2:00 pm CST - September 28, 2010
Posted under The Scoop
New U.S. immigration policy reduces the threat of deportation for undocumented immigrants, says ProPublica
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – The Obama administration has changed the nation’s immigration enforcement strategy in ways that will reduce the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, according to a new report by ProPublica. The investigative journalism nonprofit group adds that this shift in policy “will likely blunt the impact of any state laws designed to deport vast numbers of people.”
The reasoning behind this policy shift is to reduce over-crowding in the nation’s immigration courts and detention centers which are currently stacked up with immigrants who have lived in the country for a long time and probably would be legalized under comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
ProPublica points to a June 30 memo by John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in which he stressed the new priorities for officers around the country to dedicate resources to deport immigrants who have committed serious crimes rather than harmless longtime undocumented immigrants.
ProPublica also highlights a draft proposed directive from Morton, posted last month on ICE’s website for public comment. It would prohibit police from using misdemeanor traffic stops to flag people to ICE for deportation, even though traffic stops have been credited with increasing the number of deportations in recent years.
Some exceptions would be made, including for immigrants with serious criminal records.
In an interview with ProPublica, Morton, the ICE director, said the administration’s strategy will lead to smarter enforcement.
“Congress provides enough money to deport a little less than 400,000 people and in an era of limited resources, who should those 400,000 be?” Morton asked.
“My perspective is those 400,000 people shouldn’t be the first 400,000 people in the door but rather 400,000 people who reflect some considered government enforcement policy based on a rational set of objectives and priorities.”
Deportations have increased dramatically in recent years, from 189,000 in 2001 to 387,000 in 2009, ProPublica notes.