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U.S. misinformed Congress, public on immigrant release

Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images

Some of the immigrants freed last year as a cost-saving move had criminal records far more serious than the Obama administration has previously disclosed.

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

New records contradict the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released “low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records,” a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said “discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency’s control.”

Lawmakers expressed concern. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it is “deeply troubling that ICE would knowingly release thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees – many with prior criminal records – into our streets, while publicly downplaying the danger they posed.”

Immigration authorities detain an average of about 34,000 people a day. Although the agency regularly releases immigrants who have been charged with serious crimes, it typically does so because their legal status has changed or because they cannot be deported — not as a way to save money. That distinction, combined with the fact that last year’s release happened abruptly and with no advance notice, fed the partisan firestorm that followed.

ICE pays an average of $122 a day for each immigrant it keeps in detention.

The detainees were awaiting deportation or hearings in immigration court. The release did not stop those proceedings; instead, most were released with electronic monitors or other forms of supervision.

In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, “No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?”

Morton answered, “They were not.”

He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges.

White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as “low-risk, non-criminal detainees.”

A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge. The agency released the spreadsheet to USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

ICE’s records do not indicate whether the detainees were convicted of those crimes or merely charged with them. The agency said it would not release information identifying any of the detainees because doing so would invade their privacy, so it was impossible to examine the details of their cases.

Morton, who resigned last year, told Congress that the more than 2,200 immigrants ICE released included 629 people with criminal records, all of them people who had been charged with misdemeanors “or other criminals whose prior conviction did not pose a violent threat to public safety.”

That accounting did not include 144 other detainees whose release ICE records attribute to “special issues.” Most often, that meant the detainees were let go because the agency had little chance of deporting them in the near future. The Supreme Court has said the government generally cannot hold immigrants for more than six months….read more.

 

Brad Heath, USA TODAY

Why Wendy Davis Can’t Win

Photo: Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

“(Wendy) Davis is running (for governor) against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is heavily favored to win in a state that remains strongly Republican.”

Katie Glueck, in “Wendy Davis and the ever-longer odds,” Politico, Oct. 19.

Why does Texas, a pulsating, change-oriented state, full of young people, full of minorities, full of those women the Republicans are alleged (by Democrats) to be running a “war” against — how come Texas “remains strongly Republican”? Which it does and probably will for a while longer, barring divine intervention.

I would love to ascribe the reason to good ol’ frontier values as buckskinned and lively now as in the days when John Wayne and such like went around saving us from enemies foreign and domestic. In fact, the frontier disappeared decades ago, along with appurtenances such as carbines and 10-gallon hats. An exceedingly large proportions of today’s Texans lived Up North prior to the 1940s; check the newspaper obits to get the feel for how many people, in post-World War II America, saw Texas as the land of opportunity.

The Indians in Texas these days are the kind Columbus wrongly believed himself to have found in the West Indies; the Vietnamese and Chinese are here as well. Then there are the Mexicans, Texas’ perpetual next-door neighbors, drawing equal in number with the so-called Anglos.

If the Yankee media or the foreign press, or both, believe drawling yokels and Baptist preachers keep the state hitched to the Republican chariot, that is, um, a fallacious assumption.

What, then? How come the Abbott-Davis Race never got anything like close?

There are of course the usual political reasons — Abbott’s long tenure in politics, framed against Davis’ relative inexperience. More to the point is Texas’ undoubted “conservative” streak. It is not the streak the media take vast joy in promoting: backwards, narrow, resentful. It is of another order entirely — frank, breezy, independent; the feeling is of open-shirted, muscle-flexing latitude to do and to be, and to will and to want. The feeling is a good thing. Conservatives know better than to go messing around with a good thing. Their calling in life is to keep and improve it.

The party of Wendy Davis — not necessarily Wendy herself, but the bunch she hangs out with — is the party of interference unlimited. Her Democrats want to tell everybody else what to do and how to do it. Phooey on fossil fuels! No school choice or charter schools! Raise the minimum wage! Stub out that cigarette; drop that Coke can!

Bossy, fussy, imperious, unwilling ever to leave well enough alone, the party of Wendy Davis, and of course Barack Obama, bestrides the nation. Or would if it weren’t for a few stubborn patches of ground like Texas, where independence of action and absence of thought control are prized attributes — to new and old Texans alike.

I would not overstate. Texans there are who think the federal government has their best interests at heart and accordingly should be encouraged and strengthened by the election of people such as, well, Wendy Davis. At the moment these Texans’ numbers are smaller than the number of those who tend to equate the way things get done in Texas with the way things got done in a more fruitful, more serious America, when it was more than OK to set your own compass …….Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/10/22/why_wendy_davis_cant_win_124382.html#ixzz3HNEDocCH

By William Murchison

 

 

 

By William Murchison

Texas official: Most hospitals can’t handle Ebola

Photo: www.khou.com

The first meeting of a 17-member task force was held Thursday

During hearing, officials suggested a different approach to fighting the virus. KHOU

AUSTIN – Texas’ top health official said Thursday that most hospitals can’t handle Ebola patients and that they should instead be treated at specialized care centers – a break with past federal assertions that nearly any American hospital can cope with the virus.

During the first public hearing of a 17-member state task force created after Ebola killed a Liberian man visiting Dallas and infected two nurses treating him, members heard conflicting testimony from health experts about the merits of creating treatment centers specifically equipped for Ebola around Texas and the nation.

But Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said, “I think this is the switch in strategy that has taken place because of this event.”

“Prior to this event, the national strategy was that community hospitals would be able to care for individuals,” Lakey said, “and I think our experience with individuals here shows that that strategy needs to change and that you really need to have some facility ready throughout the state of Texas and nationwide for these individuals to be sent to where folks are specifically trained for this.”

Liberian visitor Thomas Eric Duncan died while in treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, but the two nurses were eventually transferred to federal facilities. Since then, Texas’ task force has designated two state hospitals as specialized Ebola centers and called for creating a “second layer” of regional hospitals to care for Ebola patients if both are full.

Lakey told a hearing at the Texas Capitol that the state’s three cases taught Texas just how “resource intensive” treating Ebola is for regular hospitals, including the necessary protective and treatment equipment and having to assign four nurses to a single infected patient. He and other health experts also noted that having Ebola patients so strained Presbyterian Hospital and reduced the number of Texans will to going there for other care that it created a greater surge of patients at other Dallas hospitals.

As recently as Oct. 2, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Tom Frieden said “essentially any hospital in the country can take care of Ebola.” But he’s since admitted that federal authorities weren’t aggressive enough in containing the virus at the Dallas hospital.

Lakey’s comments came in response not to Frieden, but to Joseph McCormick,…..read more.

Associated Press via KHOU.com

EDITORIAL: Progreso ISD’s expenses outrageous

Photo: www.teapartytejano.com

The greatest number of elected officials in our state — and those with collective control over the most taxpayer entity funds — are made up of school board trustees. There are over 7,000 trustees in Texas who oversee 1,030 districts representing nearly 5 million students.

And just as their title implies, the electorate entrusts them to properly administer tax funds that we put aside for the betterment and education of our youth.

Unfortunately some of these trustees do not always fulfill their obligations to the taxpayers. Case in point: several members of the Progreso Independent School District. It was the center of a criminal corruption kickback scandal in 2013 that has resulted in the former board president currently serving a federal jail sentence.

The new board has been taken over by conservators appointed by the Texas Education Agency who approve all board financial transactions, attend their monthly meetings and oversee their agenda items. From the looks of it, the new board appears to be trying to get back on track and they are to be commended for that.

But a recent state financial report released this week, gives a glimpse of how bad things had gotten there before conservators took over. And it shows what can happen if a school district board goes unchecked by the public.

The Annual Financial Accountability Management Report for 2012-2013 by the Texas Education Agency, released Monday night during a Progreso ISD board meeting at the Progreso Middle School, found the district received a “substandard achievement” rating — the only district in in South Texas’ Education Region 1 to receive this lowest possible rating.

Part of the reason was the district’s failure to provide source materials for its annual audit.

This is especially troubling since the report showed outrageous reimbursements given to Progreso ISD board trustees for meals, gas, transportation and lodging amounting to $87,423 that fiscal year.

TEA conservator Hermelinda Herrera-Romeros told a member of The Monitor’s editorial board that there were “hardly any” receipts or proper documentation for much of those expenses that were paid out using taxpayer funds.

The board’s president at the time, Michael Vela, is serving six years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to controlling city and school district contracts and giving them out in exchange for kickbacks.

According to the report, that year Vela was reimbursed $16,784 by the school district — the most of any board member. He was paid $2,500 for meals; $7,959 for lodging, $4,124 for transportation and $2,200 for “other” costs.

In addition, the report showed that $9,781 was paid to R&M Mechanic Shop & Welding, which is owned by Trustee Raul C. Martinez Sr., who still serves on the board. During that year, Martinez was reimbursed $15,978 for meals, lodging, transportation and $2,495 for “other” costs.

Martinez, who is vice president of the board, was not at Monday night’s meeting and has frequently missed monthly meetings, Herrera-Romeros said.

His son, Raul Martinez Jr., also is a board trustee and in 2012-2013 received $16,490 in reimbursements. Herrera-Romeros tells us that the younger Martinez has not been to a meeting since he won his reelection bid last spring and was sworn in during a May 21 meeting.

Overall, the report was quite damning for the district and we expected more questions and discussion on it from the current board, led by President Juan Ramos Jr.

But after a quick presentation by the interim business manager (the previous business manager was replaced) and one brief question from a board member, the discussion was tabled. There were barely 10 ….read more here. 

-The Monitor Editorial Board

Jumbotron prompts Alamo standoff between anti-abortion activists, city officials

Photo By Joshua Fechter/San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio police and city officials blocked anti-abortion activists Wednesday from bringing a projection screen onto Alamo Plaza to display graphic images of late-term abortions.

Created Equal, an Ohio-based group working with San Antonio-based Love of Truth Ministries, had acquired a permit from the city for the demonstration in August.

But, city officials told the activists that using the “Jumbotron” would violate an ordinance banning digital signs on historic city property, including the plaza near the Alamo.

The city’s claim — initially made in a Tuesday letter from Roderick Sanchez, the city’s director of development services — prompted a standoff in Alamo Plaza on Wednesday between activists, police and city officials.

There, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus reiterated to Mark Harrington, Created Equal’s executive director, that the group could not bring their projection screen onto the plaza.

“I informed them that we would not permit that to happen, but that they were more than welcome to distribute any literature or any other information that they wanted to put out and we’d be more than happy to help them accomplish that,” McManus told reporters.

Harrington said the group will “consider all legal remedies” against the city and will consider returning to the city at a later time. He alleged city officials were discriminating against his group based on their plans to project images of late-term abortions.

“I can tell you this: we’re not going to go away, this isn’t the end of this,” Harrington said.

The decision by police to bar demonstrators from bringing the screen onto plaza grounds followed hours of indecision.

Police first told protesters Wednesday they would be cited for a Class C misdemeanor if they proceeded, but said they would not prevent the group from doing so.

After consulting his lawyer, Harrington decided the group would proceed and take the citation.

McManus then arrived at the plaza and told activists they would not be allowed to set up shop.

Harrington provided copies of the group’s permit for the demonstration and a series of emails between city officials and Daryl Rodriguez, Love of Truth Ministries president, detailing activists’ plans to use the device.

District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal — one of three co-chairs of the Alamo Plaza Advisory Committee, a panel tasked with crafting a vision and guidelines for a master plan process for the plaza — said city staff told him the permit to use the screen was approved in error.

“I have my own personal feelings about whether or not that’s appropriate or respectful,” Bernal said. “At the same time, the city has an ordinance in place that specifically prohibits that kind of technology in historically designated areas, which the Alamo Plaza is.”

Read more here….

By Joshua Fechter, Josh Baugh, Scott Huddleston

Valley band reaches finals in national competition

Photo: PanAmericanOnline.com

Television and radio host Ryan Seacrest picked Edinburg pop band Mayberry for his “Favorite cover of ‘Amnesia’ by 5 Seconds of Summer” contest. The local group entered the final round along with four other artists Oct. 15 and the winner will be announced Oct. 22.

The band faced some obstacles to make it past the first and second rounds. Now in the final round, the group sees the support they have.

“Since the start, the experience has been surreal. We would have never thought to be picked by Ryan Seacrest for anything. Then to actually get votes from our hometown? It’s really all too crazy,” band member Esteban Rodriguez said.

Founded in 2012 they’ve reached a fanbase of more than 5,000 people across the U.S. while their cover of ‘Amnesia’ has surpassed 8,000 hits on YouTube. Having entered the contest with 12 other artists across the world, they’re the only Texas band among the five finalists.

Members of the group include Edinburg natives Esteban and Hector Rodriguez, Ono Zarate, UTPA biology student Brayden Dillard and Andrew Vela, who received his Bachelor’s in accounting at UTPA in 2012.

Selling online merchandise to help fund music releases, Mayberry released “All I Need” in March 2014 and “Just a Dream” the following June. Esteban Rodriguez, the band’s singer, said they are influenced by American rock bands The Mayday Parade and Green Day. Wanting to work with artists like them is one thing that pushed Rodriguez to become a musician.

Knowing each other from previous bands Dillard and Esteban both had a strong passion for music. Shortly after forming the band they wanted more members. Esteban brought guitarist Andrew Vela and bassist Ono Zarate on board. Wanting his younger brother to play alongside him,  second guitarist Hector Rodriguez completed the band.

With people still viewing their YouTube page, their following continues to grow.

“I’ve noticed a growth in our fanbase in the past year. That’s what’s been pushing us to keep making music, for our fans and without them we wouldn’t be in the competition, to be honest,”  said Esteban Rodriguez.

Although they received a message about the competition Sept. 23, they waited until the day of voting to announce the news to their fans.

“I honestly thought it was fake in the beginning,” Esteban Rodriguez said. “I had received an email on Sept. 23 and thought it was spam, so I wanted to wait till the day voting started to announce it.”

On Oct. 1 they checked the Ryan Seacrest website and everyone in the band was shocked to find out the contest was real. Being picked with 12 other artists from around the world, they were quick to spread the word. Hector Rodriguez also gathered support from his peers and teachers at Robert Vela High School.

“News of the contest was spreading fast around my school and peers were telling me they were supporting Mayberry,” Hector Rodriguez said.

More on this story here...

By Jorge Parlatto

Santa Rosa police chief’s position eliminated during city meeting

Photo: ValleyCentral.com

The Santa Rosa city council has voted to eliminate the position of the police chief.

They cited lack of money to fund a full time city manager’s position in the elimination of the police chief’s position.

Right now, Santa Rosa has a part time city manager and no police chief.

City aldermen discussed the police chief’s employment during a city meeting.

The special meeting took place at 7:00 this evening.

The chief previously told Action 4 News he had no idea why his job was on the line.

Read the rest of the story….

by Ryan Wolf

Iwo Jima Vet Celebrates 95th Birthday with an Honor

Photo: Newschannel6now.com

A Texoma man, who spent the majority of his life working to honor those who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima hit a milestone Sunday.

Cy Young fought for our country in World War II and Sunday the Bowie native celebrated his 95th birthday.

Cy worked hard to put together a reunion bringing more than a hundred vets to Texoma each with a story to tell about bravery and loss.

“People of Wichita Falls have always been good to us.” said Young…..Read more.

Newschannel6now.com 

Texas congressman released from hospital

The oldest-ever member of the U.S. House has been transferred from a hospital to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery from injuries suffered in a car wreck.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall said the 91-year-old Texas Republican was discharged from Medical Center of Plano over the weekend to an inpatient rehabilitation center.

Read more HERE.

The Associated Press via Star Telegram

Camp Lone Star – The Arrest of K. C. Massey

Photo: KC Massey’s fb page 

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, Kevin (K.C.) Massey, 48, was arrested in a motel room near Brownsville, Texas. Massey was one of the organizers of Camp Lone Star, which has been turning back, or turning over to the Border Protection Service (BPS), illegal aliens attempting to cross the Southern border. He was alone when the FBI and BATF arrested him, charging him with Felony Possession of a Firearm. He was convicted in 1988 of burglary – over a quarter of a century ago. To better understand the charge against Massey, I refer you to a previous article on a similar situation, “No bended knee for me” – the Charge against Robert Beecher. It would appear that Massey is subject to the same intentional misinterpretation of the Federal Statute.

Sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 PM, FBI and BATF agents arrived at the home of Khristy Massey, Kevin’s wife, located in the Quinlan, Texas, over 600 miles from Camp Lone Star.. Massey had not lived at the home for the past four months, and the house is currently for sale. They wanted to search the house for firearms, though Khristy refused, absent a warrant. She was then threatened with arrest if she removed any firearms from the house. Interesting that one can be threatened with arrest for doing what they want with their lives and property – simply because the government went to search a house, though apparently unable to secure a warrant for that search. It makes you wonder if any laws, whatsoever, bind the federal government.

Massey was one of three members of Camp Lone Star involved in a shooting incident that occurred on August 29, 2014 (Massey’s account of incident). Massey, Allen Varner (Wolf), and John Foerster (Jesus), were patrolling on private property near the Texas/Mexico border. A BPS agent Hernandez, standing about 30 feet from Foerster, fired two shots at him, yelled “Stop”, fired two more shots, again yelled “Stop”, and then fired one more shot. Foerster placed his rifle on the ground, deescalating the situation. Hernandez claimed that he was pursuing some illegal aliens. It is noteworthy to understand that the BPS has been instructed not to fire on illegal aliens, unless fired upon — which did not occur, in this incident. Are we to surmise that the BPS IS instructed to fire on American citizens?

Subsequently, while meeting with a BPS Captain and other agents, Massey, Wolf, and Jesus, were asked to store their weapons in the Captain’s vehicle, for security — since there were still illegals in the area and they didn’t want the weapons unsecured and possibly stolen from the open “mule” which the three were travelling in. They also took Massey’s GoPro camera, with no explanation.

Additional BPS officials, Sheriff Deputies, FBI, and DHS agents arrived on the scene to investigate the shooting incident. A Sheriff Deputy then took possession of the five weapons, claiming that they were a part of the evidence in the investigation in the shooting incident — shooting by the BPS agent, not the three men legally possessing firearms on private property.

Shortly thereafter, Jesus was asked to leave Camp Lone Star because of suspected drug use. He had stayed away from the Camp since that time.

Moving forward to the recent events, Camp Lone Star had rented a motel room, a place to take a shower and get a good night’s rest. The evening prior to the arrest, the motel room was used by some of the Camp Lone Star members to conduct a conference call with militia members around the country. Earlier that day, at 1:58 PM, Jesus, for unknown reasons, called Camp Lone Star to say that he would be going over to the Camp. He never did show up. Perhaps he knew of the conference call, because he made two appearances during the course of that call, not at the Camp, but at the motel. He was described to me as fidgety and nervous during the two appearances during the conference call, as if he had something to hide. Is it possible that he was sent to the motel room to report if Massey was alone?

Well, let’s look into the background of John Frederick Foerster. Foerster served a prison term for three counts of burglarizing a building, beginning in May 2001. He was released from prison in August 2002. In 2009, he was charged with theft, in Missouri, disposition unknown. Foerster, however, has not, as of this date been arrested for felony possession of a firearm. He has also recovered his two weapons taken by the BPS and Sheriff on August 29. It has been alleged that Foerster was arrested again, for possession of cocaine, just four days prior to Massey’s arrest, though this has not been confirmed independently.

He claimed, in a phone call made late last night (20th), that he had heard about Massey’s arrest and had tried to call Archie Seals, of Camp Lone Star, numerous times — to find out what had happened with Massey. Archie Seals reports that he has had no contact, nor does his cell phone record show any calls from Foerster.

These occurrences (Beecher and Massey) should provide adequate warning to patriots, especially thus who have a felony record, that there is a concerted effort on the part of government to find cause to bring charges against you and take your guns away. They also provide insight into the tactics that the government is using to cull the patriot community of as many as they can, reducing the remaining numbers, and intimidating those who remain.

For an understanding of how informants and other infiltrators work, I would suggest reading “Informants Amongst Us?” and “Vortex“. To understand who the likely patriot targets of federal persecution are, I suggest “C3CM“.

Gary Hunt

Outpost of Freedom