Immigration Enforcement in State of Collapse

Published on March 17th, 2015

“There can be no doubt that immigration enforcement is in a state of collapse.” So said Jessica Vaughan, an analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, in her opening remarks of testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During the course of her testimony, Vaughan outlined how the Obama Administration has caused that collapse. “This state of affairs,” she said, “can be traced directly to policy changes brought about by the Obama Administration.”

These changes have gone on for years, but have become “particularly acute,” in Vaughan’s words, since November when President Obama proclaimed his edict offering legal status and work permits to 5 million illegal aliens while setting forth new restrictions on immigration law enforcement.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, claims that illegal border crossings are at “the lowest level in years,” but the department’s own statistics show that apprehensions of illegal aliens by the Border Patrol have increased in recent years. Apprehensions are generally the basis for estimating the level of illegal immigration across the border. Specifically, since 2011, apprehensions have risen 43 percent, from 340,000 to 487,000. Instead of being sent home though, said Vaughan, the department is allowing a large number of these new arrivals to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.

Homeland Security Police SUV
DHS agents have been reduced to glorified traffic cops under President Obama.

As for interior enforcement, she notes that deportations from the interior conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have declined 58 percent since 2009, from 236,000 to 102,000. Significantly, in 2010 the union representing ICE employees issued a statement of “no confidence” in leadership of ICE, as it implemented the policies of the Obama Administration. The statement charged that ICE administrators had “abandoned the agency’s core mission of enforcing United States immigration laws and providing for public safety, and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for policies and programs related to amnesty.”

The administration claimed that, with limited resources to carry out deportations, it had to practice “prosecutorial discretion” and set priorities of enforcement, specifically focusing on illegal aliens with serious criminal histories. These priorities, as Vaughan related, have placed most illegal aliens off-limits to enforcement, while hamstringing ICE with burdensome guidelines to follow. This outcome, according to Vaughan, “suggests that the president’s executive actions were less about prioritizing cases to make the best use of scarce resources and more about protecting illegal aliens.”

Interestingly, as the Obama Administration has claimed it lacks the means to conduct thorough enforcement, its spurns assistance offered by state governments. Examples include its lawsuits against states that passed laws to aid federal enforcement. Another case in point, cited by Vaughan, has been its unrelenting effort to diminish the 287 (g) program, which allows local law enforcement agencies to volunteer their services to ICE. The administration has sharply cut back the number of participating agencies and has refused to let new ones apply.

Once again, the supposed purpose of the administration’s policies is to focus on deportation of foreign criminals. Most telling, however, is the fact that deportations of these illegal aliens have not increased, but have significantly declined. Since 2012, these removals have dropped 43 percent from 153,000 to 87,000.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) agrees with Vaughan’s suspicion that the administration is consciously undermining immigration law, and he has compiled a long list of specific actions it has taken toward that end. The Obama Administration, said Sessions, “[has] systematically dismantled immigration enforcement, undermining the very rule of law upon which our nation was founded and upon which its greatness depends.”

With the truth about Obama’s agenda on immigration so impossible to deny, one key and crucial question emerges: What – if anything – will the American people do about it?

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