Fox News is actively promoting what it claims are “shocking” details about newly hired immigration enforcement attorneys at the Department of Homeland Security, asserting that the Obama administration is “stacking” the agency with “pro-open borders amnesty attorneys,” because the lawyers either previously worked in immigration law or for immigrants' rights organizations.
Fox News hosted discredited former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams twice in two days to attack the Obama administration over its recent DHS hires, attacks which were also highlighted on the Fox Nation website. Adams, who is best known as the fabulist behind the New Black Panther Party pseudoscandal, accused the Obama administration in a piece for the conservative PJ Media of improperly hiring these attorneys, claiming that the hires “undermine confidence that the federal government will vigorously enforce federal laws, notwithstanding any congressional 'mandates' to do so.” Adams listed all the attorneys hired, along with information about their employment history or immigration background.
Among the work experience Adams cited were stints with immigrants' rights organizations like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the Advancement Project, the National Immigration Law Center, and the American Immigration Council. He also highlighted the work experience of an attorney who volunteered for Planned Parenthood, and those of two others who studied Arabic in Africa while in college.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck teased an interview with Adams by claiming that “a shocking new report” shows that “President Obama [is] stacking his immigration enforcement office with pro-open borders amnesty attorneys.” She added: “Are illegal immigrants getting a free pass thanks to the government?”
During the segment, co-host Steve Doocy said: “Even if the Obama Administration can't officially change immigration policy, these lawyers can help illegal immigrants stay in the country regardless of the law.” He added: “The Obama administration, they're brilliant in getting around the rules.” Adams then repeated his allegations, including that the lawyers are “all on the far left, open borders side of the equation.”
Adams singled out two lawyers he claimed supported his points that they would follow an ideological agenda: Jennifer Lee and Maura Ooi.
He claimed that Lee was an example of an ideologue because she once worked for the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Center publishes a pamphlet that makes sure undocumented immigrants understand their rights in the event of an immigration raid. Nowhere does the pamphlet direct immigrants to break the law; in fact, the guide goes to great lengths to inform immigrants not to break the law:
The booklet explains, in great detail, the Miranda warning to immigrants.
Conservatives have long criticized the “Know Your Rights” guides that immigrants' rights groups provide to immigrants who may not be cognizant of the fact that they do have rights. As one media report noted:
None of the advice it provides involves breaking the law, however. It doesn't tell illegal immigrants how to hide from law enforcement. It doesn't give them advice on how to sneak across the border. It doesn't tell them how to create fake documentation.
Indeed, what seems to be the issue here is the fact that there are groups like the Legal Aid Justice Center that advocate for undocumented immigrants, as opposed to reporting them for deportation.
In the case of Ooi, Adams claimed that “she wrote articles attacking DHS” for “gathering fingerprint data from people they caught crossing the border, so they couldn't keep doing it over and over again.” He added: “She was against that. It's crazy stuff and now they're in the government enforcing immigration law.”
In fact, it's a stretch to claim that the paper he cited -- to which he also linked in his PJ Media article -- was written by Ooi. The paper states only that the “document was prepared with the assistance of NILC legal intern Maura Ooi” and lists Harvard Law grad and then-NILC managing attorney Joan Friedland as the primary point of contact.
Moreover, the paper doesn't argue against fingerprinting; it raises serious concerns about the Secure Communities program -- the law enforcement deportation vehicle that has been widely criticized -- and its role in the Next Generation Identification Program, “which will expand the fingerprint database currently used by the FBI to include real-time iris scans, palm prints, and facial recognition data.”
The paper goes on to attack DHS' prosecutorial discretion, warning that the agency's guidelines on discretion did not mention Secure Communities and so the program could therefore target victims and witnesses for deportation -- the very groups discretion is meant to protect.
Fox News host Megyn Kelly also welcomed Adams to repeat his allegations. Adams claimed that the administration hired lawyers from “radical open-borders organizations” and “organizations with hostility toward immigration law.” He went on to say: “This administration knows that personnel is policy and if you don't want immigration laws enforced vigorously, go out and hire lawyers who don't like immigration laws.” He again cited the work experiences of Lee and Ooi.