On August 18, 2011, then Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announcing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would implement a backdoor amnesty program. Four months before, the Senator had asked the Administration to halt deportations of those who would have qualified for amnesty under the Dream Act, even though that amnesty had failed to pass Congress the year before.
The letter, which essentially granted Sen. Reid’s request, explained that DHS would establish an “interagency working group to execute a case-by-case review” of all pending and incoming deportation cases. The review was intended to ensure that proceedings only continue against aliens who fall under the Department’s “priorities.” Napolitano promised that DHS and DOJ attorneys, in addition to other personnel, would identify “low-priority” deportation cases at every stage of the process that should be considered for an exercise of discretion. She also stated that she would issue guidance to prevent “low-priority” cases from even entering the system in the first place.
The Administration then proceeded to implement this backdoor amnesty city by city, starting with pilot programs in late 2011 in Baltimore and Denver, then proceeding to Detroit, Seattle, New Orleans, Orlando, and San Francisco before a year had passed. The number of cases dismissed through this backdoor amnesty policy reached 28,983 by the end of 2013.
But the policy did not go unnoticed. Word of a new amnesty spread quickly among illegal alien communities, leading very soon to the start of the surge of unaccompanied minors across the border that has now reached crisis proportions.
Read more at FAIR’s President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.