Saturday, October 8, 2011

DOJ Update

The Department of Justice has been involved in both some good and bad news lately.

First of all, the State of Alabama recently passed an immigration law that makes Arizona's look mild by comparison.

The law would allow authorities to question those suspected of being illegal immigrants and hold them in jail without bond. It also allows school officials to check the immigration status of students.

The aspect of the law that requires schools to check immigration status has gotten the most attention. But as a DOJ brief says, its even more comprehensive than that.

"Alabama’s law is designed to affect virtually every aspect of an unauthorized immigrant’s daily life, from employment to housing to transportation to entering into and enforcing contracts to going to school," the statement said.

Alabama is likely to run into some of the same problems Georgia did in that these laws leave farmers without migrant labor to harvest their crops. But Alabama officials think they have an answer for that.

John McMillan, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries commissioner, told the Montgomery Advertiser Thursday that inmates, through a work-release program, could be a labor source for farmers who are concerned that crops will rot in their fields now that Hispanic migrant workers are fleeing the state.

So now the plot thickens. You think migrant labor is cheap? Just wait till you see how your costs go down when you use prison labor. Geez, we can even up the ante on slavery...get the government to handle the whole room and board thing for us and we can make a killing! These motherf**kers think they can really get away with that.

A federal judge upheld the Alabama law and this week DOJ asked the Appeals Court for an injunction against its implementation.

Secondly is the whole bru-ha-ha over Operation Fast and Furious. If you haven't heard about that one, you're not reading/watching conservative media...they're going bonkers over it. Here's how wiki explains the program.

Operation Fast and Furious was the name of a sting run by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) between 2009 and 2010 as part of Project Gunrunner in its investigations into illegal gun trafficking . The stated purpose of the operation was to permit otherwise-suspected straw purchasers to complete the weapon's purchase and transit to Mexico, in order to build a bigger case against Mexican criminal organizations suspected of being the ultimate buyer... During the operation, the sale of at least 2,000 guns were facilitated by ATF knowing most would be trafficked to Mexico. By June, 2011, the guns have been linked (through eTrace, ATF's electronic tracing program) to some 179 crime scenes in Mexico. By August, 2011, 21 additional guns were recovered from violent crime scenes in Mexico.

No one is making a case that this operation was OK. As a matter of fact, AG Holder has asked the Inspector General to investigate. But the wingers are accusing Holder of being an accessory to murder and asking for an special prosecutor.

But low and behold, as TPM reports, the exact same operation was going on during the Bush administration under the name "Operation Wide Receiver."

What's also fascinating about the documents turned over to investigators is that they reference a little-known ATF operation called "Operation Wide Receiver", which just like "Fast and Furious," let guns "walk" to Mexico.

The operation, run by ATF's Tucson office and the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, started in 2006 -- when George W. Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was running the show -- and ran until the end of 2007. No charges were filed.

You can't excuse Holder as a result. He's still the man in charge now. But it's actually an example of what I feared would happen. These were rogue departments under Bush and its a long difficult process to turn that kind of thing around. When it became known, Holder started an investigation. But its still his responsibility.

Finally, there's the story about Federal Prosecutors in California going after businesses that sell marijuana legally for medicinal purposes. I have to say that DOJ has sent out totally confusing messages about this - first saying they wouldn't do this and now changing their tune. I don't understand why they're doing it and think its not only a terrible waste of money, but a policy that makes no sense at all.


  1. I wouldn't be too concerned about prison work-release labor being a solution to not having migrant workers to harvest food. Unless the farmers are really willing to beat these prisoners like slaves, the prisoners won't get much done. They can't handle the work or the conditions. Similar strategies have been used in other states and the workers flat out refused to do the work.

  2. Thanks you very much for that perspective Tien Le.

    It still makes me furious to see what those mf'ers think they can get away with. But I'm happy to hear that its not likely to work.