Sunday, June 22, 2014
Some Clinton White House documents have recemtly become available to the public. In a November 1996 memorandum to the President (after his reelection), Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor of Chicago, discusses possible immigration policy choices for the Clinton administration in the years after passage of the 1996 immigration reforms. (The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) are known for their tough immigration enforcement appraiches.). The administration pursued some of the policies and their influence (especially the focus on "criminal aliens" to boost removal numbers to record levels) can be seen on the immigration record of the Obama administration.
In the memo, Emanuel notes that the Clinton administration built a strong crime record after Congress passed the 1994 Crime Bill and saw the same possibility for immigration after enactment of the 1996 reforms. Emanuel calls for increased enforcement (including through expanded use of the National Guard to secure major metropolitan areas along the U.S./Mexico border and workplace enforcement in the meat and poultry industry), expanded removal hearing procedures to "achieve record deportations of criminal aliens," and a one month moratorium on naturalizations to ensure proper screening of criminals.
Politics Early and Often sees an incongruity between Chief of Staff Emanuel's memo and Mayor of Chicago Emanuel's positions:
"As mayor, Emanuel says he supports reducing deportations and accelerating citizenship for immigrants. When he was an adviser for Clinton, he called for `record deportations of criminal aliens' and told the president that `halfway through your term you want to claim a number of industries free of illegal immigrants.'”