By Joe Guzzardi
February 17, 2016
Presidential candidates pledging to secure the borders better make that promise their number one priority. According to National Border
Patrol Council president Brandon Judd’s testimony to the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, the Obama administration has told Customs and Border Protection agents to release illegal immigrants without issuing them a notice to appear (NTA) at deportation hearings. The only exemptions might be for aliens with a prior felony arrest conviction. The stand down order also requires that the agents make no follow up effort to track the aliens or to discover their whereabouts after they’re released.
The Department of Homeland Security’s free pass to illegal immigrants who violate federal immigration statutes without consequences led Judd to conclude that: “We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether.” Judd also said that “embarrassment” motivated the administration to release the aliens. Only about half of those ordered to appear in court actually show up.
Not surprisingly, the new White House dictum has prompted thousands of illegal immigrants, including MS-13 and 18th Street criminals and gang members, to pour across the southern border. The ease with which the alien criminal element can slip into the mainstream U. S. cannot be overstated. Recently in Boston, local police arrested 56 MS-13 gang members, many of whom arrived from Central America during the two-year unaccompanied minor surge. Some have been linked to teen murders in an initiation rite, trying to prove themselves worthy of full gang membership. A prominent Massachusetts Hispanic advocate said that Hispanic teens are dropping out of high school fearful that they may become a MS-13 target.
DHS’s new orders represent a deterioration of the existing “catch and release” policy that has long been the bane of the enforcement-minded. Pursuant to a 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo, local law enforcement agencies may only hold an individual for a period not to exceed 48 hours excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The memo also advises detainees that if ICE doesn’t take them into custody within 48 hours, they should contact the local law enforcement agency that’s holding them to press for their release. Detainers are only valid upon an individual's conviction for the offense for which he or she was arrested.
But even aliens convicted and ordered deported have ignored ICE. As of 2014, approximately 179,000 such aliens remain in the U.S. Going back even further to the beginning of the Obama administration, ICE data shows that an annual average of 4,000 dangerous criminal aliens have been released. Shockingly, a DHS inspector general’s office audit found that one in eight of the released criminals have somehow received food stamps and Medicare.
A former Miami immigration court judge said that non-enforcement is more than a security risk; it’s a huge taxpayer burden. Between 1990 and 2011, immigration court budgets increased 823 percent with taxpayers footing the entire bill. On the other hand, aliens’ filing fees are the same as they were in 1990.
Obama has ten months left in his second term—plenty of time to further gut what little remains of immigration enforcement. The responsibility to restore order and salvage American sovereignty will fall to the next president. Candidates who have campaigned on enforcing immigration laws must, if elected, fulfill their promises.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]