By Joe Guzzardi
July 2, 2012
An important immigration policy change that encourages more illegal entry got buried in the recent news. Because of the media attention given to President Obama’s executive order that removes young aliens from deportation and the brouhaha surrounding the Supreme Court’s Arizona S.B. 1070 decision, the Department of Homeland Security’s revised catch and release program received scant attention.
A secret memo drafted last month by the Customs and Border Protection Agency will allow agents to release so called “low priority” aliens instead of bringing them in for processing and detention.
The low priority guidelines have not been defined. When I spoke to a retired agent to see if I could learn more, he speculated that it was unlikely that any scenario would deny a lawbreaking alien.
In addition Customs and Immigration Enforcement chief John Morton, with the blessing of his superiors DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and Obama, announced that effective at the earliest possible moment, ICE will no longer send aliens to Austin’s T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a 512-bed former state prison. Of the 127 remaining detainees at Hutto, some will be transported to a more comfortable Pennsylvania nursing home. Morton is fulfilling a promise he made three years ago to hold noncriminal aliens in less prison like surroundings where they would have access to pro bono legal counsel, medical care and grievance proceedings.
According to Morton: “This is not about whether or not we detain people, it’s how we detain them.” Like every other statement the Obama administration makes about immigration, Morton’s is a bold faced lie. The goal is to hold as few aliens as possible. Of those transferred from Hutto to the nursing facility, many will be considered for programs like home monitoring that don’t require confinement.
In other words, assuming the virtual certainty of lax ICE oversight, they’ll be free to enter society. The administration’s solution to illegal immigration is not to incarcerate them but instead to release them.
Around the globe, news of benevolent, alien-forgiving White House attitudes toward illegal entry spreads fast. Obama’s goal to invite the world and grant prosecutorial discretion upon arrival is a message that everyone who yearns to come to America embraces. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, that’s a problem.
Here’s how a would be illegal immigrant might interpret federal immigration laws. Get into the United States. If you’re one of unfortunate few apprehended, answer innocently to any question an agent may ask so that you can be released. Sooner rather than later, you’ll officially be declared “low priority” and given work authorization. Find a job. Enroll your children in school. Eventually, a full blown amnesty will roll around. Then, you’ll hit the jackpot. You’ll be an American citizen.
Last week, another suppressed story dateline Jerusalem showed how a country serious about immigration enforcement acts. Israel issued an ultimatum to 2,000 Ivorian illegal immigrants to leave voluntarily within two weeks. Those who comply will receive a stipend; those who do not will be arrested.
Israeli humanitarian organizations, like their American counterparts, expressed outrage at Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s directive. In the end, however, the only thing a sovereign nation owes to an illegal immigrant is to treat him humanely while he’s being deported.
Obama’s self serving immigration objectives put his reelection agenda ahead of the interests of citizens and legal immigrants who followed the rules. In the short term, open borders and its alleged appeal to Hispanic voters may help Obama recapture the White House. But over the long term, random, liberalized immigration where virtually everyone qualifies hurts Americans.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]