The mayor of South Bend, Indiana and presidential candidate, Pete Bettigieg is alleged to have covered up a residence card system intended for illegal immigrants by Judicial Watch according to a lawsuit. In going beyond sanctuary city policies, South Bend, Indiana partnered with a non-profit to create residence cards for illegal aliens. According to Judicial Watch, South Bend is in violation of freedom of information act type laws with the cover-up of emails pertaining to the residence card program. Tom Fitton appeared confident that Judicial Watch is on the verge of a much bigger story than it appears, in a tweet on Wednesday night.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) August 8, 2019
The suit, filed this week in St. Joseph Circuit Court by Judicial Watch, details four denied records requests that the organization filed with the city. The requests sought emails exchanged between various city officials and La Casa de Amistad, the nonprofit Latino advocacy group that issues the cards.
La Casa in December 2016 began issuing the community resident card, branded as “SB ID,” to undocumented immigrants to help them conduct routine daily activities, such as picking up children from school or day care, providing identification to police, obtaining college transcripts, library cards and prescriptions, and clearing background checks needed to volunteer at schools.
More than two years later, 2,153 people have the South Bend card, and 1,035 people carry a Goshen ID card, also issued by La Casa, said Sam Centellas, La Casa’s executive director.
The suit alleges that the group requested emails and records related to the program’s policies but makes no mention of seeking the identities of cardholders. The group’s South Bend attorney, Andrew B. Jones, deferred comment to Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, who attempted to return The Tribune’s call seeking comment but did not return a subsequent message.
Buttigieg in 2016 signed an executive order requiring city departments, such as police, fire and parks, to recognize the ID. His spokesman, Mark Bode, said no one from the city administration would be interviewed by The Tribune about the lawsuit.
I can’t help but be skeptical that this lawsuit will uncover damning illegality on part of Pete Buttigieg and his mayoral administration. Judicial Watch is fighting on a front that has a limited scope, but favorable ground that media companies have oft won on. That not only gives this lawsuit legal legs to stand on but also renders this an issue of transparency rather than illegal immigration per se.
It’s a smart strategy to uncover what could be a, to employ an overused word, bombshell. One cannot ignore the chance of Pete Buttigieg having acted outside the law, but the presumption of innocence and lack of evidence thus far prevent us from reasonably making these claims. Nonetheless, it’s a clever lawsuit by Judicial Watch.
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