Frequent Fox News guest Jay Sekulow falsely claimed that the Department of Homeland Security would not accept phone calls from Arizona law enforcement seeking to verify an individual's immigration status. In fact, DHS will continue to verify immigration status over the phone, but "will not respond to the scene of state or local traffic stops or similar law enforcement encounters to enforce immigration laws unless the individual meets DHS enforcement priorities."
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Hannity, Guests Distort Effects Of Change In DHS Policy Toward Arizona
Hannity: "There's A Bit Of A Constitutional Crisis" That's Being "Precipitated By The President." From Fox News' Hannity:
PETER JOHNSON JR. (Fox News legal analyst): And so now we've seen it in reaction to the Supreme Court decision that the federal government is continuing in its ways. Today, Sean, they suspended the partnership between state and local law enforcement and the federal government on many immigration enforcement activities. Suspended it. Because of this decision of the United States Supreme Court.
JAY SEKULOW (American Center for Law and Justice chief counsel): Including the phone call.
HANNITY: All right, let me go to Jay. This is the whole crux, what Peter's describing here is --
SEKULOW: Peter's right.
HANNITY: Homeland Security suspended the immigration agreements with Arizona in particular here. Now, when you couple this with the president's actions a week ago Friday when he basically said forget about the laws that Congress passed, you know, forget about the laws that past presidents have signed, I'm not going to enforce the law. So it seems to me there's a bit of a constitutional crisis, one after another, that's being precipitated by the president. Is that your take, Jay? [Fox News, Hannity, 6/26/12]
- In Fact, Change In Deportation Policy For Young Immigrants Is Consistent With Current Law. [Media Matters, 6/15/12]
Sekulow: Federal Government Is Saying To Arizona, If You Call To Check Someone's Immigration Status, "We're Not Accepting That Call." From Fox News' Hannity:
SEKULOW: Here's what you've got. Look at the situation you have, and Peter is exactly correct. So now the provision that's declared constitutional that all nine justices agreed including the most liberal members of the Supreme Court of the United States said was constitutional, which is, when you stop someone lawfully and you have reason to suspect that that person's immigration status needs to be checked, make that call to ICE. Now, the federal government's saying, Arizona, you have the right to make that call. There's only one problem. We're not accepting that call.
So now you've got a situation where -- you know, they talk about judicial activists. This is a presidential activism in an unprecedented scale. The president is issuing decrees as if he was the king. I mean, you've got legislation on the books, now they're ignoring it. The Supreme Court says that one provision is constitutional, White House says, well, we're just going to suspend our relationship, enforcement relationship with the state of Arizona, which, by the way, has the most difficult border control issue of any state in our union, but that's the one the Obama administration decides to suspend. It's politics. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/26/12]
In Fact, DHS Will Continue To Verify Immigration Status For Arizona Law Enforcement
Phoenix CBS Affiliate: DHS Will Continue To Verify An Individual's Immigration Status On Request. From KPHO, a CBS affiliate in Phoenix:
According to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS officials in Arizona have been directed not to respond to the scene of a state or local traffic stop or a similar law enforcement encounter upon the requests from state and local police officers for assistance in enforcing immigration laws unless the individual meets DHS enforcement priorities - is a convicted criminal, has been removed from the US previously and reentered unlawfully or is a recent border crosser. DHS will continue to telephonically comply with its legal requirement to verify an individual's immigration status upon request. [KPHO, 6/25/12]
Administration Official: "The Administration Will Not Allow Arizona's Immigration Priorities To Become The Department Of Homeland Security's Priorities." From CNN:
In a conference call with reporters, an administration official said the administration will not allow Arizona's immigration priorities to become the Department of Homeland Security's priorities.
The official said while DHS expected more calls from Arizona authorities, it will not increase staffing in Arizona to deal with them.
"We have limited resources. It doesn't make sense ... to spend those resources in a scattershot or random fashion. Instead they need to be focused on individuals who pose a public safety threat or challenge the integrity of our borders, and going forth that is how we anticipate handling our response to ... Arizona's law," he said.
Accordingly, he said, federal officials will not respond to the scene of state or local traffic stops or similar law enforcement encounters to enforce immigration laws unless the individual meets DHS enforcement priorities. To meet those priorities, the individual must be a convicted criminal or a recent border crosser, or must have been removed from the U.S. previously and re-entered unlawfully.
DHS will continue to comply with its legal requirement to verify, by telephone, the individual's immigration status, officials said. [CNN, 6/25/12]