February 21st, 2017

Administration announces new illegal immigration enforcement rules

The headline in USA today announces “Homeland Security unveils sweeping plan to deport undocumented immigrants.” When I first read that, I assumed that this represented some sort of blueprint for going after “undocumented” (people who arrived here illegally) immigrants all over the US, which would be fulfilling one of the more controversial promises of the Trump campaign.

But instead it seems to be a plan to tighten up border security and to suggest that ICE actually deport more of the people authorities find as they first arrive and are detained. In other words, an end to (or at least a diminution of) “catch and release*”:

The memos require undocumented immigrants caught entering the country to be placed in detention until their cases are resolved, increase the ability of local police to help in immigration enforcement, call for the hiring of 10,000 more immigration agents and allow planning to begin on an expansion of the border wall between the United States and Mexico.

What percentage of Americans have trouble with that? Probably a lot fewer than with some sort of mass roundup and deportation policy. This announcement seems like a case of enforcing immigration laws in a way that makes it clear that if you want to enter this country you should come legally, under our rules. It doesn’t do much about changing the status quo for people who already came here illegally, and it doesn’t touch DACA either.

When you add the directive (as Homeland Security did) that “The memos make undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime the highest priority for enforcement operations,” it makes even more sense and is even less controversial. But naturally:

Immigration advocacy groups were crushed…

“These memos lay out a detailed blueprint for the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice Educational Fund, which advocates on behalf of immigrants. “They fulfill the wish lists of the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements and bring to life the worst of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”

But Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says “What (Homeland Security Secretary John) Kelly has done is lay out a broad road map of regaining control of a process that’s spun out of control.”

Seems to me that with immigration we have three main issues. The first is how many legal immigrants we wish to let in and under what rules. Do we want to reform that process? Do we want to expand or to contract that number? How do we vet them, and who vets them?

The second issue is what to do about the illegal immigrants who are already here. And the third is what to do about those newly entering. It seems to me that these new Trump administration directives (and I have only read summaries and skimmed parts of them rather than reading the entire document) deal predominantly with that third issue. In so doing, the policy has a chilling effect on those entering illegally and planning to enter illegally. That chilling effect is almost certainly intentional. In addition, however—and with the assistance of the MSM and immigrant activists—it probably has the effect of striking fear into the hearts of those who are already here illegally.

It seems to me that the aim of the whole thing is indeed to “regain control of a process that’s spun out of control.” It remains to be seen how this will actually play out and be implemented in the real world—and whether further directives will be issued that expand the process and involve a great many of the people who are already here. I am sure, however, that even if all that happens is that deportation numbers increase among those who are newly arrived along the border, the press will treat us to an almost endless series of stories about their pathetic fate at the hands of those heartless ICE employees.

And many of the stories will be sad. But a nation has a right and a duty to make decisions regarding who to let into that country and under what conditions. If the people of the US wanted to let in many millions more immigrants from Latin America a year legally they could, although that would take changing the current laws on legal immigration. It’s about who gets to decide and whether reasonable laws will be enforced reasonably.

[NOTE: * “Catch and release” is the policy under which “many undocumented immigrants are processed by immigration agents, released into the country and ordered to reappear for court hearings.”

Here’s how well it workedin the past:

Historically, due to the lack of resources available to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain people, as well as the lengthy time period between apprehension and being ordered deported, catch-and-release was the de facto policy followed by ICE: those believed to be in violation of immigration status were released and given a date when they were to appear before an immigration judge for their deportation hearing. Knowing that coming to a hearing could lead to them being deported, many of these people simply failed to turn up to their hearings. In July 2005, the National Center for Policy Analysis reported that at some federal immigration courts, 98% of the defendants failed to show up.

Which makes perfect sense. Why would they show up?

The policy was ended by the Bush administration in 2005-6, and reinstated in part in the later years of the Obama administration, although there’s disagreement about to what extent.]

9 Responses to “Administration announces new illegal immigration enforcement rules”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    If “catch and release” would have been stopped long ago, way more citizens would be alive today. I include Sarah Root of Iowa in this group along with Kate Steinle of California.

  2. Vanderleun Says:

    Endless “Sad Maria Stories” (Start with distressed Maria speaking in hurt anxious tones in Spanish, fade up compassionate whispering soft tone translation of Maria’s sad problem) coming right up on National Propaganda Radio.

    Perhaps we will also be treated to endless bloviations on whether the “new illegal immigration enforcement rules” and legal illegal immigration enforcement rules or illegal illegal immigration rules.

  3. Ray Says:

    Illegal immigration is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp. A few years ago an illegal alien was shot and killed in an attempted bank robbery. I’m surprised the media didn’t refer to him as an undocumented bank customer.

  4. parker Says:

    Install border control that stops and boots out 90% of those entering illegally. Next, enforce existing immigration laws. Then, treat any State and/or city that declares itself to be a ‘sanctuary’ as the rebellious Confederacy states were treated 150 years ago. Insurrection shall not be tolerated.

  5. Steve S Says:

    The activists can always come up with sad stories that are supposed to tug our heartstrings, and make us more sympathetic to their cause. But it was the activists who manufactured the false hope of illegality-without-consequence in the first place; who dangled their lies in front of these wanabe immigrants, illegal or no. The activists created the lawlessness and the subsequent sad stories with no right to do so whatsoever. Their roughshod riding to trample rule of law is what has created their sad stories. So let the activists go into those communities and explain to those people how they lied to them and how they defrauded them. It is a situation of their making; let them own it.

  6. parker Says:

    Steve S,

    Isn’t it precious that the activists (aka traitors) would never let one of these down trodden souls into their homes except temporarily as low paid maids or nannies?

    I understand why the illegals want to enter by any means possible. I realize the conditions they are fleeing. But its not our problem, we have our own problems. My give a damn was long ago busted.

  7. liz Says:

    This is a good website to review.


    There were three Exec Orders that related to immigration – the visa/refugee, the border, and immigration. There were two implementation memos. You have to read both EO and IM to understand what is going on. Some news stories seem to imply that DHS is making policy, but it is closely tied into the Executive Order.

    The border EO/IM discusses the wall, hiring 5,000 border agents, moving more immigration judges to the area and speeding up the review process. Here’s a fact sheet that summarizes everything.

    The immigration EO/IM talks about the immigration problems inside the US. It talks about the priorities for deportation, not changing the DACA issue for now, hiring 10,000 ICE agents, establishing an office to help the victims of illegal immigrant crimes (and using the money that was allocated for helping the illegals),

    Here is a fact sheet. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/02/21/fact-sheet-enhancing-public-safety-interior-united-states

    One interesting point was that all EM/IM discuss enforcing all immigration laws and use the term “shall”. I would guess that if an agent refuses to enforce the law, then they will be subject to firing.

    Another point is that “the Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents. ”

    And both EO and IMs allow DHS to work with cities and states. ” Section 287(g) of the INA authorizes written agreements with a state or political subdivision to authorize qualified officers or employees to perform the functions of an immigration officer. Empowering state and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law is critical to an effective enforcement strategy, and CBP and ICE will work with interested and eligible jurisdictions. ”

    This was the National Guard issue that was written in the draft version of the memo. It was always in the immigration law. The EO and the IM just says to increase its use, if possible.

  8. AesopFan Says:

    Andrew McCarthy has an excellent article, as always.


    “The immigration-enforcement guidance issued by President Trump Tuesday morning patently aims to shift the presumption against deportation created by President Obama’s guidance. In 2014, under the guise of setting out “immigration enforcement priorities,” Obama’s Department of Homeland Security established a three-tier system for deportation. This was quite advisedly done under the rubric of “prosecutorial discretion.” Federal agents were instructed to apply prosecutorial discretion as early in the evaluation process as possible, mindful of how sparse were resources to arrest, detain, and deport removable aliens.

    (excellent information follows, which I didn’t know and I have been following the news very closely these past years — the problem with the MSM is not so much all the fake news that they gin up, but the LACK of real news when it happens)

    The lesson here is that apologists for illegal aliens will come to rue the end of the dishonest Obama approach to immigration enforcement — the Alinskyite tactic of manipulating language to conceal progressive policy lurches (in the expectation that people will gradually become inured to them), rather than arguing for those policies on their (dubious) merits. Obama did not so much openly push for the repeal or relaxation of immigration laws; his method was to pretend to enforce them (i.e., pretend that they were a “priority”) while implementing a process that quietly immunized most aliens. When called on it, he and Jeh Johnson, his DHS secretary, would spout “prosecutorial discretion” and tut-tut about the lack of resources to deport any but the most serious offenders — as if they would really have deported many more if only there were the resources to do it. Trump’s first response is: Okay, then, we’re going to have lots more resources.

    This is a night-and-day departure from Obama’s governance. Recall, the Obama Justice Department’s infamous litigation against the state of Arizona owed to the fact that the state was trying to enforce Congress’s laws. Obama took the novel (and to my mind, outrageous) position that states were bound not by federal law but by Obama policy preferences, which, of course, called for non-enforcement.

    (I agreed; the blatant affront to common-sense in Obama’s tactics probably helped fuel Trump’s rise.)

    Trump, in stark contrast, is saying the federal government not only wants the states to enforce Congress’s laws; it wants more state resources so that enforcement is more robust.

    Because removal requires an investment of resources, it is still necessary to set priorities. Under Secretary Kelly’s guidance, however, the presumption is now in favor of removing illegal aliens, not giving them protection.

    Consistent with this, agents are further admonished to take action against illegal aliens who have defrauded government agencies or abused programs related to public benefits. This is significant. Illegal aliens who were not guilty of serious felonies were generously regarded as “generally law-abiding” under Obama standards; the fact that they were often guilty of fraudulent conduct — in order to represent themselves as lawfully present and employable, or as eligible for public welfare subsidies — was swept under the rug. Under Trump guidelines, such illegal aliens will no longer be given a pass. Moreover, because much of this fraudulent conduct is committed against state agencies and welfare programs, it becomes even more significant that state police are being deputized to enforce the immigration laws.

    (The next part is what struck me as creative push-back to the Left’s sob-story apparatus, and a continuation of some of Trump’s campaign tactics.)

    Obviously, there will be blowback from groups that lobby in favor of illegal immigrants and from the press. In anticipation of this, the Trump administration is shrewdly establishing a “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office” (VOICE). Under the auspices of providing offender information to victims of offenses committed by criminal aliens, VOICE will be pushing into the public domain the kind of information that has been suppressed for the last eight years. No longer will there be a one-sided narrative of the value illegal immigrants add to American society; the wages of indulging a massive illegal-immigrant population will also be highlighted.

  9. Frog Says:

    The three main issues listed by Neo are listed in inverse priority.
    The third (getting rid of newly-arrived illegals) is being correctly given first priority: Get them out now, before they can burrow into society, drop anchor babies, start dipping into entitlement programs, using emergency rooms, exporting monies from our economy to their home countries, etc.
    The second issue is getting rid of (or dealing with) those illegals who are implanted into our social fabric, have anchor babies, brought young kids here as part of their illegality (those kids have grown up to become “Dreamers” in Leftist lingo). This issue is thorny, will be messy, BUT America did not create it. Les Ilegales did. The bleeding-heart MSM will emotionalize what should in a rational society be subject to reason. Obviously, that is not today’s America, and the gulf between reason and irrationality widens daily.
    The third issue, revoking present immigration law, with its America-harming preferences for melanin and family connections, over prior law which gave preference to readily assimilatable, value-adding people, will be a legislative battle of high magnitude, given the Democratic tilt to anti-American legislators and multiculturalism.

    Much of this could simply be resolved if California would secede, and pressured les Ilegales would migrate there, given that the California Nation would have open borders with Mexico, as long as that was a one-way valve and our borders with CA would likely be closed to us Deplorables by the natives.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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