The Justice Department has sneakily requested Congress to grant it the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies like the China virus pandemic. Politico reports that this is part of a push for new government powers as the novel China virus spreads across the country.
The move has concerned many civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics are now alleging that the president is exploiting the crisis to move forward controversial measures.
The DOJ requests are not expected to go through the Democratic-controlled House. They cover numerous stages of the legal process, “from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated.”
In one of the documents, the department recommended that Congress grant the attorney general the authority to ask the chief judge of any district court to halt court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”
The proposal would also give high-ranking judges broad powers to discontinue court proceeding in times of emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” based on the initial legislative language the department shared with Congress. The DOJ contended that individual judges can already halt proceedings during emergencies but that their proposal would guarantee that all judges in a given district could take on emergencies “in a consistent manner.”
The request caused unease due to its potential implications for habeas corpus, the constitutional right to appear before a judge after being arrested and then attempt to ask for release.
“Not only would it be a violation of that, but it says ‘affecting pre-arrest,’” commented Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “So that means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying. Especially in a time of emergency, we should be very careful about granting new powers to the government.”
Reimer said the possibility of chief judges nullifying all court rules during an emergency for an indefinite period of time was deeply concerning.
“That is something that should not happen in a democracy,” he remarked.
The department also requested that Congress pause the statute of limitations for criminal investigations and civil proceedings in times of national emergencies, “and for one year following the end of the national emergency,” according to the legislation’s draft.
Politico highlighted another controversial aspect of this request: “The department is looking to change the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in some cases to expand the use of videoconference hearings and to let some of those hearings happen without defendants’ consent, according to the draft legislative text.:
“Video teleconferencing may be used to conduct an appearance under this rule,” a draft of potential new language for Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 5(f) explaining, deleting the phrase “if the defendant consents.”
Reimer believes that forcing people to go through hearings over video rather than in person would constitute a threat to civil liberties.
“If it were with the consent of the accused person it would be fine,” he state. “But if it’s not with the consent of the accused person, it’s a terrible road to go down. We have a right to public trials. People have a right to be present in court.”
Utah Senator Mike Lee complained about this proposal on Twitter.
He Tweeted, “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”
OVER MY DEAD BODY https://t.co/B8BRbvRDDa
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 21, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security Has Plans to Undermine Immigration Enforcement
The Biden administration is working towards a de facto abolition of ICE.
Are Democrats going to appease their radical base by abolishing ICE?
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is now putting forward a plan to restructure the federal deportation agency in a way that effectively guts its traditional role of arresting and deporting criminal aliens in the country.
According to a Washington Times report by Stephen Dinan, Mayorkas revealed the idea last week in a telephone meeting with ICE personnel in Texas. In this call, Mayorkas proposed taking 4,000 members of ICE off the streets and transitioning them into roles of criminal investigators.
As a result of this proposed change, ICE agents would no longer be working to enforce laws against aliens illegally residing in the U.S. This entails reducing arrests and deportations.
A number of deportation officers said this move was similar to a major city police department shifting its beat cops into detective roles. As a result of this change, no one would be left to patrol the streets for lesser crimes.
“This is an administrative abolishment of ICE as we currently know it,” an ICE source told The Washington Times.
After the phone call, there were still many questions regarding Mayorkas’ intentions with ICE. Questions about what new training ICE agents would have to go through and the pay structure they would be subject to were not addressed.
According to The Washington Times, Mayorkas was of the opinion that ICE officers were in the wrong pay system. Mayorkas allegedly said that deportation officers are in the wrong pay scale but did suggest the idea of a pay raise.
Under the current federal government job system, deportation officers are categorized as GS-1801 jobs and usually fall under GS-12 pay scale. Criminal investigators hold GS-1811 jobs and fall under the GS-13 pay scale.
Mayorkas’ ploy is to use the promotion offers as a way to get ICE agents on board with his plan to gut deportation enforcement plans.
However, one source revealed that many officers feared that they were being forced out of their original jobs.
“It’s all spin,” the source declared. “We’re not going to abolish ICE, but we really are going to abolish ICE as you know it.”
The abolition of ICE is one of the chief slogans for the multicultural Left in recent years, which is committed to importing destabilization levels of migrants.
How ICE’s abolition would look is “tougher to pin down” as Dinan outlined.
They usually aren’t talking about investigating smugglers, street gangs or child pornographers. Homeland Security Investigations, with its 7,000-strong force of GS-1811 criminal investigators, perform those duties.
So far, the “Abolish ICE” crowd is in opposition to the Enforcement and Removal Operations, which is generally tasked with arrests, detention, and deportation of people illegally in the country.
Dinan listed off where the majority of these arrests came from:
Most of those arrests come from deportation officers picking up people who end up in local prisons or jails. But some fraction are at-large arrests in the community — particularly in areas where state and local sanctuary policies block access to prisons or jails.
The administrative tweaks Mayorkas is implementing are indeed a way to defang ICE in a subtle manner. A traditional legislative effort would likely cause massive backlash from voters who would likely take their anger out on politicians at the polls in 2022.
Border security is crucial in maintaining a stable polity. Republicans who have any iota of nationalism in their bones would take this issue and run with it.
Immigration still remains an issue that resonates well with the grassroots.
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