Over 500 Grievous Injuries Or Deaths Resulting From Poor Care Occurred At VA Hospitals In 2013

Over 500 Grievous Injuries Or Deaths At VA Hospitals In 2013 – Washington Free Beacon

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Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country reported more than 500 incidents last year where patients were gravely injured or died as a result of the care they received.

Data obtained by the WashingtonFree Beacon through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows 575 “institutional disclosures of adverse events” – the bureaucratic phrase for reporting a serious mistake – at VA hospitals in fiscal year 2013.

See the data here.

According to the Veterans Health Administration ethics handbook, such disclosures are required when “an adverse event has occurred during the patient’s care that resulted in or is reasonably expected to result in death or serious injury.”

Specifically, adverse events are defined by the department as “untoward incidents, diagnostic or therapeutic misadventures, iatrogenic injuries, or other occurrences of harm or potential harm directly associated with care or services provided” by the VA.

How many of the 575 “adverse events” reported last year resulted in patient deaths is unknown. It is also unclear how 2013 compared to previous years. The Free Beacon has filed another FOIA request seeking this information.

“Until VA leaders make a serious attempt to address the department’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability, I fear we’ll only see more of these lapses in care,” Rep. Jeff Miller (R., Fla.), the head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement to the Free Beacon.

“Like other hospital systems, VA isn’t immune from human error – even fatal human error,” Miller said. “But what the department does seem to be immune from is meaningful accountability. Given that these tragic events are part of a pattern of preventable veteran deaths and other patient-safety issues at VA hospitals around the country, it’s well past time for the department to put its employees on notice that anyone who lets patients fall through the cracks will be held fully responsible.”

The VA came under intense scrutiny from Congress and the media this year after whistleblowers revealed thousands of veterans were placed on secret wait lists and dozens died awaiting treatment.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned earlier this year as a result of the uproar that followed. The department also ordered a nationwide audit of its consulting practices.

The VA also disclosed in April that, since 1999, 76 patients were seriously injured because of delayed gastro-intestinal cancer screenings, and 23 died.

Medical privacy laws strictly bar from disclosure the names of patients and other details, making it difficult to document individual cases. However, the data obtained by the Free Beacon gives a broad view of serious mistakes at VA hospitals over the past year.

Gainesville

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., reported 31 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, the most of any VA facility.

The VA also confirmed two patients died at North Florida/South Georgia system, where the Gainesville hospital is located, due to delayed cancer screenings.

The system is the busiest in the country, serving roughly 125,000 VA patients per year.

VA hospitals have struggled to handle the flood of new patients in the years following 9/11, especially after the troop drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.

However, numerous congressional investigations and internal audits by the VA also describe a corrosive work environment, where leadership encouraged staff to cook the books to meet performance standards and where whistleblowers were harshly punished.

Three VA officials in Gainesville were placed on leave this year after an audit by the VA Inspector General found the hospital was using a secret paper list to keep track of appointments.

There were also allegations that surgeons were not allowed to perform certain operating room procedures to avoid increased mortality rates, and that patients with a high mortality risk were sent to a local hospital. However, the VA Inspector General said in a report Monday it could not substantiate those claims.

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center did not return requests for comment.

Pittsburgh

The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System reported 26 disclosures in fiscal year 2013.

CBS reported earlier this year that the Pittsburgh VA failed to warn patients of a fatal Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. At least six veterans died and 16 fell ill from February 2011 to November 2012 as a result of the outbreak, while leadership tried to insulate the hospital from the Centers for Disease Control and congressional investigations.

A Pittsburgh VA official later falsely testified before Congress that the outbreak was the result of the city’s water treatment, when in fact the hospital had known for more than a year that it was caused by human error.

Augusta

The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., reported 14 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, and three cancer patients died as a result of delayed screenings over the past two years.

According to a 2012 report from the VA Inspector General’s Office, five patients died or sustained serious injury as a result of mismanagement between 2007 and 2010, and more than 4,500 gastrointestinal endoscopy consults went unresolved.

A recent VA audit reported that 26 new patients in Augusta had to wait at least 90 days for an appointment. Additionally, 133 veterans were not scheduled for an appointment despite requesting one in the past 10 years.

Since then, Augusta officials say they have reduced the number of veterans waiting at least 90 days for an appointment from 26 patients to two.

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson toured the center last week, as part of a national tour of VA facilities, and said much of the scheduling problems were due to staff shortages.

“It should not take so darn long to hire someone,” Gibson said. “We need to make sure we’re talking to staff more frequently and understanding their needs. The employees here truly care.”

There are currently four open federal investigations into whistleblower retaliation at the hospital.

Columbia

In Columbia, S.C., the William Jennings Bryan Dorn veterans hospital reported 13 serious mistakes in patient care during fiscal year 2013. There have been six total deaths since 1999 due to delayed cancer screenings, according to the VA report.

A February report by the VA Inspector General found the Dorn hospital faced staffing and equipment shortages that led to delays. The report also noted that Dorn ranked 127th out of 128 VA facilities in health care-associated infections during 2013.

In response, the Dorn VA hospital agreed said it was immediately taking steps to fix the problems.

The hospital reported four more “institutional disclosures” in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The Dorn VA hospital did not return requests for comment.

Wrongful death payments

Another measure of how patients are killed or gravely injured due to VA mistakes is wrongful death payments.

The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville has made more than $5 million in wrongful death payments in the years since 9/11, according to data from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Overall, the Department of Veterans Affairs has paid out more than $200 million in wrongful death payments since then. But it is also an incomplete look at the problem.

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, “independent legal analysts say the nearly 1,000 wrongful death payments in the decade after 9/11 represent a small percentage of the veterans who have died because of malpractice by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Eddie Creed, a Seattle-area jazz musician, died in 2012 at a VA facility after a medical device malfunctioned and emptied a lethal dose of morphine into his body. The medical device had been recalled a month earlier.

Creed’s death certificate said he was killed by throat cancer.

The VA refused to release the details of an internal investigation into the accident to Creed’s family until after local news outlet KUOW investigated the incident.

The VA Inspector General found that the Dorn VA hospital failed to peer-review numerous patient deaths – many of them shortly after surgeries – that met the criteria for review. The hospital has since gone back and reviewed those deaths.

The Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately return a request for comment for this article.

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‘They Said His Soul Was Gone': Wife’s Outrage After Unconscious Vet Was Pronounced DEAD At VA Hospital – Daily Mail

A woman in Kentucky is demanding answers from a local VA hospital after she claims her husband was erroneously pronounced dead.

According to Jennifer Dunn, doctors at the Lexington VA Hospital assured her last week that her husband, Danny Dunn, was no longer among the living.

The wife was given her husband’s time of death, but when she went into his room to bid a final farewell, she found Mr Dunn with a strong heart rate and blood pressure.

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It all started last Thursday morning when 46-year-old Danny Dunn, an U.S. Army veteran, was discovered unconscious by his wife in their Central Kentucky home.

The former soldier was rushed to a hospital in Harrodsburg and was later airlifted to the VA Hospital in Lexington, where medical personnel pronounced him dead.

‘I said, “Are ya’ll sure he’s gone?” and they said, “There’s no pulse, ma’am, he’s gone,”‘ Jennifer Dunn told LEX18.

In accordance with her husband’s end-of-life wishes, Mrs Dunn made the decision to take him off life support, but she quickly discovered that Danny still had vital signs.

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As of Monday, the 46-year-old veteran was very much alive, and according to his wife, apparently growing stronger.

‘He squeezed my hand when I asked him to,’ she said. ‘He opened his eyes when I asked him to. And he grabbed my hand.’

The Dunn family now want the ailing husband and father transferred to another hospital for treatment.

The VA facility in Lexington released a general statement to the local TV station, which read in part: ‘Veterans can have confidence that our staff of dedicated and professional providers is committed to working with them and their families to honor their wishes and support their needs.’

But the Dunns are far from satisfied with the hospital’s response to the near-fatal blunder.

‘They said his soul was gone and that he wasn’t living no more,’ said Dunn’s son, Tyler. ‘That he was gone long before we got him there… I mean we’re just looking for answers and they won’t give us any.’

This case is yet another black eye for the beleaguered VA system, which has faced public scrutiny in connection to explosive allegations of poor – and at times non-existent – medical care offered to servicemen and women.

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The VA’s inspector general has confirmed that at least 35 veterans died while awaiting appointments at the agency’s Phoenix medical center alone.

The resulting election-year firestorm forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in May. A half-dozen other VA officials have resigned or retired since then.

More than 8million of the nation’s 21million veterans are now enrolled in VA health care, although only about 6.5million seek VA treatment every year.

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Medicaid Made $14.4B In Improper Payments In 2013

Medicaid Made $14.4 Billion Improper Payments Last Year – Washington Free Beacon

The federal government paid out $14.4 billion in fraudulent reimbursements through Medicaid last year, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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………………………………….Medicare and Medicaid chief Marilyn Tavenner

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) highlighted a recent GAO report on the lack of oversight within Medicaid’s managed care organizations (MCOs) delivery system, which accounts for roughly $4 billion in waste each year.

“Today’s report is particularly troubling given Obamacare expands this broken program without substantial reforms to protect patients and taxpayers,” Hatch said in a statement Wednesday. “CMS is responsible for safeguarding the billions of dollars it receives from hard-working American taxpayers, and I strongly urge [CMS] Administrator [Marilyn] Tavenner to implement the changes recommended by GAO to improve CMS oversight of MCO payments.”

“This report underscores the need for Medicaid reform in order to ensure that scarce tax dollars are used properly,” he said.

Managed care organizations, in which Medicaid beneficiaries get the majority of their care through an organization under contract with their state, are especially vulnerable to fraud since neither federal nor state governments are “well positioned to identify improper payments,” the GAO said.

“The size and diversity of the Medicaid program make it particularly vulnerable to improper payments – including payments made for treatments or services that were not covered by program rules, that were not medically necessary, or that were billed for but never provided,” the report said.

Nearly 50 million people currently receive benefits through MCOs. While MCO payments are still overshadowed by fee-for-service payments (FFS) – the traditional method where health care providers are paid for each service – individuals receiving their care through MCOs are “growing at a faster rate.”

State officials told the GAO that they have “not begun to closely examine program integrity in Medicaid managed care.” While the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) requires states to audit their payments according to their MCO contracts, states are not required to audit the “appropriateness of these payments.”

The GAO warned that the problem would worsen under Obamacare, which has expanded Medicaid programs in many states.

“Improving federal and state efforts to strengthen Medicaid managed care program integrity takes on greater urgency as states that choose to expand their Medicaid programs under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are likely to do so with managed care arrangements, and will receive a 100 percent federal match for newly eligible individuals from 2014 through 2016,” the report said.

“Unless CMS takes a larger role in holding states accountable, and provides guidance and support to states to ensure adequate program integrity efforts in Medicaid managed care, the gap between state and federal efforts to monitor managed care program integrity will leave a growing portion of federal Medicaid dollars vulnerable to improper payments,” it said.

Overall, Medicaid covered 71.7 million Americans in fiscal year 2013, totaling $431.1 billion, an estimated $14.4 billion of which were improper payments.

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Over 36,000 Criminal Illegals Convicted Of Everything From Rape To Murder Were Released In 2013

Murderers, Rapists, Kidnappers: Over 36,000 Criminal Illegal Immigrants Released In 2013 – Daily Caller

Nearly 200 murderers, over 400 rapists, and 300 kidnappers in the U.S. illegally were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while awaiting deportation proceedings, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

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A total of 36,007 criminal illegal immigrants that were being processed for deportation were freed in 2013. Together, they committed nearly 88,000 crimes, according to the report, published Monday.

“I was astonished at not only the huge number of convicted criminals who were freed from ICE custody last year – an average of almost 100 a day – but also at the large number of very serious crimes they had committed,” said Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, in a statement.

ICE gathered the statistics – which include a breakdown by crime – in response to congressional inquiry following another report released earlier this year by the Center of Immigration Studies.

That report, which was based on internal Department of Homeland Security documents, showed that ICE encountered over 193,000 illegal immigrant convicts. Charging documents were issued for 125,000, and nearly 68,000 were released.

That review also found that 870,000 illegal immigrants had been removed from ICE dockets despite being in defiance of the law. The number of illegal aliens targeted for deportation fell 28 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to the documents.

The 36,007 illegal immigrants reported Monday were freed by ICE during the final disposition of their cases. The 68,000 from the previous report were criminals who encountered ICE agents – often in jails – but were released without undergoing deportation proceedings.

The 36,007 were released by bond, parole, unsupervised release, or on their own recognizance.

Besides violent criminals, ICE released nearly 16,000 illegal immigrants convicted of driving under the influence. The report also shows that ICE released nearly 2,700 illegal immigrants convicted of assault, 1,300 convicted for domestic violence, and nearly 1,300 convicted for battery.

“These figures call into question President Obama’s request to Congress for permission to reduce immigration detention capacity by 10 percent in favor of permission to make wider use of experimental alternatives to detention,” reads the report.

In June 2011, the administration began applying “prosecutorial discretion” to many deportation cases. This has led to a 40 percent decrease in the number of deportations.

“Congress should resist further action on immigration reform until the public can be assured that enforcement is more robust and that ICE can better deal with its criminal alien caseload without setting them free in our communities,” said Vaughan in a statement.

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Terrorist Attacks Surged 43% Between 2012 And 2013, Just As Obama Was Declaring Al-Qaeda Decimated

State Department Says Al-Qaeda Terror Attacks Surged 40% Between 2012 And 2013 – Weasel Zippers

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Apparently they are not on the “path to defeat,” who knew?

WASHINGTON (AP) – A surge in the number of aggressive al-Qaida affiliates and like-minded groups the Middle East and North Africa poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and allies, the State Department said Wednesday in reporting a more than 40 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide between 2012 and 2013.

The department also singled out Iran as a major state sponsor of terrorism that continues to defy demands it prove its atomic ambitions are peaceful even as Washington pursues negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

In its annual global terrorism report, the department said that losses in al-Qaida’s core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan “accelerated” the network’s decentralization in 2013. That has resulted in more autonomous and more aggressive affiliates, notably in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, northwest Africa, and Somalia, it said.

“The terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2013, with an increasing number of groups around the world – including both AQ affiliates and other terrorist organizations – posing a threat to the United States, our allies, and our interests,” according to the strategic assessment of the “Country Reports on Terrorism.”

The report identified a 43 percent increase in the number of terrorist attacks in 2013 from 2012, according to statistics provided by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

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FLASHBACK November 1, 2012: Obama Has Touted Al Qaeda’s Demise 32 Times Since Benghazi Attack – CNS

President Barack Obama has described al Qaeda as having been “decimated,” “on the path to defeat” or some other variation at least 32 times since the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to White House transcripts.

This comes despite Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief, members of Congress, an administration spokesperson, and several press reports suggesting that al Qaeda played a role in the attack.

Recently, on Nov. 1 in Green Bay, Wis., Obama said, “Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.

Fox News reported Monday about an Aug. 15 emergency meeting of personnel at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi over concerns of al Qaeda training camps in the area.

An Aug. 16 cable from Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed on Sept. 11, was sent to the Office of the Secretary of State and briefed on the emergency meeting, saying, “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi… these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia to Takfirist thugs,” Fox News reported the communication as saying.

One day after the Benghazi attack that occurred on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Obama spoke at a campaign event in Las Vegas on Sept. 12.

“A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead,” Obama said in Las Vegas.

On Sept. 13 in Golden, Colo., Obama said, “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq — and we did. I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan – and we are. And while a new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” He repeated that line again on Sept. 17 in Cincinnati and again that day in Columbus, Ohio.

The next day at a fundraising event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, Obama brought up the first 9/11 and used “decimated,” indicating past tense.

“We’ve got choices about war and peace,” Obama said. “I ended the war in Iraq, as I promised. We are transitioning out of Afghanistan. We have gone after the terrorists who actually attacked us 9/11 and decimated al Qaeda.”

On Sept. 20, speaking at the University of Miami, Obama said, “We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan, but in Yemen, in Libya, in other of these places – increasingly in places like Syria – what you see is these elements that don’t have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we’ve got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.”

On Sept. 21 in Woodbridge, Va. and Sept. 23 in Milwaukee, Obama again said, “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.”

Off the campaign trail on Sept. 25, Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and said, “Al Qaeda has been weakened, and Osama bin Laden is no more.”

The next day, campaigning in Bowling Green, Ohio, Obama again said, “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” That same day at Kent State University, Obama used the same line. Obama said the same thing on Sept. 27 in Virginia Beach, Va.

On Sept. 28 at the Hilton in Washington, Obama said, “We said that we would go after al Qaeda, and they are on the run and bin Laden is dead.”

Obama went back to saying the terrorist organization was on the “path to defeat” on Sept. 30 in Las Vegas, Oct. 4 in Denver and Oct. 4 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

On Oct. 5, Obama again said, “al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is no more.”

At a fundraising event Oct. 9 in San Francisco, Obama said, “and today, al Qaeda is on its heels and Osama bin Laden is no more.” He made the same statement on Oct. 11 at the University of Miami and later that day at a campaign event at the J.W. Marriott in Miami.

On Oct. 18 in Manchester, N.H., Obama returned to the “path to defeat” line, which he repeated Oct. 19 in Fairfax, Va.

Obama said Oct. 23 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., “al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.” He repeated the same line at a campaign event in Delray Beach, Fla. that day.

That day in Dayton, Ohio, Obama said, “That’s why, working with Joe Biden and our national security team, we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda.”

By Oct. 24, he returned to the dominant “path to defeat” theme, before going back to “decimated” the next day in Cleveland, where the president said, “I said we’d refocus on the terrorists who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks – and al Qaeda is decimated and Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Obama returned to Las Vegas to again say “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” He said the same thing Oct. 25 in Richmond, Va., again that day in Tampa and on Oct. 27 in Nashua, N.H.

But officials from the United States and Libya have suggested they believe al Qaeda was involved in the deadly Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Stevens.

During a Sept. 16 interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer asked Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief, “And you believe that this was the work of al Qaeda and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is that – is that what you are telling us?”

Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief responded, “It was planned – definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who – who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their – since their arrival.”

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, said on Sept. 28, “It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

A Congressional Research Service Report on Oct. 18, said, “Libyan General National Congress President Mohammed Yusuf al Magariaf has linked Al Qaeda to the attacks in interviews and stated his view that the attacks were planned to correspond with September 11 and avenge Al Libi’s death. Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate-Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)-released a statement praising the September 11, 2012 attack, but did not claim credit for planning or helping to execute it.”

In the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, “One program would support the creation of Libyan Special Operations Forces ‘to conduct special operations missions, including counterterrorism operations to fight Al Qaeda and its affiliates,’” the CRS report said. The Obama administration budget was defeated in both the House and Senate earlier this year.

Several members of Congress have cited al Qaeda’s involvement with the attack.

A letter from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) to President Obama on Sept. 25, said, “Furthermore, last May an al Qaeda affiliated terror cell, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross office in Benghazi.”

On Oct. 11, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“According to public reports, in the hours following the attack, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored communications from jihadists affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia and members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group’s North African affiliate,” King wrote. “The intercepts reportedly indicated Ansar al Sharia jihadists conspired with AQIM in the attack and acted as subordinates to mid-level AQIM members during the operation.”

House Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ilema Ros-Lehtinen (R- Fla.) wrote an Oct. 15 letter to Clinton.

“Moreover, it remains problematic that the security concerns of diplomats in the field may go unheeded by the State Department. Recent news reports indicate that Ambassador Christopher Stevens had expressed concern about security threats in Benghazi as attacks on Western targets increased and his name along with those of certain Western European ambassadors, appeared on an al Qaeda hit list,” Ros-Lehtinen wrote.

A Sept. 27 Washington Post story headlined, “Attack on U.S. Consulate in Libya determined to be terrorism tied to al Qaeda,” quoted an unnamed U.S. intelligence official saying, “There are people who at least have some association with AQIM,” but added, “It’s not so direct that you would say AQIM as an organization planned and carried this out.”

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Obama Regime Released 68,000 Convicted Criminal Aliens In 2013

Report: Obama Administration Released 68,000 Convicted Criminal Aliens Last Year – Daily Caller

The Obama administration is threatening public safety by deliberately hampering immigration law and releasing aliens with criminal records, according to a new review of internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.

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A Center for Immigration study to be released Monday and obtained in advance by The Daily Caller, found that last year ICE reported nearly 722,000 encounters with illegal or criminal immigrants. But ICE officers filed immigration charges against less than 195,000 aliens.

“According to ICE personnel, the vast gap between the number of encounters reported and the number of aliens put on the path to removal exists because officers are not permitted to file charges against aliens who do not fall into the administration’s narrowly defined criteria for enforcement, regardless of the criminal charges or the circumstances in which the alien was identified,” the report, authored by CIS director of policy studies Jessica Vaughan, reads.

Since June 2011, when the first of the Obama administration’s “prosecutorial discretion” policies were put in place, the report adds, interior ICE arrests have declined by 40 percent.

“The Obama administration and anti-enforcement activist groups have tried to portray the number of departures as ‘record-breaking’ and indicative of robust immigration enforcement. They have tried to support this claim by showing that the number of departures credited to ICE is higher than ever before,” the report reads. “However, an independent analysis of ICE records obtained in a lawsuit showed that ICE was able to achieve these ‘record’ departures only because the agency was taking credit for removing a large number of individuals who were apprehended by the Border Patrol. Such cases made up the majority of ICE’s reported deportations in 2013, but they had never been counted that way in previous administrations.”

Indeed, as the review highlights, many aliens with criminal convictions have simply been released.

In 2013 some 68,000 criminal aliens were released – or 35 percent of all criminal aliens ICE reported encountering, according to the report. ICE field offices with the highest rates of criminal releases were San Antonio (79 percent), New York City (71 percent), Washington, D.C. area (64 percent), and Newark, N.J (60 percent).

“These figures suggest that despite claims of a focus on public safety, the administration’s prosecutorial discretion criteria are allowing factors such as family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups to trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation,” the report reads.

The data is sure to further frustrate critics of the Obama administration’s immigration policies that much more.

Including Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions who says the “[Department of Homeland Security] is a department in crisis” and is calling on DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson to “reject the President’s demands to weaken enforcement further and tell him that his duty, and his officers’ duty, is to enforce the law – not break it.”

“As Homeland Secretary, Mr. Johnson is tasked with ensuring the public safety and the rule of law. But Secretary Johnson is not meeting these duties,” Sessions said statement to TheDC. “American citizens have a legal and moral right to the protections our immigration laws afford – at the border, the interior and the workplace. The administration has stripped these protections and adopted a government policy that encourages new arrivals to enter illegally or overstay visas by advertising immunity from future enforcement.”

“Comments from top Administration officials, such as Attorney General Holder’s claim that amnesty is a civil right, or Vice President Biden’s claim that those here illegally are all U.S. citizens (apparently including someone whose visa expired yesterday), demonstrate the administration’s increasing belief in an open borders policy the American public has always rejected,” he added.

According to Vaughan, Congress should initiate an official look into the impact of the administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies.

“The Obama administration’s deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities,” she said.

To Sessions, however, it is Republicans who must work to hold the administration accountable for its rejection of the law.

“The Administration’s lawless policies have not only impaired public safety but increased economic suffering for millions of vulnerable Americans by depriving them of their jobs and wages,” he said. “Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats continue to empower this lawlessness. Republicans must work to end it.”

Other key findings in the review include:

* In 2013, ICE charged only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.

* ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.

* ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.

* Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity.

* ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.

* Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.

* Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013. About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.

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Check Out Senator Lee’s Picture Of The 80,000+ Pages Of Obama Regime Regulations Issued In 2013

Pic: The 80,000+ Pages Of Regulations Issued By The Obama Regime In 2013 – Weasel Zippers

That tiny stack on top are the laws passed by Congress during the same time period.

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Via Senator Mike Lee:

Behold my display of the 2013 Federal Register. It contains over 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, and notices all written and passed by unelected bureaucrats. The small stack of papers on top of the display are the laws passed by elected members of Congress and signed into law by the president.

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