere with police movements and air-support operations in the area. Masked Black Bloc anarchists and Black Lives Matter activists will join forces in the Trump era to attack law and order, as happened in the Berkeley, California, riot in early February 2017. Federal and local law enforcement need to up their game in countering such lawlessness; the wearing of masks to facilitate crime must be severely penalized.

The Obama Justice Department ordered more than 28,000 federal law-enforcement officers and prosecutors into “implicit-bias” training—a form of sensitivity reeducation aimed at teaching police how to combat their own (alleged) subliminal prejudices. Attorney General Sessions should cancel this initiative and lift the pressure on local police departments to put their own officers through this wasteful exercise. The claim that policing, especially police shootings, is riven with “implicit bias” is untrue—in 2016 alone, four academic studies showed that if there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. The Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS) has partnered with the Office of Violence Against Women to combat “gender bias.” This is another waste of money and should be ended. There is no significant gender bias in American society, and it is not a criminal-justice issue.

The previous Justice Department’s concern with phantom police bias extended to personnel practices. An October 2016 report called for law-enforcement agencies to boost their minority hiring. The report recommended that departments weaken or eliminate their requirements of a clean criminal record in order to make more minorities eligible. This report and the message behind it should be withdrawn. There is no evidence that minority officers are “fairer” in their policing. The Justice Department itself found in 2015 that black and Hispanic officers in Philadelphia were more likely than white officers to shoot an unarmed black suspect based on the misperception that he was armed. Lowering hiring standards, particularly criminal-background standards, is a sure recipe for corruption and incompetence on a police force.

Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended that police departments mandatorily report to the DOJ their race and gender composition. This recommendation should be axed. And any mandated reporting on police activity that includes the race of suspects stopped or arrested should be accompanied by data on racial crime rates in the police agency’s juridiction. Ideally, the word “diversity” would be excised from all federal communications when it refers to race, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Those traits have no bearing on federal programs or on qualifications for federal employment.

Trump is under pressure from conservatives to fire FBI director James Comey for his actions regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, his refusal to corroborate Trump’s wiretap allegations against Obama, and the FBI’s investigation of ties between Trump associates and Russia. Trump should resist the pressure to fire him. Comey was virtually the only voice in the Obama administration to call attention to the urban crime increase. He also correctly identified its cause because he understands the power of policing. He will be a valuable asset in quelling the crime spike.

Finally, while police officers have an indefeasible obligation to treat everyone they meet with courtesy and respect and within the confines of the law, community members have a reciprocal obligation to obey police commands and not resist arrest. The Trump administration could start a national campaign: “Comply now, complain later.” Such a campaign would publicize the fact that the vast majority of questionable police shootings over the last several years, as well as the justified police shootings, were triggered by the noncompliance of the victims.

Border Patrol union urges Trump to cut Obama’s red tape holding back agents

April 3, 2017

Border Patrol union urges Trump to cut Obama’s red tape holding back agents, Washington Times

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent peers out of the open door of a helicopter during a patrol flight over McAllen, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border. (Associated Press)

The Homeland Security Department has been reluctant to send helicopters on nighttime missions to aid the Border Patrol, leaving agents to face drug smugglers and illegal immigrants without critical air cover, the chief of the agents’ labor union told Congress late last month.

Brandon Judd, an agent who is also president of the National Border Patrol Council, said that unless President Trump can solve that kind of bureaucratic bungling — and is willing to oust the Obama administration figures who botched the policies — he will struggle to secure the border.

The helicopters are one example of that, Mr. Judd said.

Mr. Judd said that when the Border Patrol controlled its own helicopters, it got the air support it needed. But after the Homeland Security Department was created more than a decade ago, the helicopters were turned over to the Office of Air and Marine, which has been reluctant to fly the nighttime hours the agents need.

“Right now the Office of Air and Marine, they fly very little at night,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “In fact, in [the Rio Grande Valley sector], we had to use Coast Guard to fly sorties in certain areas. And when their apprehensions became so great, it’s my understanding the officer at Air and Marine asked them not to fly anymore at night in RGV because it was making them look bad.”

Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees both the Border Patrol and the Air and Marine division, declined to comment.

But Mr. Judd said it’s just one example of a bureaucracy erecting hurdles — what he called “kingdom-building” — that he said could stymie Mr. Trump’s immigration goals.

“We talk about securing the border, and the border — we can absolutely secure it, but it cannot be secure if our operations are not sound,” Mr. Judd told The Washington Times.

“What’s very concerning to Border Patrol agents is, to this point, we still have the same people who gave us all of the failed operations, who were the authors of the catch-and-release program. They’re still in charge — even under this current administration,” the union chief said. “That’s head-scratching, especially since the president said we’re going to drain the swamp.”

Mr. Trump’s early changes to enforcement policy, freeing agents to carry out the law enforcement duties they signed up for, has helped boost morale, said Mr. Judd and Chris Crane, the head of the union for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council.

But they said the agencies’ leadership needs attention.

Mr. Crane said “a good ol’ boy network” pervades ICE, which he said is too heavy on managers who get in the way of agents trying to enforce immigration laws in the interior. He said agents are eager to enforce laws against employers who hire illegal immigrants, but their hands are tied.

The complaints of bureaucratic bungling struck home with both Democrats and Republicans on the homeland security committee, who said they are eager to find bipartisan areas where they can help the agents get things going.

One challenge is the polygraph test, which all Border Patrol applicants must pass. The agency’s 75 percent failure rate is higher than that of any other law enforcement department, but the top brass say they are committed to it — even as they prepare to try to hire 5,000 more agents to comply with Mr. Trump’s executive orders.

Even police officers who have passed polygraphs for their current jobs but who are looking to transfer can end up failing, Mr. Judd said.

Both Democrats and Republicans said they are eager to clean up the immigration agencies within the Homeland Security Department and would like to find common ground with the agents and officers.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, said the panelists want to know the names of bureaucrats who are standing in the way of smart enforcement — though she said the ICE and Border Patrol unions, which endorsed Mr. Trump in the election campaign, may have a greater claim to the president’s ear.

Still, one Democrat, Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, said she worries that the agency is expanding too quickly, without training to protect illegal immigrants from overzealous enforcement. She wanted to make sure agents weren’t going after lesser-priority targets.

“When troops on the ground have not been trained, it leads to dysfunction because there is a lack of consistency and accountability and direction,” she told Mr. Crane, the chief of the union for ICE agents and officers.

Mr. Crane told her she misunderstood how agents in the field carried out their priority targeting.

Mr. Crane and Mr. Judd also said the government needs to be careful about salaries. Because ICE agents have higher pay and often have better living options away from remote border communities, Border Patrol agents may rush to join the other force.

Part of the problem is the complicated bureaucratic web.

ICE and the Border Patrol are separate law enforcement divisions within Homeland Security.

That bureaucratic mess also helps explain the problem with helicopter patrols along the border.

The Border Patrol used to have its own helicopters, but after CBP was created as part of Homeland Security, the Air and Marine division was created as a separate agency within CBP. Now, when agents want the assistance of eyes in the sky, they have to go outside their own chain of command.

Mr. Judd said the helicopters are a perfect illustration: Most illegal crossings are attempted at night, and air support is critical for maintaining visibility.

Just as important, when those attempting to sneak in hear a helicopter overhead, they are less likely to run — making the apprehension easier and less dangerous for agents.

Mr. Judd said the air division has dedicated most of its resources to the Border Patrol, but not at the right times, leaving the agents without night cover.

“We expected to see a huge change in the way CBP operates. There’s been no change to this point,” he said.

CBP has long faced questions about its use of air resources. The Homeland Security inspector general has been particularly withering in its evaluation of the drone program, saying CBP has a tough time keeping its aircraft aloft and in scheduling missions and can’t demonstrate the worth of the program.

CBP officials have said the inspector general is using suspect calculations.

Flights themselves can be dangerous.

In 2015, a helicopter was called in to assist local police who were trying to stop a drug smuggling attempt near Laredo, Texas. As the helicopter was making its second pass, it took fire from the Mexican side — perhaps as many as 15 rounds, two of which struck the aircraft.

CBP officials later said the man who fired on the helicopter was a specialized contractor whom the smugglers used to provide cover for their operations. Mexican authorities caught the man.

But in hopes of sending a message to the cartels, CBP sent to the region several Black Hawk helicopters, which can be armored to withstand enemy fire while continuing to fly.

The curse of criminal illegal aliens

March 9, 2017

The curse of criminal illegal aliens, Washington TimesTammy Bruce, March 8, 2017

A man passes a section of border fencing that separates Tijuana, Mexico, with San Diego on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

In November 2016, President-elect Donald Trump said this to CBS’ “60 Minutes”: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country, or we are going to incarcerate.” Everyone, especially liberals and feminists, should be grateful he’s acting on that promise.

The criminal illegal alien population is destroying lives across the country, especially those of young people in immigrant communities.

Under President Trump’s directive to remove criminal illegals from our streets, we are learning about the vast network of one of the world’s most deadly gangs — MS-13. Originally from El Salvador, it found a foothold in Southern California as refugees fleeing the bloody civil war during the 1980s.

Now, as Fox News reports, “With as many as 10,000 members in 46 states, [MS-13] has expanded beyond its initial and local roots and members have been convicted of crimes ranging from kidnapping and murder to drug smuggling and human trafficking.”

Sounds like a JV team.

And what exactly has MS-13 been doing to the communities it infests? A headline from this newspaper a few days ago reads, “Bodies found in Virginia park latest sign of ‘out of control’ MS-13 gang activity.”

In New York, Fox News reports, “Law enforcement officials have said MS-13 is the largest gang on Long Island with Suffolk County “cliques” concentrated in the villages of Brentwood, Huntington, Copiague, Farmingdale and Islip. The gang has been blamed for 30 other killings on Long Island since 2010.”

Just a week ago the network reported, “Thirteen members of the notorious Salvadoran gang MS-13 were charged Thursday in connection with seven murders including the 2016 killings of high school teenagers on New York’s Long Island. … Four of the suspects were charged directly with the murders of Kayla Cuevas, 16, and Nisa Mickens, 15, close friends who were beaten to death on Sept. 13, 2016.”

The U.S. Attorney says the two girls were targeted because they criticized the gang at school and on social media. Their bodies were unrecognizable after being found bludgeoned and hacked by machetes.

Fox also reports of the 13 MS-13 members arrested in New York in the aftermath of these obscene murders, 10 are illegal aliens, two are U.S. citizens and one is a green card holder.

Last week in Houston, two MS-13 gang members were charged in what’s being called a “satanic” murder, kidnapping and rape. From the Houston Chronicle: “Houston police gave new details Friday morning about a shocking murder case in which prosecutors say two gang members killed a young woman as a satanic sacrifice. … Prosecutors charged yesterday that two alleged members of violent Salvadoran gang MS-13 — identified in court documents as Miguel Alvarez-Flores, 22, and Diego Hernandez-Rivera, 18 — killed the young woman and held a 14-year-old girl against her will.

“The chilling allegation is at the center of a still-unfolding case that includes murder and kidnapping, cocaine dealing and sex trafficking by two members of a street gang that prides itself on violence. … Prosecutors said both men were living in the United States illegally,” noted the newspaper.

The motto of MS-13? “Kill. Rape. Control.”

Teenage girls are “recruited” as prostitutes for the gang. They girls are gang-raped and then sent around the country for other MS-13 hubs to use as sex slaves. The Daily Mail reports, “Many girls who undergo this horrific torture end up prostituting themselves for the gang across the country, according to Brenda Paz, who was a criminal informant for the FBI.” Ms. Paz was eventually murdered by the gang.

The victim in the Houston murder? Genesis Cornejo-Alvarado, a 15-year-old girl missing from New Jersey.

And then there are the garden-variety criminal illegal felons who also cause death and destruction.

“An illegal Mexican immigrant with a long rap sheet who has been deported five times allegedly killed a California woman in a violent drunk driving crash. Estuardo Alvarado, 45, was arrested after slamming his car into the back of Sandra Duran’s vehicle … after fleeing another crash he had just been involved in. The 42-year-old mother died at the scene of blunt force trauma,” reported the Daily Mail.

So, for all the houses of worship pledging to “shelter” criminal illegal aliens from the president’s commitment to drive this cancer from our country, and all the feminists marching in opposition to Mr. Trump because he’s “a racist and a sexist,” it’s time to look up. Start marching for Kayla, Nisa, Genesis, Sandra and all girls and women whose lives have been destroyed by gangs and sex-trafficking facilitated by criminal illegals and open borders.

Mr. Obama’s policies helped this cancer spread. Mr. Trump’s policies, regardless of what you think of him, will put it in remission and save untold numbers of women’s lives.

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns

February 22, 2017

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns, PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy, February 22, 2017

homelandsecheadHomeland Security Secretary John Kelly, right, watches during President Donald Trump’s meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Tuesday, John Kelly, President Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, published a six-page, single-spaced memorandum detailing new guidance on immigration enforcement. Thereupon, I spent about 1,500 words summarizing the guidance in a column at National Review. Brevity being the soul of wit, both the memo and my description of it could have been reduced to a single, easy-to-remember sentence:

Henceforth, the United States shall be governed by the laws of the United States.

That it was necessary for Secretary Kelly to say more than this — and, sadly, that such alarm has greeted a memo that merely announces the return of the rule of law in immigration enforcement — owes to the Obama administration abuses of three legal doctrines: prosecutorial discretion, preemption, and separation of powers (specifically, the executive usurpation of legislative power).

To the extent President Obama declined to enforce immigration law (notwithstanding his constitutional obligation to execute the laws faithfully), he did so under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. In the pre-Obama days, prosecutorial discretion was an unremarkable, uncontroversial resource-allocation doctrine. It simply meant that since resources are finite, and since it would be neither possible nor desirable to prosecute every crime, we target law-enforcement resources to get the most crime-fighting bang for the taxpayer buck. That means prioritizing enforcement action against (a) the worst offenders and (b) the unlawful causes of the activity.

This is easily illustrated by federal drug enforcement. There are comparatively few federal narcotics agents, compared, say, to police in a major city. But while both feds and cops have authority to arrest traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs, only federal jurisdiction is interstate and international. Consequently, the best use of finite federal enforcement resources is to limit them to prosecutions of significant felony importation and distribution offenses, leaving it to the states and municipalities to handle street pushers and misdemeanor violations involving the use of drugs.

Significantly, the fact that federal enforcement policy, which is made by the executive branch, does not target lesser felons or users does not mean this policy effectively repeals federal drug laws, which are written by Congress.

The non-targeted crimes are still crimes, and the feds reserve the right to prosecute them in appropriate cases (e.g., if they encounter these offenses in the course of carrying out other criminal enforcement missions).

In the area of immigration enforcement, Obama contorted this resource allocation doctrine into a de facto immunity scheme. That is, the Obama Homeland Security Department announced what it labeled enforcement “priorities.” If an illegal alien did not fit into the priorities, it was as if the alien were insulated against prosecution — effectively, it was as if there was nothing illegal about being an alien unlawfully present in the United States; it was as if Obama’s policies were a legal defense against Congress’s duly enacted laws.

This was complemented by a second legal distortion: Obama’s mangling of the so-called preemption doctrine. As we’ve noted, there are certain areas of law — like immigration and narcotics enforcement — in which the federal and state governments have concurrent jurisdiction: both are permitted to regulate and prosecute. This can work well (it generally does in drug enforcement); but it can be counterproductive if the dual sovereigns work at cross-purposes.

In some areas, like immigration, the courts have ruled that the federal government is supreme (on the dubious but now well-rooted theory that immigration law enforcement is primarily a federal responsibility). This means that the federal government has the power to preempt state action. Importantly, preemption is a power of Congress. That is, in an area of federal supremacy, states are prohibited to act in a manner that would contravene federal law.

Obama, to the contrary, took the position that states were forbidden to take action that contravened Obama immigration policy.

This was brought into sharp relief by the administration’s conflict with the state of Arizona. Far from seeking to countermand federal law, Arizona sought to enforce Congress’s statutes. Yet, Obama took the position that the state was bound not by Congress’s statutes but by Obama’s proclaimed enforcement policies — even if those amounted to non-enforcement of Congress’s statutes.

This was a perversion of both preemption and prosecutorial discretion. As long as Arizona was taking action consistent with federal law, its enforcement measures could not be preempted. Moreover, even if Arizona’s enforcement policy was broader than Obama’s, that should not have mattered: as we’ve seen, a federal exercise of prosecutorial discretion just means lesser crimes are not targeted, not that they are no longer crimes. If Arizona took action against those lesser crimes, that was completely appropriate; it was filling a gap in federal enforcement, not defying federal law.

The obstacles imposed by Obama’s immigration proclamations bring us to the third legal abuse: the usurpation of legislative authority. In effect, Obama’s announced priorities became not guidelines for immigration enforcement but new federal laws. According to the administration, only those aliens who fit Obama’s guidelines could be prosecuted. The Homeland Security Department was instructed to halt enforcement action at the earliest possible stage — i.e., once it was understood that an illegal alien did not fit a priority category, all investigative activity was to stop, even though it was known that the alien was acting illegally.

In effect, the Obama priorities operated like law. They controlled what federal investigators and prosecutors could do, and they were used to block states from enforcing their own laws. In this, at least for as long as Obama was president, they supplanted Congress’s laws — a clear violation of separation of powers.

All the Trump guidance announced in Secretary Kelly’s memo really does is repeal Obama’s decrees. The memo essentially says: the law of the United States is back to being the law of the United States. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.