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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Stephen Dinan

**FILE** Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents take a suspect into custody on March 30, 2012, as part of a nationwide immigration sweep in Chula Vista, Calif. (Associated Press)

Feds gave witness protection to terrorists

The federal government gave witness protection to known and suspected terrorists and the U.S. Marshals Service even lost track of two of those people, according to a report Thursday from the Justice Department's auditor that exposes the previously hidden side of the witness program. Published May 16, 2013

**FILE** In this photo proved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an unidentified immigrant is taken into custody in Dallas on Sept. 8, 2012. (Associated Press/ICE)

Final tally: DHS released 622 criminals as part of sequester

Two key senators said Thursday that Homeland Security officials should face discipline for their role earlier this year in releasing 622 criminal immigrants, including 32 with multiple felony convictions, in a move the Obama administration initially blamed on the budget sequester cuts. Published May 16, 2013

"It is pretty unanimous that you have to address border security. This will put some real metrics to that. Take that out of the hands of the secretary of Homeland Security, and be more objective."

Securing border driving House's immigration efforts

Even as the Senate is pushing its massive immigration bill, the House is beginning to move pieces of the puzzle through its committees with a vote Wednesday to force the Obama administration to stiffen border security. Published May 15, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, speaks Feb. 7, 2013, with The Associated Press in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. (Associated Press)

Rubio lists amendments to sweeten immigration bill

Sen. Marco Rubio's office circulated a list this month of ways to toughen security in the immigration bill he helped negotiate, including potential amendments to cut down on chain migration, to require newly legal immigrants to show financial self-sufficiency and to build 700 miles of double-tier fencing along the border. Published May 15, 2013

'Sequester' cuts force halt to California oil, gas lease sales

The Obama administration this month canceled onshore oil and gas lease sales in California for the rest of this year, blaming the "sequester" budget cuts — but acknowledging they were breaking yet another federal law that requires them to hold the sales. Published May 14, 2013

**FILE** Copies of President Obama's budget plan for fiscal year 2014 are distributed to Senate staff on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

Federal deficit to drop well below $1 trillion

The federal deficit this year will be $642 billion, according to an estimate Tuesday from the Congressional Budget Office that marks the first time President Obama will have overseen a deficit of less than $1 trillion. Published May 14, 2013

The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, April 18, 2013. In front from left to right are Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican; Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat; Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican; and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican. The legislation would dramatically remake the U.S. immigration system by ushering in new visa programs for low- and high-skilled workers, requiring a tough new focus on border security, instituting a new requirement for all employers to check the legal status of their workers, and installing a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Crumbling coalition? First cracks in immigration deal emerge

Senators fended off changes to the immigration bill in committee on Tuesday, but the first cracks emerged in the carefully crafted compromise between business groups and labor unions, leaving even some supporters frustrated at the defensive votes they had to cast. Published May 14, 2013

** FILE ** A road lined with vehicle barriers marking the U.S-Mexico border in New Mexico is the spartan territory for Border Patrol agents. (Associated Press)

Obama pressed to halt deportations as immigration debated

Immigration rights groups see such good prospects for legalizing illegal immigrants this year that President Obama should go ahead and halt deportations right now, saying it's unfair to kick people out just ahead of possible legalization. Published May 13, 2013

Razor wire sits atop a border fence as a building in the Mexican border city of Tijuana sits behind, as seen from San Diego on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) ** FILE **

Independent study raises the bar for border security, immigration reform

The yardstick used in the immigration bill to determine border control may produce too rosy a picture of how well the Border Patrol is doing in cracking down on illegal crossings, according to an independent study released Monday that threatens to upend the immigration debate. Published May 13, 2013

**FILE** Gina McCarthy stands on stage in the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 4, 2013, as President Obama announced he would nominate McCarthy to head the EPA. (Associated Press)

Republicans boycott vote for EPA nominee Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy's already bumpy road to becoming Environmental Protection Agency administrator took another detour Thursday morning when Senate Republicans boycotted a committee vote on her nomination, blocking it for now. Published May 9, 2013

A protester for immigration reform holds a sign during a rally at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta on April 10, 2013. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Senate bill doesn't stop most illegal immigration: Fed study

The Senate immigration bill would put about 8 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, boost the economy and stop about 2 million would-be illegal immigrants — about half of the expected total over the next decade — from entering the U.S., according to the first government evaluation of the proposal released Wednesday. Published May 8, 2013

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. waits for an elevator on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, after speaking about gun legislation on the Senate floor. A bipartisan effort to expand background checks was in deep trouble Wednesday as the Senate approached a long-awaited vote on the linchpin of the drive to curb gun violence. (Associated Press)

Senate defeats expansion of gun rights

The Senate beat back a new push to expand gun rights Wednesday, defeating a plan to let gun owners carry their weapons on federal lands in states where it would otherwise be legal. Published May 8, 2013

** FILE ** Migrants ride on top of a northbound train toward the U.S.-Mexico border in Juchitan in southern Mexico on Monday, April 29, 2013. Migrants crossing Mexico to get to the U.S. have increasingly become targets of criminal gangs who kidnap them to obtain ransom money. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Two-thirds of senators to vote on U.S.-Mexico border without having seen it

Border security is a key sticking point in this year's immigration debate, but only a little more than one-third of senators have been to the southwestern border during their time in office to get a firsthand look at the security situation, according to a survey of the chamber's members by The Washington Times. Published May 7, 2013

**FILE** An illegal immigrant from El Salvador is searched June 26, 2012, on the tarmac at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., as the sun rises prior to boarding an MD-80 aircraft for a repatriation flight of 80 immigrants to their home country. (Associated Press)

Obama administration tries to nix ICE agents' lawsuit

Trying to head off a potentially devastating court defeat, the Obama administration said Monday that ICE agents' lawsuit to overturn the president's non-deportation policy should be thrown out because the agents themselves initially wanted to handle the matter in collective bargaining. Published May 7, 2013

** FILE ** Maine Gov. Paul LePage takes a sip from a coffee mug displaying a "no new taxes" message, April 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

Tax increases begin to ease budget deficit

Federal tax revenues are up 16 percent this year compared to 2012, helping power a major drop in the federal deficit, according to the latest estimate Tuesday from the Congressional Budget Office. Published May 7, 2013

** FILE ** A Customs and Border Protection agent patrols by car along the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz., in April 2010. (Associated Press)

Border Patrol: Rules hinder effort to oust drug spotters

The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol said Tuesday that his agents have a tough time ousting armed drug cartel spotters from the tops of U.S. mountains because the rules of engagement constrain them. Published May 7, 2013