Amnesty by Insufficient Funds

Posted on August 9, 2010

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This article from the Washington Times just goes to show those who have any doubt that our federal government does really not want to limit illegal immigration.  I grow weary of the number of instances as proof, but will submit yet another piece of evidence: 

New guidance telling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to focus on apprehending terrorists and criminals has many of ICE’s rank-and-file agents wondering who then is responsible for tracking down and detaining the millions of other illegal border-crossers and fugitive aliens now in the country.

The new guidelines are outlined in a June 29 memo from Assistant Secretary John Morton, who heads the agency, to all ICE employees regarding the apprehension, detention and removal of illegal immigrants, noting that the agency “only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal-alien population in the United States.” (emphasis mine)

Mr. Morton said ICE needed to focus wisely on the limited resources Congress had provided the agency and would “prioritize the apprehension and removal of aliens who only pose a threat to national security and/or public safety, such as criminals and terrorists.” (emphasis)

My point is the same argument Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes when discussing illegal immigrants.  If the federal government is so limited in its resources, but still wanted the job done, they would be BEGGING the states (such as Arizona) to help with the enforcement of immigration law.  Instead, our government has chosen to sue the state for trying to pitch in and assist.

Which illegal immigrants will ICE focus on?  The priorities are as follows:

Listed as the agency’s top priority, according to the memo, are illegal immigrants who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety; those convicted of violent crimes, both felons and repeat offenders; those older than 16 who participated in organized criminal gangs; and those with outstanding criminal warrants.

Described in the memo as lesser priorities are foreign nationals caught crossing the border illegally or using phony immigration documents to gain entry, and those identified as fugitives after failing to show up for immigration or deportation hearings.

One high-ranking ICE official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the memo publicly, said agents at a major field office who inquired were told, “Arresting and deporting aliens was administrative work, and that as ICE criminal investigators, they were not going to do administrative duties.”

According to the official, the agents were told that ICE criminal investigators would be involved only in high-profile drug and terrorism cases that involved the seizure of assets, and no longer would process illegal immigrants otherwise detained.

Which illegal will be given a pass? The June 29 memo details:

The Morton memo also said that while detention resources should be used to support “enforcement priorities,” that absent “extraordinary circumstances” ICE agents should not spend resources apprehending, detaining or removing illegal immigrants with serious physical or mental illnesses; those who are disabled, elderly, pregnant or nursing; those who are primary caretakers of children or infirm persons; or those whose detention is “otherwise not in the public interest.”

“Otherwise not in the public interest?”  That’s sufficiently vague and conveniently non-defined. 

Lastly, the Obama administration is aiming to make the immigration deportation system a kinder and gentler one:

Recognizing that the “purpose of immigration detention is not punitive and the importance of providing our detainees with quality care,” ICE has said it has taken “concrete steps to improve the immigration-detention system and is engaged in a serious and sustained effort that will result in additional reforms and actions in the near future.”

In January, ICE reduced the number of its detention facilities from 341 to 270 and ended outside contracts at 10 other sites. (emphasis mine)

In March, Mr. Morton told the Senate Appropriations Committee that he intended to “change the jail-oriented approach of our current detention system, and am in the process of redesigning the system so it meets our needs as an agency that detains people for civil, not penal, purposes.”

So it appears it will the “same old” when it comes to illegal immigration.  Once you make it in to the country, and if you keep your head down, you’re home free.  It does not matter that it is costing the states billions, which they do not have, to treat illegal immigrants in the hospital systems, educate illegal immigrant children and foot the bill for incarceration of illegals who commit crimes not deemed serious enough for ICE to take an interest in.  We, fellow citizens, are looking across the great divide between the political elite who will use any excuse to not enforce immigration law,  and those who thought, as a nation, that our laws actually stood for something.  Apparently, they don’t.