Obama's incoherent immigration policy

Washington Post:

In a bid to remake the enforcement of federal immigration laws, the Obama administration is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants and auditing hundreds of businesses that blithely hire undocumented workers.

...

Obama is drawing flak from those who contend the administration is weak on border security and from those who are disappointed he has not done more to fulfill his campaign promise to help the country's estimated 11 million illegal residents. Trying to thread a needle, the president contends enforcement -- including the deployment of fresh troops to the Mexico border -- is a necessary but insufficient solution.

A June 30 memorandum from ICE director John Morton instructed officers to focus their "principal attention" on felons and repeat lawbreakers. The policy, influenced by a series of sometimes-heated White House meetings, also targets repeat border crossers and declares that parents caring for children or the infirm should be detained only in unusual cases.

"We're trying to put our money where our mouth is," Morton said in an interview, describing the goal as a "rational" immigration policy. "You've got to have aggressive enforcement against criminal offenders. You have to have a secure border. You have to have some integrity in the system."

Morton said the 400,000 people expected to be deported this year -- either physically removed or allowed to leave on their own power -- represent the maximum the overburdened processing, detention and immigration court system can handle.

The Obama administration has been moving away from using work-site raids to target employers. Just 765 undocumented workers have been arrested at their jobs this fiscal year, compared with 5,100 in 2008, according to Department of Homeland Security figures. Instead, officers have increased employer audits, studying the employee documentation of 2,875 companies suspected of hiring illegal workers and assessing $6.4 million in fines.

...

The Secure Communities project has identified 240,000 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes, according to DHS figures. Of those, about 30,000 have been deported, including 8,600 convicted of what the agency calls "the most egregious offenses."

Criticism has been swift and sure.

While the administration focuses on some illegal immigrants with criminal records, others are allowed to remain free, creating a "sense of impunity. As long as they keep their heads down, they're in the clear. That's no way of enforcing immigration law," said Mark Krikorian, a supporter of stricter policies with the Center for Immigration Studies.

"Even the ones who haven't committed murder or rape or drug offenses, all of them have committed federal felonies," Krikorian said. He favors employer audits, but also the roundups that Obama has largely abandoned.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) similarly believes the administration is showing "apathy toward robust immigration enforcement." He said at a House hearing in March that the approach is nothing more than "selective amnesty."

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Then there are those who want outright amnesty. They actually have been invited to the White House and Obama seems sympathetic to their pleas. I think Morton could be one reasons for the incoherence, but he could just be following orders from the administration. The problem with the work place audits is that it just makes the illegals unemployed. The value of the workplace raids was in part the self deportations that followed. It was a much more effective tool in getting those here illegally to leave.

While the focus of the current operations is on criminal aliens, you have to question how serious the administration is about pursuing them when they are suing Arizona for apprehending criminal aliens.

We now have an administration that ignores those trying to thwart immigration law with their sanctuary programs while at the same time it attacks those trying to apprehend people in the country illegally. That goes beyond incoherence into perversity.

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