Amnesty Incorporated: DHS Hires Activist Immigration Lawyers
This column by ACRU Policy Board Member J. Christian Adams was published on December 04, 2013 on the PJ Media website.
Despite the sequester, the Department of Homeland Security has just completed a hiring blitz of attorneys to oversee and manage immigration litigation. Almost all of these new civil service attorney hires hail from an activist pro-amnesty and pro-asylum background. Sources within the Department of Homeland Security report that the process for hiring these new career civil service lawyers was unconventional and was conducted by an Obama political appointee within DHS.
The new attorneys have activist backgrounds with a variety of pro-amnesty groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the Advancement Project, and open borders groups funded by the Tides Foundation.
PJ Media previously reported on attorney hires within the Justice Department Civil Rights Division in the Every Single One series. That series demonstrated that every single attorney hire had a leftist or Democrat activist pedigree. The Department of Justice Inspector General criticized those DOJ hiring procedures as producing ideological outcomes. PJ Media only obtained the resumes of DOJ hires after this publication was forced to sue Eric Holder in federal court under the Freedom of Information Act.
Now, sources inside DHS have provided PJ Media with the employment history and pro-amnesty backgrounds of the newly hired lawyers who will be enforcing federal immigration laws.
The ideological histories of these new DHS lawyers undermine confidence that the federal government will vigorously enforce federal laws, notwithstanding any congressional “mandates” to do so.
These lawyers were hired through unconventional means by former DHS chief counsel for Citizen and Immigration Services Stephen Legomsky. Sources at DHS report that when Legomsky was hired by Secretary Janet Napalitano’s Department, he was not even an active member of any bar association. After resigning in October 2013, Legomsky is now a professor of law at Washington University. His scholarship is most notable for its hostility toward barriers to entry for foreigners coming to the United States.
Here are the backgrounds of the new lawyers hired at the DHS in the recent hiring blitz:
Kristy Blumeyer-Martinez is a new attorney in the DHS Office of the Chief Counsel. Prior to joining OCC, Kristy served as law clerk to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in San Antonio, Texas, and RAICES in San Antonio, Texas. In law school, she also clerked with the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic and Sacramento Child Advocates/Children’s Law Center. She also worked at American Gateways, Refugee Services of Texas, and Caritas of Austin.
Esther Cantor was hired into the refugee and asylum law division as an associate counsel at DHS headquarters in Washington, D.C.. She participated in the Immigration Clinic and volunteered with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, an open borders organization.
Nicole Flores is a new DHS lawyer in Chicago. She graduated from Harvard Law School, where she worked at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and served as the co-president of the Harvard Immigration Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring foreigners get to stay in the United States. She was also a legal intern at the leftist open borders organization LatinoJustice-PRLDEF. According to DHS sources, there she worked on project to badger businesses who implemented English-only rules in the work place. Before law school, she was a volunteer activist at a “workers’ rights” organization in Madison, Wisconsin.
Erin Fricker is a new DHS lawyer formerly employed by Lutheran Social Services of New England, where she was a staff attorney representing detained foreigners attempting to stay in the United States. While in law school, Erin participated in the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project as an immigration clinic student.
New DHS lawyer Elizabeth Grossman established her Obama-era ideological bona fides by serving on the executive board for the University of Michigan Law School chapter of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, a leftist law school student group.
Elizabeth Gunter’s resume includes a stint in the Obama-era DOJ Attorney General’s Honor Program after graduating from Washington University, the same law school where Legomsky, the person doing the hiring at DHS, was a professor while Gunter was a student.
Cindy Heidelberg comes from the same Holder-era Attorney General’s Honor Program, after a long activist background with open borders groups. Cynthia graduated from Georgetown Law in 2011, earning a J.D. with a certificate in “Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.” During law school, she interned at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, the ACLU National Prison Project, and the AARP Litigation Foundation.
Celia Hicks is a new lawyer with the Litigation and National Security Coordination Division in Washington, DC. She served as Protection Fellow for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and previously worked for the Legal Action Center of the American Immigration Council, an organization notoriously hostile to Border Patrol agents.
New DHS lawyer Leila Higgins previously worked as a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic at her law school. This organization, according to its website, represents “immigrants on cutting-edge asylum claims based on gender and sexual orientation.”
Lawyer Stephanie Hummel previously worked at the ABA Center for Human Rights in Washington, as well as the pro-amnesty Immigration Law Project, and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2008, she spent time in Cairo studying Arabic. In law school, Hummel won a CALI Award for “Representation of Non-US Citizens in Immigration Court Proceedings.”
Before joining DHS, attorney Jennifer Lee was an advocate for illegal aliens obtaining in-state tuition at public universities, though she naturally called them “undocumented immigrants.” Lee also worked at the Legal Aid Justice Center, a organization which advised illegals “what to do in the event of a raid.”
Katelyn Love is now a DHS lawyer in Washington, D.C. She once worked at Lutheran Family Services, where she represented foreigners in their attempts to stay in the United States. Katelyn spent her junior year of college in Morocco studying “formal and colloquial” Arabic.
New DHS lawyer Maura Ooi previously worked in militantly activist roles with militantly activist open borders organizations such as the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. Also, prior to joining DHS, Ooi penned a report for the leftist National Immigration Law Center bashing DHS. Titled “DHS Proposes Fantasy Remedies to Cure Fundamental Flaws in the Secure Communities Program” (emphasis mine), Ooi complained about efforts to fingerprint captured illegal aliens. Without collecting biometric data such as fingerprints, deported illegal aliens may repeatedly return to the United States and their prior illegal entries would remain unknown.
Reena Parikh also worked at the American University Immigrant Justice Clinic, where she represented foreigners in removal proceedings. She also worked as a legal intern at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group knee-deep in trying to ease immigration laws.
If you were starting to think that Stephen Legomsky only hired young women to be DHS lawyers, meet new DHS lawyer Steven Plastrik. What Plastrik lacks in femininity, he makes up for with a deep commitment to making sure foreigners get to stay in the United States. He prepared asylum applications at Freedom House and on behalf of other organizations.
New DHS lawyer Liza Shah just completed a stint with the George Soros-funded Advancement Project working to ensure felons get the right to vote in Virginia (with the tragic and politically suicidal aid of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell). As a law student, Shah naturally helped in litigation to keep foreigners in the United States.
Before becoming a DHS lawyer, Connie Yao worked at the Tides Foundation-funded East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, where she assisted individuals with asylum applications. At Cornell Law, she participated in the Advocacy for LGBT Communities Clinic.
Amisha Sharma is on the board of directors of her local Planned Parenthood when she isn’t busy as a newly hired DHS lawyer. She also worked at the ACLU. She received a dual degree in religious studies and women’s and gender studies from Louisiana State University. At Fordham Law, she was on the board of “Law Students for Reproductive Justice,” worked at the “Center for Reproductive Rights” and volunteered for the “Planned Parenthood of New York City’s Activist Council.”
Catlin Shay has a history of aiding foreigners seeking to remain in the United States as well as activism against laws prohibiting felons from voting. She wrote “Free But No Liberty: How Florida Contravenes the Voting Rights Act by Preventing Persons Previously Convicted of Felonies from Voting,” and advocated a position wholly rejected by federal courts.
Cara Shewchuk once worked at the pro-amnesty National Immigration Law Center and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, providing free legal help to illegal aliens.
Melanie Siders worked for the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network prior to her time as a DHS lawyer.
Lindsay Smith is a graduate of Smith College and Michigan Law, where she was “a Jenny Runkles scholar” for her commitment to public interest law and “diversity.” She also worked at the open borders, pro-amnesty group Americans for Immigrant Justice.
Prior to joining DHS, Shahna Esber was an “Immigration Law Fellow” at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, where she helped foreigners stay in the United States. She also worked with the Immigration Center for Women and Children, an organization “proud to assist immigrant youth applying for Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”
DHS lawyer Bria DeSalvo graduated from Georgetown University Law Center “with a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. ” In law school, DeSalvo volunteered for the CAIR coalition.
DHS lawyer Jessika Croizat served as a union organizer for AFSCME before deciding to attend law school.
Before his job as an attorney at DHS, Michael Celone was a Hill staffer for Democrats. He worked with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) helping prepare research to attack the Bush Justice Department regarding the firing of political appointees who were serving as United States attorneys. He also worked for Democrat Rep. Jim Langevin from Rhode Island. He also authored an article revealingly titled “Undocumented and Unprotected: Solutions for Protecting the Health of America’s Undocumented Mexican Migrant Workers.”
If you are an attorney with a background in enforcing immigration law as opposed to representing foreigners attempting to stay in the United States, don’t expect to be hired by DHS during the Obama administration. And based on this recent batch of hires, if you are a male with a background in immigration enforcement, forget about it.