[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Let’s all remember this next time someone says that Obama is enforcing immigration law. Oh, and let’s remember that he is doing little to ensure that they don’t turn around and come right back:
Unusual methods helped ICE break deportation record, e-mails and interviews show
For much of this year, the Obama administration touted its tougher-than-ever approach to immigration enforcement, culminating in a record number of deportations.
But in reaching 392,862 deportations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement included more than 19,000 immigrants who had exited the previous fiscal year, according to agency statistics. ICE also ran a Mexican repatriation program five weeks longer than ever before, allowing the agency to count at least 6,500 exits that, without the program, would normally have been tallied by the U.S. Border Patrol.
When ICE officials realized in the final weeks of the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, that the agency still was in jeopardy of falling short of last year’s mark, it scrambled to reach the goal. Officials quietly directed immigration officers to bypass backlogged immigration courts and time-consuming deportation hearings whenever possible, internal e-mails and interviews show.
Instead, officials told immigration officers to encourage eligible foreign nationals to accept a quick pass to their countries without a negative mark on their immigration record, ICE employees said.
The option, known as voluntary return, may have allowed hundreds of immigrants – who typically would have gone before an immigration judge to contest deportation for offenses such as drunken driving, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault – to leave the country. A voluntary return doesn’t bar a foreigner from applying for legal residence or traveling to the United States in the future.
Once the agency closed the books for fiscal 2010 and the record was broken, agents say they were told to stop widely offering the voluntary return option and revert to business as usual.
Read the whole thing. And good for the WaPo for calling them out.
But the other thing that this results in is a lower quality of deportations. If they are trying to meet a quota, they are not going to go after the drug lord, whose business hires him excellent attorneys able to put up a first class fight. No, they will go after the poor guy who can only hope to get a good Federal Public Defender. And they are pretty good lawyers, but their resources are not unlimited. But I don’t know about you, but I would rather they deport one drug lord than one hundred day laborers.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]