I just read an article where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union representatives were complaining that the immigration laws are not being enforced. Yesterday, I read an article where Republicans were complaining that the immigration laws are not being enforced. If you read the news, you would think that no one is being deported. This is far from the truth.
The sad reality is that more people have been deported under President Obama than any other president. More non-citizens are being held in immigration detention centers than ever before. More is being done to protect the border than ever before.
President Obama does not want the immigration laws not to be enforced. He wants to prioritize enforcement. We have an estimated 12-14 million undocumented aliens in the United States. Additionally, there is an unknown number of residents that have been convicted of crimes that they can be deported for. The ICE is only capable of deporting about 400,000 people per year. President Obama wants to focus on deporting the bad people (i.e., criminals and dangers to national security).
Hunting down criminal aliens and individuals who are a danger to national security, should be the goal of the ICE union representatives. However, based upon the statements being made, they would prefer to go after high school valedictorians that are undocumented. The reality is that it takes more man power and hours to go after the dangerous people. It’s relatively easy to catch undocumented aliens. A factory raid can result in hundreds of people being placed in removal proceedings. Ultimately, it’s about statistics. Prioritizing criminal aliens and dangers to national security will result in less people being caught and deported because ICE cannot round these individuals up as efficiently as they can the undocumented aliens. Government bureaucracies are judged by their statistics.
Having practiced immigration law since 1997, I’m not so sure that President Obama’s change in priority is actually bad for morale at ICE. The people who work at ICE are normal people like you and me. The only difference is that they have a very difficult job. It’s not easy to have a job where you separate families and detain people with no criminal history as if they were criminals. On many occasions, I have observed ICE officers that did not appear comfortable with the things that they had to do because of their job. I would think that many ICE officers would like President Obama’s policy of prioritizing enforcement of immigration laws because it makes them less likely to have to detain and deport sympathetic people.
As for the Republicans, they’re just lying because they don’t want President Obama to be re-elected.