If hypocrisy were an Olympic event, President Obama and key members of his administration would be leading contenders for gold medals. Their athletic duplicity shines most clearly on the field of immigration policy. Most outstanding among their exertions, noted by Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, was their race to trample the Secure Communities program.
To appreciate this feat of two-facing, it is necessary to review some recent history. From its beginning, the administration has systematically refrained from trying to arrest and deport most illegal aliens living in the United States. Its excuse is that it lacks the resources to go after them all – so therefore it must focus on those with criminal backgrounds who pose a threat to public safety.
But the truth of the matter is that the administration lacks resources for enforcement primarily because it wants to lack them. A few years ago a number of states passed laws to enable them to assist federal immigration law enforcement. These states carefully crafted these laws to be consistent with federal law. Did the supposedly resource-short administration welcome their offer of help? Not at all. In fact, it sued the states to prevent their assistance, claiming that they were trying to usurp federal authority to deal with immigration.
According to the administration, federal law (at least as it interpreted that law) is supreme and sacrosanct. Well, at least most of the time. This now brings us to Secure Communities, a federal program to help remove criminal aliens from the U.S. It works like this: when a local jurisdiction arrests a suspect it is supposed to send that person’s fingerprints to federal agencies to determine his criminal history and legal status. Then if ICE determines that the subject is an illegal alien with an additional criminal history, it can ask that jurisdiction to detain him for up to 48 house after his scheduled release date, so ICE can pick him up and begin deportation proceedings.
One would think that this is the kind of program that the administration could wholeheartedly support, given its commitment to deporting people who commit crimes in addition to breaking immigration laws. Well, think again. A number of cities and states where politicians favor illegal aliens have refused to cooperate with Secure Communities. They have ignored ICE and simply let the illegal aliens go free. By making their jurisdictions de facto sanctuaries for illegal aliens they are blatantly violating federal law.
So what did the administration do about it? Let’s let Heather Mac Donald tell the story. “If ever there were a lawless usurpation of the federal government’s power over immigration,” she observed, “the open revolt against Secure Communities is it. Yet the Obama Administration, rather than hauling these recalcitrant jurisdictions into court, has lain supine and chastely looked the other way. And last year, it threw in the towel completely. It dismantled the Secure Communities program except in a few narrow instances, agreeing with [critics of the program] that it was unfair to worry illegal alien criminals about deportation.”
Thus the administration speaks with a forked tongue when it professes to focus on criminal aliens. Significantly, it often fails to deport them even after having them in its custody. Since Obama became president, his administration has released a total of 195,000 criminal aliens from custody into communities across the U.S. Many of them, notes Judicial Watch, were convicted of such crimes as “homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.”
The administration, despite what it says, doesn’t care about the jurisdictions of law or setting effective priorities of enforcement against criminal aliens. As with all hypocrites, Olympian and small, the administration actions reveal its true character far more than its words.