The Department of Homeland Security announced last week the appointment of two former employees of think tanks that advocate for reduced immigration.
This comes as a departure from a department that was staffed in the Obama era by several officials closely involved with organizations which advocate for amnesty.
Jon Feere and Julie Kirchner joined Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection as advisers, respectively.
Feere is a former policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for reduced immigration, and is now an adviser to Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
While Julie Kirchner, the former director of another anti-illegal immigration group the Federation for American Immigration Reform, is advising Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
The response to these hires was outrage from liberal advocacy groups. Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, said, “We take these designations very seriously, and CIS and FAIR are far-right fringe groups that regularly publish racist, xenophobic material and spread misinformation about immigrants and immigration.”
Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice, said that the groups have worked for 20 years to “hurt immigrants and now they’ve been given the keys to the kingdom.”
Emails obtained by the Immigration Reform Law Institute and provided to The Daily Caller Wednesday, however, reveal the extent to which the open-borders community had the “keys to the kingdom” in the Obama administration.
In one January 2015 email exchange, Marina Torres, the-then counselor to the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told United We Dream that she looks “forward to strengthening our collaboration” and for them to “consider us a resource here at USCIS.”
United We Dream seeks to stop the deportations of illegal immigrant youth and has received funding from liberal mega-donor George Soros.
In another email, former USCIS chief of staff Juliet Choi told Lorella Praeli, the director of United We Dream, “we very much appreciate your partnership, especially during these dynamic times.”
The emails also show that Lucas Guttentag, a former senior counselor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, donated to the National Immigration Forum while in office. The group promotes providing legal status to the millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S.
There are multiple instances in the emails showing Guttentag’s tight relationship with groups averse to immigration enforcement. One organization reached out to him directly for assistance with an illegal immigrant who was denied amnesty, and Guttentag tried to get Randy Capps from the Migration Policy Institute employed with the Department of Justice.
After the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals maintained an injunction against DAPA, one of President’s Obama executive amnesties, Guttentag told Charles Kamasaki, a senior adviser for the National Council of La Raza, that they should grab a “stiff drink.”
Outside of direct contact and assistance with these open borders groups, several appointments to DHS under Obama had a liberal past.
Esther Olvarria served as a senior counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson from 2014 to 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a senior adviser for the UN Refugee Agency. In one email, she agreed to meet with La Raza’s Kamasaki to discuss a “possible idea” about legal status.
Obama also appointed David Shahoulian to the DHS. Shahoulian was picked to serve as deputy general counsel, after working as the Democratic Party’s chief counsel on the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
Another liberal to join DHS was Ur Mendoza Jaddou. She served as chief counsel of USCIS and was previously senior counsel for Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren.
Maria Odom was also part of the Obama administration. She is the former executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and was DHS’ ombudsman. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network works diligently to protect illegal immigrants from deportation.
DHS did not confirm to TheDC by time of publication whether all of these individuals are still employed by the federal government. A source involved with the immigration movement said that Marc Rosenblum is still with the DHS as a “top career official.”
Rosenblum was previously deputy director of the Migration Policy Institute. There he called for America to become a “nation of nations.”