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    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Obama seeks to end immigration enforcement by local, state police

    Obama seeks to end immigration enforcement by local, state police

    Recommendation from task force set up in wake of Ferguson riots

    President Obama tours the Real-Time Tactical Operational Intelligence Center in the Camden County (N.J.) Police Administration Building on Monday with Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson. (Associated Press) more >

    By Stephen Dinan and Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2015

    The administration issued a report Monday saying that in order to rebuild trust between police and their communities, the federal government should stop enlisting state and local police in most immigration enforcement, setting up another challenge as President Obama tries to please immigrant rights advocates while carrying out deportations.

    The recommendations were part of Mr. Obama’s policing task force, set up in the wake of riots last year in Ferguson, Missouri, to suggest ways federal officials can help local police do their jobs better. The heart of the report called for curtailing transfer of heavy weapons and tank-style vehicles to state and local authorities, but the report also delved into the thorny issue of immigration, saying government must “decouple” enforcement from local police.

    “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security should terminate the use of the state and local criminal justice system, including through detention, notification, and transfer requests, to enforce civil immigration laws against civil and nonserious criminal offenders,” the task force said.

    Task force officials also suggested that the government pay for any enforcement it asks of local authorities.
    The report angered proponents of an immigration crackdown, who said it was the latest effort by Mr. Obama and his aides to stop finding illegal immigrants to deport.

    “If you’re so worried about your legal status, or your illegal status, don’t put yourself in a place or a situation where you’re going to get picked up by the police,” said Rosemary Jenks, government relations manager at NumbersUSA, which lobbies for stricter immigration limits.

    She questioned the sense of ignoring illegal immigrants driving without a license or using falsified documents. “Somehow in this world if you’re an illegal alien, then you can’t be punished for being an illegal alien,” she said.

    Homeland Security officials already were struggling with those questions under orders from Mr. Obama, who as part of his expanded deportation amnesty announced in November said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which handles interior enforcement and deportations, needs to change its relationship with state and local police.

    As part of those changes, ICE scrapped its Secure Communities program, which trolled prisons and jails looking for illegal immigrants to be deported, but which angered dozens of police departments that said they worried they were being asked to hold people for pickup, making them complicit in enforcement.

    ICE is replacing Secure Communities with what it calls the Priority Enforcement Program, which will continue to scour prisons and jails but will assert probable cause, according to draft documents obtained by advocacy groups.

    ICE said it couldn’t comment on where the Priority Enforcement Program stands because of an ongoing lawsuit and referred questions about the task force’s recommendations to the White House.

    Mr. Obama traveled to New Jersey to discuss the report, though he focused chiefly on the military equipment that local police used to confront protesters in Ferguson last year, sparking a national debate over whether there was a growing divide between officers and their communities.

    The report said police need to take steps to rebuild trust, including acknowledging past abuses, becoming more transparent, hiring racial and cultural minorities and polling to determine whether they have built solid relationships with their communities.
    The report also said that establishing trust with immigrant communities “is central to overall public safety.”

    That didn’t make sense to some. Lance LoRusso, a former police officer and Atlanta lawyer, said the immigration part of the report was “a political statement, not a law enforcement statement.”

    He said an illegal immigrant who is arrested for a charge that the federal government deems not to be serious and who gets bonded out of jail is less likely to show up for legal proceedings because the person is in the country illegally.

    The task force report said its recommendation about halting recruitment of state and local police for immigration enforcement stemmed from testimony by Maria Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino, an advocacy group.

    Voto Latino didn’t return a message seeking comment on the report, nor did the American Civil Liberties Union, whose immigrant rights project has challenged federal efforts to enlist state and local police.

    Last week, the ACLU and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network released draft documents detailing the Obama administration’s newest plans for working with state and local police.

    According to the documents, authorities will be asked to hold immigrants for up to 48 hours after they otherwise would have been released so ICE officers can come pick them up. Unlike the old system, however, ICE officers would affirm that they have probable cause for the immigrant to be deported and therefore should be held.

    Jessica Bansal, litigation director for the organizing network, said the program is still “a liability trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which bear legal responsibility for detaining individuals on ICE holds.”

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    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    ew Study Finds CRA 'Clearly' Did Lead To Risky Lending


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    Special Series:
    The War On Banks

    Democrats and the media insist the Community Reinvestment Act, the anti-redlining law beefed up by President Clinton, had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage crisis and recession.

    But a new study by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research finds, "Yes, it did. We find that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks."

    Added NBER: "There is a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam. Moreover, the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts," or predominantly low-income and minority areas.

    To satisfy CRA examiners, "flexible" lending by large banks rose an average 5% and those loans defaulted about 15% more often, the 43-page study found.

    The strongest link between CRA lending and defaults took place in the runup to the crisis — 2004 to 2006 — when banks rapidly sold CRA mortgages for securitization by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Wall Street.

    CRA regulations are at the core of Fannie's and Freddie's so-called affordable housing mission. In the early 1990s, a Democrat Congress gave HUD the authority to set and enforce (through fines) CRA-grade loan quotas at Fannie and Freddie.
    It passed a law requiring the government-backed agencies to "assist insured depository institutions to meet their obligations under the (CRA)." The goal was to help banks meet lending quotas by buying their CRA loans.

    But they had to loosen underwriting standards to do it. And that's what they did.

    "We want your CRA loans because they help us meet our housing goals," Fannie Vice Chair Jamie Gorelick beseeched lenders gathered at a banking conference in 2000, just after HUD hiked the mortgage giant's affordable housing quotas to 50% and pressed it to buy more CRA-eligible loans to help meet those new targets. "We will buy them from your portfolios or package them into securities."

    She described "CRA-friendly products" as mortgages with less than "3% down" and "flexible underwriting."
    From 2001-2007, Fannie and Freddie bought roughly half of all CRA home loans, most carrying subprime features.
    Lenders not subject to the CRA, such as subprime giant Countrywide Financial, still fell under its spell. Regulated by HUD, Countrywide and other lenders agreed to sign contracts with the government supporting such lending under threat of being brought under CRA rules.

    "Countrywide can potentially help you meet your CRA goals by offering both whole loan and mortgage-backed securities that are eligible for CRA credit," the lender advertised to banks.

    Housing analysts say the CRA is the central thread running through the subprime scandal — from banks and subprime lenders to Fannie and Freddie to even Wall Street firms that took most of the heat for the crisis.

    Obama officials, who are cracking the CRA whip anew against banks, insist the law played no role in the mortgage meltdown.
    "CRA loans performed substantially better than subprime loans, and the CRA has been around for decades," argued senior Justice Department official Thomas Perez.

    While the 1977 law was passed 30 years before the crisis, it underwent a major overhaul just 10 years earlier. Starting in 1995, banks were measured on their use of innovative and flexible" lending standards, which included reduced down payments and credit requirements.

    Banks that didn't meet Clinton's tough new numerical lending targets were denied merger plans, among other penalties. CRA shakedown groups like Acorn held hostage the merger plans of banks like Citibank and Washington Mutual until they pledged more loans to credit-poor minorities (see chart).

    WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger has blamed the CRA for his bank's overexposure to risky loans. He said he wanted to tighten lending requirements, but "such measures would have presented other issues such as the company's CRA rating and its commitment to serving its (low-income and minority) customers and communities."

    Other large banks have reported serious delinquency rates on CRA home loans. Bank of America's 2009 10-K states: "Our CRA portfolio comprised 6% of the total residential mortgage balances, but 17% of nonperforming residential mortgage loans."
    Under Clinton's revised CRA, moreover, banks for the first time earned CRA credit for purchasing subprime securities.
    A wave of these securitizations began in 1997, which also happens to mark the start of the housing bubble.

    Read More At Investor's Business Daily:
    Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

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