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Democrats And Republicans Unite To Rescind Last-Minute Obama Order Seeking Federal Election Takeover


waving flagAuthored by Photo of Richard Pollock Richard Pollock | Reporter | 9:59 PM 01/24/2017

URL of the original posting site:http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/24/democrats-and-republicans-unite-to-rescind-last-minute-obama-order-seeking-federal-election-takeover/#ixzz4WocGXJCH

All 50 state secretaries of state are urging the Trump administration to rescind a last-minute Department of Homeland Security directive calling state election systems “critical infrastructure.” Many state officials fear this is the first step toward a federal takeover of state-run elections, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

While deep political discord may be found on other issues, state secretaries — who oversee all election machinery — appear completely united against the former administration’s attempt to insert the federal government into state-run elections.

Then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson surprised and outraged state election officials with his Jan. 6 action, just two weeks before President-elect Donald Trump was to assume the presidency. Johnson tried to portray his move as part of the Obama administration’s effort against Russian government hacking of Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign. But state officials retort that election machines and the infrastructure are not connected to the Internet and therefore are immune to cybersecurity attacks.partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies

Incoming DHS Secretary John Kelly indicated in written testimony prior to his confirmation he was troubled by Johnson’s directive.

“The notion that DHS can or should exercise some degree of influence over state voting systems is highly controversial and appears to be a political question beyond the scope of DHS’ current legislative cyber mandates,” Kelly wrote.

The National Association of Secretaries of State, which represent secretaries in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa, is planning to take up the DHS action at its next full meeting. It is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., in mid-February. Association president Denise Merrill, who also serves as the secretary of state for Connecticut, told TheDCNF in an interview, “I’m certain this will be a hot topic among all of us.”

Merrill confirmed the association and many secretaries of state have been in touch with Trump transition staff seeking revocation.

“I haven’t heard one Secretary of State — Democrat or Republican — that’s for this,” she said. Merrill is a Democrat.

Republican Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who served as the association’s immediate past president, urged Trump Jan. 11 to “direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to rescind the designation of state election systems as ‘critical infrastructure.’”

A DHS spokesman told TheDCNF he could not comment on a possible revocation by Kelly.

Johnson sent shockwaves through every state capital when he issued his official proclamation, stating, “I have determined that election infrastructure in this country should be designated as a subsector of the existing Government Facilities critical infrastructure sector.” He broadly put all state election facilities under the federal “critical infrastructure” purview. His designation would affect all state-operated polling places, centralized vote tabulations location, election storage facilities and IT systems holding voter registration databases.Oh good

He also angered state officials because the federal designation would exempt future election activities from public access via the Freedom of Information Act or from state open record laws.

“This something that came out of the blue,” noted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp in an interview with TheDCNF. “They had never talked to any Secretaries of State or election officials around the country before the whole critical infrastructure designation came up. We were literally blindsided by this.”

“We thought we had turned the tide in convincing DHS that this was not the thing to do,” Schedler told TheDCNF. “It was very obvious to everyone — and it was nonpartisan, my Democratic colleagues were as against this as my Republican colleagues.”

“Suddenly, it was decided that they were going ahead with it and we didn’t get any notice and read about it in the paper,” Merrill recalled. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some concern about it. It’s not a particularly partisan issue at this point.”

The association called the designation, “legally and historically unprecedented and raised questions for states and local governments about administration of the voting process.” Critics contend the action was part of a long-standing goal by progressive activists to “nationalize” future elections with a federal takeover.that-is

“There’s no denying what this looks like: a blatant move to politicize the election process,” wrote Heritage Foundation founder Edwin Feulner in a Jan. 16 opinion article.

Feulner, a staunch conservative, called Johnson’s action a “federal takeover” of state-run elections. “It’s a takeover ostensibly designed to address a nonexistent security threat — and in the process, ironically, make our elections less secure.”

Kemp agreed, saying, “I think that the Obama administration was interested in a universal or nationwide registration data base versus the states doing that. It was part of nationalizing elections which I think is a terrible idea.”

While the Obama administration tied its action to Russian hacking, election machinery is not connected to the Internet.

“All our equipment you actually vote on — the scanners or touch screens or whatever a state uses — are not connected to anything,” Merrill told TheDCNF. “They are not connected to the Internet. They’re not connected even to internal systems.”

“I don’t think they (DHS) understood the election process,” she added. “It’s not very cyber and I’m not sure they exactly understood that.”

Merrill also added that the hacking of the emails from the Democratic National Committee and of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta were not part of the government’s election systems.

“It was not a hacking of the election. It was a hacking of emails at the DNC which is NOT a government agency,” she added.

Support for the designation can be found among liberals and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Jan. 16, Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat who also is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, introduced legislation to support the designation.

“In the wake of the DNC server hack and well-documented efforts by states to suppress the vote, citizens are rightly concerned,” Johnson stated when he introduced the bill.

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Obama eyes takeover of presidential election security


waving flagBy Paul Bedard  (@SecretsBedard) 8/3/16 – Washington Secrets / The Washington Examiner

Amid new claims from Republican Donald Trump that the fall election may be “rigged” against him, the Obama administration is considering taking a step toward nationalizing the cyber security of the process, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” Johnson told a media breakfast Wednesday.What did you say 06.jpg

“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he said at the breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.Leftist Propagandist

DHS plays a vital security role in 16 areas of critical infrastructure. DHS describes it this way: “There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”

A White House policy directive adds, “The federal government also has a responsibility to strengthen the security and resilience of its own critical infrastructure, for the continuity of national essential functions, and to organize itself to partner effectively with and add value to the security and resilience efforts of critical infrastructure owners and operators.”American Gestapo 02

Johnson did not identify any current problems with security of the elections, but did note that there are thousands of localities that conduct elections differently.

“There’s no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process,” he said.

“There’s a national election for president, there are some 9,000 jurisdictions that participate, contribute to collecting votes, tallying votes and reporting votes,” he said.

Without giving many details of what his department of the administration had in mind, he did say that in the short term he would likely reach out to the 9,000 jurisdictions with advice on how to conduct security of the election.gag me

“I’m considering communicating with election officials across the country about best practices in the short term,” he said, adding with emphasis, “soon.”

And, he added, there were “longer term investments” coming.Partyof Deceit Spin and Lies

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com

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Homeland Security Instructed To Combat Violent Extremism With Political Correctness


waving flagWritten by Photo of Peter Hasson Peter Hasson, Reporter, Associate Editor, 06/13/2016

delusional file

Less than a week before Omar Mateen walked into an Orlando gay club and killed or wounded more than 100 people, the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) submitted its Countering Violent Extremism report to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson. The report instructs the DHS not to use any language that might be “disrespectful” to Muslims, including (but not limited to) the words “jihad,” “sharia” and “takfir.”

The report was crafted by an HSAC subcommittee that Secretary Johnson created in November 2015. The head of that subcommittee, Farah Pandith, was appointed by Johnson in May 2015. The subcommittee published the report on June 9.Picture2

In addition to combating violent extremism by reaching out to “gender diverse” Americans and teaching youth “appropriate online etiquette,” the report recommends that the DHS “avoid stigmatizing specific communities.”

The report urges DHS officials to “Reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”

For example, the report says the DHS should be “using American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like ‘jihad,’ ‘sharia,’ ‘takfir’ or ‘umma.’”What did you say 06.jpg

The report acknowledges that, “There is a disagreement among scholars, government officials, and activists about the right lexicon to use around the issues of violent extremism.”

Nevertheless, the report states, “Under no circumstance should we be using language that will alienate or be disrespectful of fellow Americans.”

“We must speak with honor and respect about all communities within the United States. We should give dignity to the many histories and diversities within our nation and advocate for a consistent whole of government approach that utilizes agreed terms and words. Tone and word choice matter,” the report states. of domenstic terrorist

The report includes other recommendations for countering violent extremism, such as: “Focus on gender diversity of youth through careful attention to the range of push and pull factors that attract individuals of differing gender.”

The report also recommends countering extremism by teaching youth “appropriate online etiquette.”

The report instructs the DHS to “Develop a curriculum in partnership with the Department of Education and education experts and non-profits to disseminate to schools, teaching children appropriate online etiquette to mitigate online hate.”

The DHS website states that HSAC, “Provides organizationally independent advice and recommendations to the Secretary, including the creation and implementation of critical and actionable policies for the security of the homeland.”

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Department Of Homeland Security: Gun Control Critical To Stop Homegrown Terror


waving flagWritten by Charlie Spiering, 14 Jun 2016

URL of the original posting site: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/06/14/department-homeland-security-gun-control-critical-stop-homegrown-terror/

“We have to face the fact that meaningful, responsible gun control has to be part of homeland security as well, given the prospect of homegrown, home born extremism in this country,” Johnson said in an interview with CBS this morning, calling gun control “critical to public safety.”Leftist Propagandist

Johnson admitted that he previously hadn’t advocated for gun control publicly, but that the terrorist attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida made him speak out.

“I think that we have to face the facts — that gun control is part and parcel of homeland security and how things are evolving,” he said.

Johnson singled out “assault weapons” as part of the threat posed to Americans.

“[Y]ou can see the devastation and death that one assault rifle with a number of magazines can bring about,” he said, stating that gun control would “minimize the opportunities for terrorists to get a gun.”Picture1

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Illegal Alien Kills Woman, is Released by the Obama Administration and then Disappears!


waving flagWritten by Onan Coca

This is another example of the march of injustice in Obama’s America today.

In January19-year old Edwin Mejia killed 21-year old Sarah Root in a drunk driving accident. Mejia was arrested and appeared before a judge, where he was identified as an illegal alien. Immigration authorities had the option of having Mejia held because of his illegal status but chose not to because he “did not meet Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) enforcement priorities” as laid out by the Obama administration. So, instead, Mejia agreed to a court mandated twice-a-day appointment to submit to a breathalyzer test and was released on his own recognizance. He hasn’t been seen since and is now on ICE’s “Most Wanted List.”REALLY

In the aftermath of his disappearance the question becomes, how did we allow this to happen? Mejia had been charged with killing a person. How does this level of crime not meet the Obama administration’s standard for criminal enforcement of an illegal?

While it is nice to see that ICE now seems to be taking this matter seriously, there focus comes too little too late. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) recently expressed his exasperation with the administration’s response in a series of letters to the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah Saldana.

“This important development underscores the seriousness of the situation, something ICE should have recognized immediately. Mr. Mejia should not need to be on this list — he should be in jail.

ICE originally said that Mr. Mejia was not an ‘enforcement priority’ but this morning he was placed on their Most Wanted list. The public still does not have a complete account of what went wrong. It is well past time for ICE to make all the facts known so this never happens again.

If this man is not a threat to public safety, then who is?”Illegal Immigration Giant

This case underscores the major issues with Obama’s schizophrenic policies on illegal immigration. The Obama administration agrees that our illegal immigration laws are valid and should be enforced, but they disagree about what “enforced” actually means. While most Americans believe “enforce” means to make sure that our laws are followed or consequences are paid, the Obama team seems to believe that enforced simply means “pay lip service to and pretend to care about.”Militent Radical liberalism socialism

We must demand the Obama administration enforce the laws, as passed by Congress, and not as they imagine those laws to be. The hypocrisy of the liberal arguments over enforcing gay marriage rules, while they blatantly ignore our immigration laws must be answered. If they’ll not follow laws that they disagree with, we should wholeheartedly and raucously ignore the laws we believe to be unjust.

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DHS Secretly Scrubbed 1,000 Names From U.S. Terror Watch Lists


waving flagBY:  March 1, 2016

Jeh Johnson / AP

Jeh Johnson / AP

The Washington Free Beacon first reported in 2014 that the Obama administration secretly assembled a terrorist “hands off” list that enabled individuals with terrorist ties unfettered entrance into the United States.

The latest documents, obtained by Judicial Watch and released on Tuesday, appear to confirm these initial reports. They further disclose that at least 1,000 names were scrubbed from the U.S. Terrorist Screening Database as part of an administration effort to protect the civil rights of suspected individuals.

“The documents appear to confirm charges that Obama administration changes created a massive ‘hands off’ list,” Judicial Watch said in a statement. “Removed data from the terrorist watch list could have helped prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack.”

muslim-obamaLawmakers disclosed in 2014 that the administration has secretly assembled a terrorist “hands off” list that facilitated travel to the United States for those one flagged as a potential terror threat. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon at the time disclosed that at least one individual, a Canadian Islamist leader tied to Hamas and Hezbollah, had been put on the list.

“These new documents bolster allegations that the Obama administration may have removed information from a terrorist watch list that could have prevented the San Bernardino terrorist attack,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Philip Haney risked his career to blow the whistle on how the Obama administration created a ‘hands off” list of over 1,000 foreign nationals with potential terrorist ties.  And, once again, it was a Judicial Watch lawsuit—and not Congress or the media—that uncovered the key information about this national security scandal.”

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WND – http://www.wnd.com – Head fake? Obama never signed amnesty order


 

Posted By author-imageJerome R. Corsi On 12/04/2014

Article reblog from WND: http://www.wnd.com

URL of the Original Posting Site: http://www.wnd.com/2014/12/head-fake-obama-never-signed-amnesty-order/

obama-immigration-speech

President Obama strides to a podium in the East Room at the White House Nov. 20 to deliver an address to the nation on his immigration actions (Screenshot from White House video).

NEW YORK – It’s common knowledge President Obama signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to forgive millions of illegal aliens for their past violations of immigration law, right?

Wrong.

Today the National Archives and Records Administration, responsible for maintaining such filings, said no such executive order was ever signed or filed, confirming WND’s report Wednesday.

A National Archives librarian, Jeffrey Hartley, made the confirmation in an email Thursday to WND.

“As I indicated, it would appear that there is not an Executive Order stemming from the President’s remarks on November 20 on immigration,” Hartley wrote.

Hartley said that neither of the executive orders Obama signed in Las Vegas the day after his announcement fulfill his plan to defer deportations and grant work permits to up to 5 million illegal aliens.

“The only two documents that I have located are two Presidential Memoranda, which are available from the White House site,” Hartley’s email continued. “They can also be found in the November 26, 2014 issue of the Federal Register.”

The two documents Hartley referenced were the two executive orders Obama signed in Las Vegas Nov. 21.

One was a presidential proclamation creating a White House Task Force on New Americans and the other a presidential memorandum instructing the secretaries of State and Homeland Security to consult with various governmental and non-governmental entities to reduce costs and improve service in issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Meanwhile, the office of Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott – who has filed a lawsuit against Obama’s immigration action – told WND it was aware there was no executive order signed by Obama implementing the actions outlined to the nation in his Nov. 20 speech.

On Wednesday, attorneys general in 16 other states joined in the lawsuit with Abbott charging Obama’s immigration action violated the U.S. Constitution’s “Take Care” clause and failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act’s guidelines for implementing new policies, including a comment period to outline the changes’ benefits.

Abbott said in a statement the president “is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do – something the president himself has previously admitted.”

Abbott’s press office referred WND to the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas asking for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The complaint states: “The President’s new policies were effectuated through Defendant Johnson’s DHS Directive.”com01

If confirms WND’s report that the only Obama administration document relevant to the plan Obama announced Nov. 20 is a DHS memorandum signed by Johnson titled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.”

Abbott’s complaint further indicated the only basis for the DHS memo directing the change in the operation of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program was not a presidential executive order but a legal opinion written by the principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel, Karl R. Thompson, to advise Johnson and White House counsel.com02

The principal argument in Abbott’s complaint is that the DHS directive violates the president’s constitutional duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” as set forth by the U.S. Constitution in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5.

“The Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws – not rewrite them under the guise of executive ‘discretion,’” Abbott’s complaint stated in the first count.

The second count further confirmed WND’s reporting that Johnson’s Nov. 20 memorandum has not been filed in the Federal Register, which means it has not been available for public comment as required by federal law for federal administrative agencies seeking to engage in rulemaking.

“The Defendants promulgated and relied upon the DHS Directive without authority and without notice-and-comment rulemaking,” Abbott’s complaint specified in Count Two. “It is therefore unlawful.”

The “Guide to the Federal Rulemaking Process” published by the Office of the Federal Register specifies agencies “get their authority to issue regulations from laws (statutes) enacted by Congress.”com03

In an interview with WND Wednesday, Tom Fitton, president of Washington-based watchdog Judicial Watch, said the legal status of Johnson’s memo is a serious constitutional question that deserves to be adjudicated.

He said Obama’s “entire implementing authority” regarding the immigration action is Johnson’s memo, “which changes the immigration law, directing federal money to be spent that has not been appropriated by Congress.”com04

“In my view, there is a serious question whether Jeh Johnson should be impeached for taking this action, and a criminal investigation should be initiated to determine how and why federal funds are being misappropriated,” he declared.

How did everyone get it wrong?

How then did the White House manage to convince the mainstream media, Congress and the nation that Obama had signed in Las Vegas two executive orders to implement the immigration actions he announced in his Nov. 20 speech from the White House?

On Nov. 20 at approximately 6 p.m., the White House press office released a “Fact Sheet” titled “Immigration Accountability Executive Action.”

The first sentence read: “The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules. Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.”B.S. Meter

The second sentence stated: “These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.”B.S. Meter

While neither sentence claimed Obama was about to sign an implementing executive order, both conveyed the impression “executive actions” would be taken to somehow legitimate the status of some 5 million illegal immigrants currently in the country.culture of deciet

In his Nov. 20 speech, Obama said: “Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just. Tonight, I am announcing those actions.”obama-liar4-266x189

The next day, the White House press office issued a “travel pool report” documenting that at about 12:15 p.m. local time in Las Vegas, shortly after landing and still aboard Air Force One, President Obama “signed two memoranda associated with his executive actions on immigration,” giving the impression the documents were orders to implement the changes in policy the president had specified in his speech.If his mouth is open he must be lying

The pool report said only still photographers were invited to record the signing, with no pool reporters allowed to be present or to answer questions.com05

Upon landing in Las Vegas, the White House press office released a statement saying, “Today aboard Air Force One the president signed two Presidential Memoranda associated with his executive actions.”

The White House press office did properly identify the contents of the two presidential memoranda, but no White House reporter at the time observed that they had nothing to do with modifying prosecution under DACA but dealt instead with unrelated immigration matters.

In his Las Vegas speech at Del Sol High School, Obama said: “We’re going to keep on working with members of Congress to make permanent reform a reality. But until that day comes, there are actions that I have the legal authority to take that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just. And this morning, I began to take some of those actions.”B.S. Meter

© Copyright 1997-2013. All Rights Reserved. WND.com.

By WhatDidYouSay.org

By WhatDidYouSay.org

Obama admin unilaterally changes law to allow immigrants with ‘limited’ terror contact into US


              FILE - In this June 13, 2013 file photo, US Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, behind, along the old border wall along the US - Mexico border, where it ends at the base of a hill in San Diego.  After dropping during the recession, the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally into the U.S. appears to be on the rise again, according to a report released Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 by Pew Research CenterFILE – In this June 13, 2013 file photo, US Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, behind, along the old border wall along the US – Mexico border, where it ends at the base of a hill in San Diego.  After dropping during the recession, the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally into the U.S. appears to be on the rise again, according to a report released Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 by Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/05/obama-admin-changes-immigration-law-allows-immigrants-who-supported-terrorists-into-us/#ixzz2safHU4yf

5:21 PM  02/05/2014

Caroline May

Political Reporter

The Obama administration has issued new exemptions to a law that bars certain asylum-seekers and refugees who provided “limited material support” to terrorists who are believed to pose no threat from the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department published the new exemptions Wednesday in the Federal Register to narrow a ban in the Immigration and Nationality Act excluding refugees and asylum seekers who had provided limited material support, no matter how minor, to terrorists.

“These exemptions cover five kinds of limited material support that have adversely and unfairly affected refugees and asylum seekers with no tangible connection to terrorism: material support that was insignificant in amount or provided incidentally in the course of everyday social, commercial, family or humanitarian interactions, or under significant pressure,” a DHS official explained to The Daily Caller.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry signed the exemptions.

DHS contends that the law change is “commonsense” and that immigration procedures will remain the same in other respects.

“In addition to rigorous background vetting, including checks coordinated across several government agencies, these exemptions will only be applied on a case-by-case basis after careful review and all security checks have cleared,” the official added. “This exemption process is vital to advancing the U.S. government’s twin goal of protecting the world’s most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety.”

While the administration says the rule change is reasonable, former State Department official and current director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration StudiesJessica Vaughan questioned the administration’s right to unilaterally change the law.

“[T]here is a very legitimate question as to whether the administration actually has the authority to change the law in this way,” Vaughan wrote in an email to TheDC. “It seems to me that they are announcing that they will be disregarding yet another law written by Congress that they don’t like and are replacing it with their own guidelines, which in this case appear to be extremely broad and vague, and which are sure to be exploited by those seeking to game our generous refugee admissions program.”

According to DHS, Section 212(d)(3)(B) of the INA allows either the secretary of state or DHS secretary in consultation with each other and with the U.S. Attorney General “to determine that certain terrorism bars of the INA do not apply.”*

While Vaughan conceded that there are a number of immigrants seeking protection who have been denied due to unintentional contact with terrorists, she sees the exemptions as likely another opportunity for people to get around the system. (RELATED: Is spotty immigration enforcement to blame for MS-13 gang havoc?)

“If the recent past is any guide, those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff,” she explained. “The administration already approves of the admission of gang members as asylees and criminals in the DACA program and grants of prosecutorial discretion, so I don’t expect them to be troubled by the admission of terrorists and garden variety fraudsters in our refugee program.  This is how we end up with families like the Tsarnaev brothers [the Boston marathon bombers], who were originally admitted for political asylum.”

On the other side of the spectrum, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy cheered the changes to that law passed by Congress following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

According to Leahy’s office, the senator has been pushing for such exemptions for years.

“The existing interpretation was so broad as to be unworkable. It resulted in deserving refugees and asylees being barred from the United States for actions so tangential and minimal that no rational person would consider them supporters of terrorist activities,” the Vermont Democrat said in a statement. “These changes help return our nation to its historic role as a welcoming sanctuary to the world’s most vulnerable populations. It is long past time to return common-sense to our refugee and asylum laws and these new exemptions are an important step in that process.”

There are the types of asylum or refugee status seekers who would have been previously barred from entering the U.S., according to DHS include:

1) Individuals who provided small or inconsequential amounts of support without an intent to further any terrorist or violent activities, such as a refugee who gave a bowl of rice to a member of an opposition group.

2) Individuals who, in the ordinary course of business transactions or social or family interactions, have incidentally provided support with no intent of abetting violent or terrorist activity.  For instance, an owner of a restaurant who serves food to any paying customer, even though he knows some of them are members of an opposition group; or a mother or father who-as any parent would-fed and clothed their young adult child, even when they knew their child is part of a resistance movement.

3) Individuals who have provided certain humanitarian assistance – for example, an aid worker who handed out bottled water and blankets to victims of a natural disaster or those displaced by civil conflict, some of whom happen to be members of an opposition group.

4) Individuals who have provided support under significant pressure that does not quite rise to the level of duress (for which there are already exemptions in place), but that is significant enough that anyone in the same situation would see no reasonable alternative and would do the same.  We have seen, for example, a farmer who regularly pays a toll to a resistance group in order to cross a bridge to take his food to market, or a Syrian refugee who pays an opposition group to gain safe passage out of Syria.

Vaughan pointed out that in some cases, only the word of the individual would be used to make a determination.

“In my experience as a former State Dept. consular official, I know that there are some qualified applicants that get excluded because we cannot be sure if they are truly associated with terrorist or criminal groups, but it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to national security and public safety,” she explained. “After all, there are usually other resettlement options for these people – they don’t have to come to the U.S., even if that’s what they want.”

And while the changes will affect those seeking protection in the short term, the manner in which the Obama administration changed the law will not be lost on Republican skeptics of immigration reform in the long term.

“This glaring end-run around Congress underscores that immigration reform is doomed to failure,” a Senate GOP aide told TheDC.

* This article has been updated with additional information about the secretaries’ authority to change the law. 

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