By Joe Guzzardi
April 2, 2014
Since the Department of Homeland Security first introduced the immigration policy that’s known as prosecutorial discretion, enforcement has collapsed. Starting in June 2011, a series of internal memos written by former Immigration and Customs Enforcement director John Morton have gradually gutted enforcement.
Unless aliens are convicted of a capital crime like murder, terrorism or treason, they are virtually certain to be granted discretion and will be allowed to stay in the U.S. Crimes like DUIs, bank fraud or even vehicular manslaughter ICE now classifies as not presenting a serious risk to public safety and are purposely excluded as cause for deportation.
Worse, during the three years since the first Morton directive, the bar has continuously been pushed further away from enforcement and toward an administrative amnesty for about 12 million aliens, a goal that President Obama and the Hispanic lobby have long pursued. What ICE originally announced would be a revision of deportation practice to focus on criminals and deferred action on so called longtime, otherwise law abiding residents has been watered down to a point where not only don’t minor crimes qualify for deportation, criminals caught by DHS and jailed have been released instead of deported.
According to the non-partisan, non-profit Center for Immigration Studies, last year DHS set free into the general population 68,000 convicted aliens who should have been deported. Worse, they’ve been released without formal notice sent to local law enforcement agencies or to the victims. CIS found that in 2013, ICE targeted only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of the 722,000 potentially deportable aliens the agency found. Most came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
Sanctuary cities head the list. San Antonio’s 79 percent release factor is the highest, followed by New York’s 71 percent and then Washington, D.C. 64 percent. Others cities include Salt Lake City, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Newark, and Buffalo. Many are not border cities which indicates that interior enforcement or visa overstays are as much a problem as the porous border.
Last month Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the few in Congress who is working to expose non-enforcement, issued his own findings that included a shocking statistic: only .08 percent of the aliens deported in 2013 were not serial immigration law violators or convicted of serious crimes. Those who do not meet the administration’s limited priorities for deportation are free to illegally work in the U.S and, potentially, to receive taxpayer funded benefits, regardless of whether immigration enforcement finds them.
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar said CIS and Session’s findings raise grave constitutional law questions. Gosar noted that President Obama’s most important role is defined in the Constitution’s Article II, Section 3, which states that the President “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” As the first step to restore the rule of law, Gosar recommends holding Attorney General Eric Holder accountable.
In the White House’s opinion, illegal immigration itself is no longer a crime. Special interests, specifically Hispanic activists, have trumped the legal and moral right to protections immigration laws afford, at the border, the interior and the work place.
By stripping these protections and replacing them with an open borders policy that encourages more illegal immigration or visa overstaying, the administration guarantees to future aliens immunity from deportation, the consequences of which Americans overwhelmingly oppose.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]