By Jim Kouri
What’s being heralded as President Barack Obama’s Christmas gift to illegal aliens is the latest policy change that will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of U.S. immigration law enforcement. On Monday, Christmas eve, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief, John Morton, promulgated his department’s new guidance for local cops in their detaining of criminal aliens as well as the announcement that ICE agreements with local police and sheriffs’ departments through the so-called “287(g) program” will not be renewed.
According to a federal law enforcement officer who requested anonymity, Obama’s goal is to limit the use local cops in the detention of illegal aliens arrested for misdemeanors (offenses punishable by jail sentences of between 30-days and 1-year) or violations (offenses punishable by jail sentences of 30-days or less).
The ICE 287(g) program trained and permitted local law enforcement agencies to designate officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions. Local cops attended training classes at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia.
The department says that the administration’s focus is “on removing from the country convicted criminals and other individuals that fall into priority areas for [law] enforcement.”
Director Morton said, “In order to further enhance our ability to focus enforcement efforts on serious offenders, we are changing who ICE will issue detainers against.”
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has directed Morton and his agents to prioritize their goals and use their resources wisely.
Groups joining together to encourage, what they call, a separation between ICE and local law enforcement includes the Florida Immigrant Coalition, ACLU of Florida, North Carolina Justice Center, Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino Americanas, ACLU of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Centro Presente, VA Legal Aid Justice Center, Rights Working Group, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and the Arab-American Institute.