- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Obama administration’s appointment of a public advocate for immigrant concerns about law enforcement policies makes a “mockery of the laws of the United States,” the National Border Patrol Council said Wednesday.

“The Obama administration took its next step toward amnesty for illegal aliens by naming an advocate for illegal aliens and those concerned about immigration issues,” said NBPC Vice President Shawn P. Moran, whose group represents all 17,000 nonsupervisory U.S. Border Patrol agents. “Amnesty is not the answer to the immigration problems of the United States and should not be an option.

“What is next? Will drug dealers band together decrying their prosecutions in one voice?” asked Mr. Moran, himself a veteran Border Patrol agent. “Will these unlicensed pharmacists be given an advocate and the [Drug Enforcement Administration] ordered to release these criminals?”

Mr. Moran said that instead of doing what is right, the Obama administration is showing that it is willing to “pander to special interest groups for purely political reasons. The squeaky wheel clamoring for reduced enforcement of immigration laws is truly getting the grease by this action.”

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that Andrew Lorenz-Strait would be the new public advocate charged with listening to immigrants’ concerns about law enforcement policies - a move Republicans said amounted to an official mouthpiece for illegal immigrants about to be deported.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the advocate will “serve as a point of contact for individuals, including those in immigration proceedings, [nongovernmental organizations] and other community and advocacy groups, who have concerns, questions, recommendations or other issues they would like to raise.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that meant elevating the concerns of illegal immigrants.

“It’s outrageous that the Obama administration has appointed a taxpayer-funded activist for illegal and criminal immigrants who are detained or ordered deported. The administration all too often acts more like a lobbying firm for illegal immigrants than as an advocate for the American people,” Mr. Smith said.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said the appointment of a taxpayer-funded legal representative for illegal immigrants “continues to ignore the rule of law, which begs the question: Where is the rule of law czar?

“President Obama refuses to enforce immigration law, sues the states that do so and now he’s appointed a czar for illegal immigrants. The president is making a conscious decision to evade Congress in order to appease his base,” Mr. King said. “The president must realize that his job description does not include being an advocate for illegal immigrants. It is defined by his obligation to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”

The Obama administration says that, with limited resources, it is trying to focus its deportation efforts on criminals and those with repeated immigration violations on their records, rather than rank-and-file illegal immigrants.

But Mr. Moran said Mr. Lorenz-Strait might as well been named “amnesty czar,” as that will be the “ultimate goal of an administration used to employing smoke and mirrors in an attempt to appear tough on immigration.”

He said ICE already had “abandoned its responsibility” for deporting illegal immigrants when the agency’s director, John Morton, issued a memorandum saying the agency would employ “prosecutorial discretion” to drop cases where illegal immigrants had no significant criminal history.

Mr. Moran characterized the appointment as “another slap in the face to Border Patrol agents, deportation officers and ICE agents who have risked their safety day after day to arrest those who violated the laws of the United States.”

He said current law should be used against those who hire illegal immigrants.

“Deny the incentive to illegally work in this country and the immigration problem as it exists today will dramatically change,” he said.

• Jerry Seper can be reached at jseper@washingtontimes.com.

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