From Citizenship USA 1996…to Destino 2008
Despite his loud crusading for illegal alien driver’s licenses, Sen. Barack Obama lost out to Hillary Clinton on the Latino vote tonight. Hispanic Clintonistas attribute her commanding lead on “name support.” I have a different theory. More on that in a moment. First, this:
“There is a real affection for the Clinton administration and a real familiarity with Senator Clinton,” said Cecilia Munoz, senior vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza. In addition, she said, Clinton “got support of the big figures in the Latino political establishment quite early. So she has really terrific surrogates and they have been on board with her for a long time.”
The legacy of Bill Clinton’s administration was evident in yesterday’s exit polls from California, where Clinton beat Obama among Hispanics by 2 to 1. “There is a lot of name support,” Vargas said.
So, where did all of Hillary’s Latino votes come from? Well, there’s another legacy of Bill Clinton’s administration that should not be forgotten: The corrupted, reckless Citizenship USA program. Rosemary Jenks of Numbers USA first blew the whistle on the subversion of the naturalization process, pushed by then-VP Al Gore in 1996:
The preliminary results of the INS internal review of naturalization applications approved during CUSA, as presented to the Subcommittee by Assistant Attorney General for Administration Stephen Colgate clearly show that the problems were severe. Of the 1,049,872 immigrants granted U.S. citizenship under CUSA:
* 71, 557 were found to have FBI criminal records, including INS administrative actions (e.g., deportation proceedings or other immigration violations), and misdemeanor and felony arrests and convictions;
* Of these 71,557, 10,800 had at least one felony arrest, 25,500 had at least one misdemeanor arrest, but no felonies, and 34,700 had only administrative actions initiated against them;
* 113,126 had only name checks because their fingerprint cards were returned to the INS by the FBI because they were illegible;
* 66,398 did not have FBI criminal record checks because their fingerprint cards were never submitted to the FBI by the INS; and
* 2,573 were still being processed by the FBI.
As of late February 1997, 168 of these new citizens had been found to be “presumptively, statutorily ineligible” for naturalization based on their criminal record, and in another 2,800 cases, it could not be determined based on available information whether they were eligible or not.
Former House Judiciary Cmte chief counsel David Schippers followed up on the investigation and published his findings in his book, Sellout. A relevant excerpt:
My staff and I agreed that we needed to focus on the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which appeared to be running out of control. By the time we came to the subject, investigations by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and congressional committees had already indicated that the White House used the INS to further its political agenda. A blatant politicization of the agency took place during the 1996 presidential campaign when the White House pressured the INS into expediting its “Citizenship USA” (CUSA) program to grant citizenship to thousands of aliens that the White House counted as likely Democratic voters. To ensure maximum impact, the INS concentrated on aliens in key states — California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Texas — that hold a combined 181 electoral votes, just 89 short of the total needed to win the election.
The program was placed under the direction of Vice President Al Gore. We received from the GAO a few e-mails indicating Vice President Gore’s role in the plan (which are included in Appendix A at the back of the book). He was responsible for keeping the pressure on, to make sure the aliens were pushed through by September 1, the last day to register for the presidential election.
In our investigation we uncovered a case study evidencing what is pejoratively known in political science circles as “Chicago Politics.”
Back in the early years of the twentieth century, “Hinky Dink” Kenna and “Bathouse” John Coughlin were recognized as the very models of the unsavory Chicago politician. The two once fixed an aldermanic election in Chicago’s First Ward. To do so, they imported thousands of ward heelers, friends, associates, and city workers and had them registered to vote from every building in the ward — from homes (of which there were few) to taverns and cribs (of which there were many). On Election Day the recent arrivals stopped at Hinky Dink’s tavern, picked up fifty cents, ate a free lunch, and went out to vote their consciences. Guess who won that election?
Essentially, the same tactics were used during President Clinton’s reelection in 1996. Only this time the Democrats weren’t handing out sandwiches. Instead, through CUSA, they were circumventing normal procedures for naturalizing aliens — procedures that check backgrounds and weed out criminals — and consequently they were handing out citizenship papers to questionable characters.
The possibility of using CUSA apparently occurred to the White House in February 1996, when Henry Cisneros, then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, forwarded a memo to President Clinton. The memo, from the California Active Citizenship Campaign (ACC), complained of a backlog of alien applications for naturalization in Los Angeles. It contained the magic words: “INS inaction [on the backlog] will deny 300,000 Latinos the right to vote in the 1996 presidential elections [sic] in California.”
The memo outlined the services that the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Los Angeles could provide. The IAF offered thousands of volunteers to help process voter applications, register thousands of new voters, conduct 5,000 house meetings, encourage voting by mail, and get more than 50,000 occasional voters out to vote in the presidential election. Most interesting were the promises that the IAF would “create voter interest around issues of Affirmative Action and Minimum Wage, . . . influence 300,000 voters in the preparation for Nov. 1996, . . . produce 5,000 precinct leaders and turn out 96,000 voters for the 1996 presidential election.”
The White House discovered a problem, however: INS Commissioner Doris Meissner didn’t want to speed up the naturalization process and warned President Clinton’s people that such a push might be viewed as politically motivated…
Eventually, she gave in:
The White House wanted any applicant for citizenship to be naturalized in time to register for the November election, so the pressure on the INS was constant. On March 21 Elaine Kamarck in the Vice President’s office sent an e-mail to [National Performance Review official Douglas] Farbrother saying: “THE PRESIDENT IS SICK OF THIS AND WANTS ACTION. IF NOTHING MOVES TODAY WE’LL HAVE TO TAKE SOME PRETTY DRASTIC MEASURES.” Farbrother responded, “I favor drastic measures.” If he couldn’t get what he wanted from the INS, he wrote, he would “call for heavy artillery.”
In a March 26 e-mail to the Vice President, Farbrother reported that Chris Sale has indeed “delegated hiring authority to the five cities and increased their budgets by 20 percent.” But, he wrote, “I still don’t think the city directors have enough freedom to do the job.” Two days later Farbrother told the Vice President by e-mail, “[U]nless we blast INS headquarters loose from their grip on the frontline managers, we are going to have way too many people still waiting for citizenship in November.” He added, “I can’t make Doris Meissner delegate broad authority to her field managers. Can you?”
Gore answered, “We’ll explore it. Thanks.” By the end of March, Doris Meissner capitulated. On April 4, 1996, Elaine Kamarck, to prepare the Vice President for a lunch with Clinton, drafted a memo to Gore briefing him on the INS progress. In time, Newark, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas, would be added to the list of targeted cities, and in all, more than a million aliens would be naturalized in time to vote in the 1996 election.
The “path to citizenship” leads to Democrat votes. Too bad shamnesty Republicans refuse to learn from history.