With the help of President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama may win re-election by taking a page out of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election playbook.
How? By using taxpayer funded programs that teach immigrant green card holders how to become U.S. citizens—thereby increasing likely voters.
During the Clinton era it was called Citizenship USA (CUSA). Today, it’s the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program. It’s similar to then Sen. Obama’s Citizenship Promotion Act of 2007, a bill he introduced with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to give “$80 million” in grants to community organizers “to assist” legal “aliens” in becoming US citizens.
Obama’s bill would have sped up FBI background checks. During the Clinton’s CUSA program, FBI background checks were rushed or ignored so felons became US citizens in time to vote. And thanks to President Bush, by executive order, promoting citizenship is the law of the land. Obama no longer requires congressional approval.
But first, let’s rewind to the Clinton administration.
Citizenship Programs Under Clinton Administration
While most people associate President Clinton’s impeachment with Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and sex in the Oval office that’s not the full story. Amid the impeachment inquiry other investigations were taking place that were not included within the articles of impeachment because of time limitations.
One investigation focused on the Immigration Naturalization Services (INS), now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), during the 1996 Bill Clinton vs Bob Doyle presidential contest.
At issue was whether or not the Clinton White House abused their power for political gain by misusing the INS and circumventing the rule of law to increase the number of likely Democrat voters. According to David Schippers, the chief investigative counsel for the Clinton impeachment investigation, in a conversation with this journalist, the answer was “yes.”
As Schippers wrote in his bestselling book, Sell Out: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2000):
“ … 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, 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.”
To meet the deadline to naturalize a stated goal of 1 million new citizens in time for them to register to vote, a shortcut was necessary to ‘breakdown’ the typical background check timeline required during the FBI fingerprint background check process.
Among his abundant documentation, Shippers obtained an email from then Vice President Al Gore’s office, following President Clinton’s lead, to Doug Farbrother of the National Performance Review (NPR).
NPR was tasked to remove all barriers to citizenship in major cities in four swing states. To accomplish that NPR inserted ‘reinventors’ as part of an official INS management teams “to influence INS staff who would be less inclined to complain or voice concerns if the directives came from within.” The email stated: “THE PRESIDENT IS SICK OF THIS AND WANTS ACTION. IF NOTHING MOVES TODAY WE’LL HAVE TO TAKE PRETTY DRASTIC ACTIONS.”
As Schippers reported, “We developed sources inside the INS with specific knowledge of the facts who revealed that FBI arrest records that were being sent to the Chicago INS office simply were not being inserted into the aliens’ files. As a result, aliens with criminal records were being granted citizenship.”
Predictably, the Clinton White House, the INS, and the Justice Department denied any political motivation for speeding up the citizenship program, however, a 1996 audit of CUSA by KPMG Peat Marwick documented the fruits of their labor and found the United States got:
1. More than 75,000 new citizens who had arrest records when they applied;
2. An additional 115,000 citizens whose fingerprints were unclassifiable for various technical reasons and were never resubmitted; and
3. Another 61,000 people who were given citizenship with no fingerprints submitted at all.”
Schippers, a Democrat, concluded “thousands of criminals are now citizens of the United States because it was assumed they would vote for Bill Clinton and Al Gore.”
While the citizenship to-get-out-the vote idea might have originated from Clinton’s 1996 re-election success, it is President Bush who gets the credit for paving the way for Obama’s pro-citizenship efforts that have been taking place since he took office and could easily help him win re-election.
Both Sides Play Politics with Immigration to Increase Votes
A little background is necessary. In 2002, the Bush administration’s Homeland Security Act created the USCIS’s Office of Citizenship (OoC) “to promote instruction and training … on citizenship responsibilities.
Then on June 7, 2006, President Bush signed Executive Order 13404 to establish a “Task Force on New Americans” to “strengthen the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal, State, and local agencies to help legal immigrants embrace the common core of American civic culture, learn our common language, and fully become Americans.”
The following federal departments were included in the order: DHS, State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education.
The New American Task Force was ordered, in part, to: “provide direction [to legal immigrants] … concerning the integration into American society… particularly through instruction in English, civics, and history ….” Funding was determined by the Secretary of the DHS.
Under the Obama administration, Bush’s New American task force became in part the USCIS’ Citizenship and Integration Grant Program where the OoC coordinates with President Obama’s Director of White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz. Prior to serving at the White House, Muñoz worked at the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization.”
Muñoz has thus far not responded to an interview request.
According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report: Immigrant Integration: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Could Better Assess Its Grant Program, in 2010, Obama’s Domestic Policy Council formed the Interagency Working Group on the Federal Role of Immigrant Integration to assess how the federal government could best “coordinate integration efforts across agencies … “ Obama’s Committee includes representatives from Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, Arne Duncan’s Education Department, Kathleen Sebelius’ Health and Human Services Department, and Hilda Solis’ Labor Department, “as well as several Executive Offices of the President (emphasis mine).”
While the scope and funding of these programs remain secret because GAO officials “were unable to meet with officials from the White House,” and inquiries from this journalist have thus far gone unanswered, following is some of what we know.
Obama’s Citizenship and Integration grant program was established in 2009 “pursuant to the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009,” the program “awarded grants to organizations promoting the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”
From “2008 to 2011, OoC reported conducting more than 300 significant outreach events.” Nearly half of OoC’s funding—about $19.8 million—“was spent on grants aimed at preparing immigrants for the naturalization process …” “Civic integration included OoC’s citizenship programs; economic integration included refugee resettlement assistance provided by the Department of Health and Human Services; and linguistic integration included English language acquisition grants provided to states by the Department of Education. The data do not represent all federal programs that support immigrant integration and do not provide a complete estimate of federal funding because a number of programs did not report a funding amount (emphasis mine).”
According to the USCIS OoC, some groups that have received grants include: Access California Services, “Serving the Arab American & Muslim American Communities,” Central American Resource Center—Latino Resource and justice center, various church charities, Asian groups, and the International Rescue Committee, Inc. (IRC). The IRC, according to their website, lists people like: Madeline Albright, Kofi Annan, Condoleezza Rice, H.R.H. Princess Firyal of Jordan, Henry Kissinger, Tom Brokaw and Scott Pelley as “overseers.”
According to the GAO report, in 2010, “13 federal agencies across the federal government reported offering a total of 79 [immigrant integration] programs (self-reported). “Some programs” served the general population but include the immigrant and non-immigrant “populations as a subset” such as “the Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program” which “offers low-cost or free lunches to children from low-income families.”
Michelle Obama’s lunch program is but one example of where these citizenship programs appear, however, one cannot report the magnitude or the taxpayer cost because yet again the Obama administration is not being transparent. As a GAO footnote states: “OoC identified other agencies with programs supporting immigrant integration that did not respond to the data request (emphasis mine).
While the USCIS and the GAO provides slightly different funding numbers for the USCIS’s OoC grant program, to add some context to the cost, this past May, one USCIS grant opportunity totaled $5 million and extrapolate outwards. Remember, this amount is separate from the ongoing citizenship programs that span across 13 federal agencies.
It is worth noting that like Clinton’s CUSA vote-grab effort that targeted likely Democrat voters in key states–California, Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Texas to ensure maximum electoral votes, so goes Obama’s OoC grant program.
If past is prologue, expect President Barack Obama’s, re-election effort to wildly benefit from these taxpayer funded citizenship programs to increase likely Democratic voters. After all, promoting citizenship and naturalizing immigrants in time to vote in a broken, backlogged immigration system worked for the Clinton’s 1996 re-election, and for Republican George W Bush.
Inquiries to the White House and USCIS have thus far been ignored.
Email query to the White House and USCIS is below with typo corrected.
From: Marinka Peschmann
Sent: September 24, 2012 1:02 PM
Subject: Interview Request for Director of WH Domestic Policy Cecilia Muñoz
My name is Marinka Peschmann and I’m freelance journalist. Would it be possible to schedule an interview with Director of White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz to discuss the Interagency Working Group on the Federal Role of Immigrant Integration that she heads up as well as the USCIS’s Integration Grant Program she works on in coordination with the OoC?
It is my understanding (based on a GAO report) that these immigrant integration programs cross 13 federal agencies (separate from the USCIS program). Specifically, I am interested in a rundown of the programs themselves, the funding and the results.
Also, I’m looking into any differences or similarities between the Bush’s administration’s New American Task Force as compared to the Obama administration’s Immigrant Integration programs.
If Director Muñoz is unavailable to discuss this, (I understand she was unable to meet with the GAO) could you kindly point me in the right direction to obtain the above information? I know it is asking a lot since these programs span 13 agencies but any help you can assist me with would be greatly appreciated.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
From: Marinka Peschmann
Sent: September 26, 2012 11:38 AM
Subject: Query on USCIS grant program
My name is Marinka Peschmann and I’m freelance journalist. Would it be possible to obtain information on the USCIS’s Integration Grant Program?
Specifically I’m looking for the number of grants that have been awarded/funded since this program began, the budgets and the results. I see that according to your website, “During the first three years of the program, USCIS awarded a total of $18.3 million through 111 grants to immigrant-serving organizations,” however information in the GAO report on the grant program states between 2008 to 2011, “nearly half of OoC’s funding–about 19.8 million — was spent on grants for the naturalization process.” Could you please clarify for me?
Also, I understand that the USCIS’s grant program is separate from the various immigrant integration programs that are taking place within 13 federal agencies. Can you confirm or correct? Thanks.
Is the list of groups that have received USCIS grants on your website up-to-date?
And the numbers of people who have been naturalized under this program current? Thanks.
Would it be possible to get the number of people who have been naturalized since President Obama took office as compared to President Bush?
If I may, one more question please. Also, how have the backlogs during the FBI background check phase been affected since these grant programs started? What’s the wait time now (approx)? I know it constantly changes.
That’s it for now. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
TEXT OF BUSH’S EXECUTIVE ORDER:
President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13404 of June 7, 2006
Task Force on New Americans
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to strengthen the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security and Federal, State, and local agencies to help legal immigrants embrace the common core of American civic culture, learn our common language, and fully become Americans, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Establishment. The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall immediately establish within the Department of Homeland Security (Department) a Task Force on New Americans (Task Force).
Sec. 2. Membership and Operation. (a) The Task Force shall be limited to the following members or employees designated by them at no lower than the Assistant Secretary level or its equivalent:
(i) the Secretary of Homeland Security, who shall serve as Chair;
(ii) the Secretary of State;
(iii) the Secretary of the Treasury;
(iv) the Secretary of Defense;
(v) the Attorney General;
(vi) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(vii) the Secretary of Commerce;
(viii) the Secretary of Labor;
(ix) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(x) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
(xi) the Secretary of Education;
(xii) such other officers or employees of the Department of Homeland Security as the Secretary may from time to time designate; and
(xiii) such other officers of the United States as the Secretary may designate from time to time, with the concurrence of the respective heads of departments and agencies concerned.
(b) The Secretary shall convene and preside at meetings of the Task Force, direct its work, and as appropriate, establish and direct subgroups of the Task Force that shall consist exclusively of Task Force members. The Secretary shall designate an official of the Department to serve as the Executive
Secretary of the Task Force, and the Executive Secretary shall head the staff assigned to the Task Force.
Sec. 3. Functions. Consistent with applicable law, the Task Force shall: (a) provide direction to executive departments and agencies (agencies) concerning the integration into American society of America’s legal immigrants, particularly through instruction in English, civics, and history;
(b) promote public-private partnerships that will encourage businesses to offer English and civics education to workers;
(c) identify ways to expand English and civics instruction for legal immigrants, including through faith-based, community, and other groups (d) make recommendations to the President, through the Secretary, from time to time regarding: (i) actions to enhance cooperation among agencies on the integration of legal immigrants into American society; (ii) actions to enhance cooperation among Federal, State, and local authorities responsible for the integration of legal immigrants;
(iii) changes in rules, regulations, or policy to improve the effective integration of legal immigrants into American society; and (iv) proposed legislation relating to the integration of legal immigrants into American society. Sec. 4. Administration. (a) To the extent permitted by law, the Department shall provide the funding and administrative support the Task Force needs to implement this order, as determined by the Secretary.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to an agency or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budget, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This order is intended to improve the internal management of the Federal Government. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, instrumentalities, officers, employees, agents, or any other person.