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Administration Takes Steps That Will Reduce Deportation Risk for Many Undocumented Immigrants

As the Obama administration tries to increase the number of criminals it deports, it’s lowering the risk of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants who’ve lived in the country for long periods without committing crimes.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection bike patrol agents assist Mexicans being returned to Mexico on June 2, 2010, after the men were apprehended for entering the United States illegally in Nogales, Ariz. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sep. 13: This post has been corrected.

A version of this story was published in USA Today.

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 and will likely blunt the impact of any state laws designed to deport vast numbers of people.

The changes are the little-discussed byproducts of the administration's well-publicized decision to focus its deportation efforts on immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

To remove the "worst of the worst," the administration reasons, it can't allow the nation's immigration courts and detention centers to remain clogged with generally law-abiding immigrants who have lived in the country for a long time and probably would be legalized under comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

The administration's strategy has been revealed in recent months through internal memos, testimony and new guidelines that direct deportation officers to generally refrain from deporting certain groups of immigrants.

  • In a June 30 memo (PDF), John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), stressed the new priorities to his officers around the country: Use the agency's limited resources to find and deport immigrants who have committed serious crimes rather than scoop up longtime undocumented immigrants who haven't.
  • On July 1, ICE's executive associate director of management, Daniel Ragsdale, testified in the administration's lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law that ICE officers have been told to "exercise discretion" when deciding whether to detain "long-time lawful permanent residents, juveniles, the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, veterans, members of the armed forces and their families, and others with illnesses or special circumstances." (P.11)
  • An internal memo leaked to the media in July discussed ways the administration could adjust existing regulations so certain groups, such as college students and the spouses of military personnel, could legalize their status or at least avoid deportation if Congress doesn't pass comprehensive immigration reform. The memo came from ICE's sister agency, U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS), which rules on applications for visas, work permits and citizenship. USCIS played down the draft as a brainstorming device. Nonetheless, it underscored the administration's view that legalization was more appropriate than deportation for many people.
  • On Aug. 20, Morton ordered (PDF) ICE officials to begin dismissing deportation cases against people who have credible immigration applications pending and haven't committed serious crimes. According to the Houston Chronicle, immigration attorneys who went to court last month anticipating their clients' deportations were stunned to learn that many of the cases had been dismissed.
  • Perhaps the most dramatic shift in enforcement strategy was outlined in a draft proposed directive (PDF) 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.

The president doesn't need congressional approval to make any of these changes because the executive branch has wide leeway in how it administers the laws Congress writes.

But the administration's new direction puts it on a collision course with those who believe the nation's immigration laws should be strictly enforced and that all illegal immigrants should be deported.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, the top Republican on the House immigration subcommittee, said that by making exceptions, ICE is "thumbing its nose at the law." And the union representing ICE's 7,000 enforcement officers has issued a unanimous no-confidence vote that singled out Morton and an assistant, saying their new detention and removal policies were "misguided and reckless initiatives, which could ultimately put many Americans at risk."

"Everything is being driven away from arresting people just for being here illegally or low-level criminals," said a supervisory ICE agent who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from his superiors. "They're using 'cost savings' and the 'worst of the worst' as their justification. But to me and those inside, it's all politics. They want us to stay away from the illegals who are living and working here and not committing serious crimes until such time as they can get immigration reform passed."

The changes have also drawn complaints from immigration advocates, who say deportations under Obama have reached record highs and that the immigrants who remain behind are still living in limbo, without work permits, Social Security cards or driver's licenses.

"This isn't a free ticket," said Raed Gonzalez, one of the Houston-area attorneys whose clients' cases were dropped last month. "This is termination without prejudice, which means that the government can put them back into proceedings at any time."

People close to the administration acknowledge that the new strategy doesn't please activists on either side of the immigration debate. But they say it's the best Obama can do without immigration reform legislation from Congress.

In an interview with ProPublica, Morton, the ICE director, said the administration's strategy will lead to smarter enforcement, not softer enforcement. Given that there are now more than 10 million people in the country illegally and that a record amount of money is being spent on immigration enforcement in an era of unprecedented budget deficits, he said it makes sense to target people who pose the biggest threat to public safety or national security.

"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 said. "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. Much of that increase has been accomplished by doing what the administration is now trying to avoid: deporting large numbers of people who haven't committed serious crimes.

Note: The number for 2010 is through July 22. Source: Department of Homeland Security

This year, however, that trend has taken a sharp turn, according to a report released in July by TRAC, a Syracuse University program that gathers and analyzes government data. While more than half of the people being held for deportation haven't committed crimes, the percentage of those who have rose from 27 percent to 43 percent this year.

Source: TRAC, Syracuse University

The number of criminal immigrants removed by ICE "has already broken all previous records, and climbed to an all-time high," according to the report. "The removal pace of criminal aliens in FY 2010 is fully 60 percent higher than in the last year of the Bush administration, and at least a third (37%) higher than in the first year of the Obama administration."

The administration's new strategy -- including many of its key points and phrases -- echoes a February 2009 report (PDF) by the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit research center, which produced it in hopes that the administration might use it as a blueprint for its enforcement strategy.

"What they've done is what any good law enforcement agency does," said Donald Kerwin, who co-authored the 2009 report with Doris Meissner, head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Bill Clinton. "They can always jack up the numbers but does it have any impact? And the answer is no, it doesn't."

Trying to Unclog the Immigration Courts

Deportations have doubled in the past decade in part because Congress has steadily increased the removals budget, from $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion in the last five years alone. But the numbers also have been boosted by two ICE programs -- 287(g) and Secure Communities -- which use local police to help identify and detain more undocumented immigrants than ICE agents could ever pick up by themselves. Twenty-two states are now considering laws that would require their police to become involved in immigration enforcement.

The two programs have been so successful that the nation's immigration courts had a record backlog of 248,000 cases earlier this year, according to another TRAC report. Immigrants now wait an average of 459 days for their cases to be heard, with the average rising to 643 days in California. Most of the immigrants are released pending their hearings -- including some who are a threat to public safety -- because it is too costly for the government to hold them for such long periods.

Note: The number for 2010 includes the first two months of the fiscal year 2010. Source: TRAC, Syracuse University

The 287(g) program, named for the section of the immigration law that created it, permits state and local police, with training and supervision from ICE, to access ICE databases and decide whether someone they've stopped or taken to jail on other charges should be referred to ICE for deportation.

Seventy-one jurisdictions in 26 states now have 287(g) agreements with ICE, and about 40 more are pending, according to ICE spokesman Richard Rocha. Although the program was enacted in 1996, the first agreements didn't come until 2002 and only in the last three years has the program begun to spread.

Authorities in jurisdictions that use 287(g) praise its effectiveness.

"We've seen a lot of success with it," said Stacey Bourbonnais, a spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County, Ga., Sheriff's Department. During the first half of this fiscal year, Gwinnett County helped ICE put 1,500 immigrants into deportation proceedings.

But immigrant rights groups complain that 287(g) encourages ethnic profiling and targets people who have committed traffic violations and other minor crimes. Last year, ICE responded to those complaints by rewriting the 287(g) agreements to specify that the program is intended to target criminal undocumented immigrants. But the complaints have persisted and the Department of Homeland Security, ICE's parent agency, is now reviewing the program.

An official familiar with the ongoing review predicted it will lead the administration to shut down the program. If it does, it would be a victory for immigrant rights groups and a blow to state and local law enforcement agencies that have chosen to participate.

The second program, Secure Communities, operates in 574 jurisdictions in 30 states, and ICE hopes to make it available to jurisdictions nationwide by 2013. Like 287(g), it allows local officers to tap into ICE databases.

The administration says that focusing on "the worst of the worst" is vital to ICE's primary mission of national security and public safety and can work only if the pipeline out of the country isn't clogged, as it is now, with people who aren't a significant danger

But King, the Iowa Republican, says the Obama administration had another choice when it came to unclogging the system: It "should have come to Congress and asked for more judges, more prison beds and more prosecutors" so the courts could quickly process all the undocumented immigrants they received. The goal, King said, is to remove everybody deportable under the law.

Some experts say that deporting all 10 million people living in the United States illegally, if that were possible at all, would take 20 years and more than $50 billion in taxpayer money. But King, who is likely to become chair of the immigration subcommittee if Republicans gain control of the House in January, is undaunted.

"If that were the formula that got us to the point where we'd re-established the rule of law, I would support that," he said. "I think that's going to be about $8 (annually) a person for every American. I think that's a pretty cheap price to pay to reestablish the rule of law."

Correction: The initial version of this story inaccurately said the ICE immigration enforcement program known as Secure Communities was active in 17,553 jurisdictions in 23 states. As of Aug. 31, Secure Communities was active in 574 communities in 30 states.

Since the economy tanked, I’ve mostly been an out-of-work carpenter. The other day, I encountered two Mexicans building a deck. I asked them what they charged. It was half what I could charge to afford the cost of living where I live. If I chose to live with three roommates in a one-bedroom apartment, I could compete. But, wouldn’t I be lowering my already low standard of living? This is the problem with unchecked immigration. It’s not whether they’re legal or not; it’s their numbers and what they’re willing to do. And that undermines what the hard-working American middle class has always expected. Shouldn’t American workers expect their government to protect them from threats against their ability to live with dignity in their own country?

Agreed, but since there is only a deportation capacity of 400,000 it is understandable that preferences should be made.

I agree with Peter C.  We have limited resources and have to address this behemoth of a problem. I am for putting some high profile employers on trial and putting them in jail for 18 months for violations.  We’ve had case after case over the years where the employers knowingly hire undocumented workers and only pay fines.  We love cheap labor in this country and we must admit that to ourselves. Our companies export jobs all the time. 

I must admit that President Obama is more of a chess player.  Sadly, we’ve been playing checkers way too long with many of these complex issues.

We have a capacity to deport them all. Thank God for Eisenhower who saw that the western states needed to be sweeped clean of illegals. I don’t think anyone called him a nazi or racist.

This is Mexico’s problem! Viva Revolution in Mexico.

Gene Anderson

Sep. 10, 2010, 1:09 a.m.

This is AMNESTY by default. We MUST remove every democrat or rep that is pro illegal from congress this Nov 2 2010.  It may be too late already as Mexis ruining our country with their overflow of uneducated criminals who kill, rape and take our jobs. Has the USA lost it’s BACKBONE?  Get rid of EVERY ILLEGAL NOW

Henry Mencken

Sep. 10, 2010, 1:10 a.m.

We recently visited Ellis Island and its immigration museum. It’s amazing how many of these same arguments were being made against immigration 150 years ago, 100 years ago, and 50 years ago. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the government even devised “intelligence tests” to make sure that immigrants were mentally competent. Interestingly, officials actually took pains to make sure the tests weren’t culturally biased. Beginning in the 1920s, immigration was heavily restricted—mostly to white northern Europeans—and it wasn’t opened again in any numbers until the 1960s. The problem today as I see it is that both sides are right. On one hand, an aging nation needs immigrants, who are by and large young and can help support social security for many years. On the other hand, the fact that an immigrant is here illegally shouldn’t give him a leg up on those who follow the law and apply for visas. That’s what makes it so hard to reach a compromise. With 10 million illegals in the country, in many immigrant-heavy communities, almost every voter has relatives or friends who are here illegally. They will do anything to keep them here—legally or not—and their lawmakers will oppose any attempt to tighten or enforce existing laws. They see it as directly opposed to their own interests. On the other hand, anti-immigration forces rightly believe that the law is being openly flouted, and in many cases their communities are suffering from immigration-related woes. But they reject any compromise that would provide a path for some kind of “amnesty” on a scale that would allow a significant number of illegals to become legal. Since I believe in the rule of law, this kind of thing sticks in my craw, too, but if that’s what it would take to create a system that would work better in the future, I’d buy it. I don’t have much use for the last President Bush, but he did make a good faith effort to come up with a reasonable immigration compromise, and his own party shoved it down his throat. Meanwhile, in this administration, the Democrats are in such thrall to the Hispanic vote that they will never agree to any real effort that would result in significantly more illegals going home. I don’t have much hope for a solution unless Congress can miraculously come up with some kind of center-based coalition instead of being guided by the extremes on both sides. Not much chance of that. It’s sad.

MichaelMoriarty

Sep. 10, 2010, 1:11 a.m.

This is a really poorly timed move from the Obama Administration.  With 15 million AMERICANS unemployed and going into bankruptsy, can’t find jobs… we don’t need competition for jobs from the steady flow of millions of immigrants (legal and illegal) in this country.  Also, our state colleges are extremely overcrowded and denying admission to over 50% of AMERICAN students applying, yet they allow thousands of illegal immigrants, and foreign students in front of TAXPAYING AMERICAN CITIZENS!  SICK OF IT.!

And this is exactly why Democrats are going to take such a beating this November. You just can’t keep letting illegals flood into our country and on top of that not deport them (when found). You’ve lost your patriotic duty to protect U.S. citizens.

The Democrats are the party of welfare dwellers, illegal aliens, taxes (never met a tax they didn’t like), protectors of the rights of criminals instead of their victims, the lazy, druggies, Wall Street, Union thugs, ambulance chasing lawyers, etc.

You are all a bunch of brain dead hicks except Henry, Peter and Aggie. Seriously the dumbing down of this country with the neo-conservative plan to subjugate the population is what opened the door this issue. Send jobs over seas, blame immigrants and wrap it in the flag. Sold to the dumbest amongst you.

Two words; trade tariffs and the problem solves itself.

Rounding up all the undocumented migrants in a community to detain and deport, has time and time again been shown to have disastrous effects on that economy. Turning it into a ghost town. You people don’t read or think or even try. It scares me to know that you can vote and breed.

“Ignorance is curable but stupidity is terminal. The doctor says it doesn’t look too good.”

It is not hard to understand what is wrong with this administrations thought processes. 0bama wants more voters for the democrats. He knows he has screwed up this nation so bad, he will never be re-elected without them.

Many say that the government can only deport about 400,000 a year. That is funny as hell. Do people realize the Eisenhower administration was able to deport 1.2 million Mexican nationals, in 1954 (although it did take two years to complete the process). The government had not nearly the resources we have today. They had less money, staff, transportation—everything.

There is no reason this administration could not do the same, or better.

We need to take our Country back from the government. We need to bring America back to the people, instead of giving it away to illegal aliens.

@tim, you’re wrong. “Operation Wetback” has definitely been called racist. Not only did it illegally deport US-born citizens of Mexican descent it also targeted and forcibly expatriated Hispanics and Native Americans whose ancestry went back to before that territory was even part of the US.
http://www.pierretristam.com/Bobst/07/c040507.htm
http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/history/timeline/20.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Wetback

John Williamson

Sep. 10, 2010, 3:33 a.m.

Focus should be on fining businesses that employ illegal immigrants, instead of U.S. workers, just to cut costs. A good guest worker program is needed for businesses that truly cannot find labor and are not just trying to exploit desperate people.

I really like the point Henry made about the history of immigration and in turn xenophobia in this country.  Many of the most base arguments against the current wave of immigration (dangerous, stealing jobs, rapists, etc) were also put forward about the Irish, Germans, Italians and Eastern European Jews.  Indeed, one of the biggest complaints about the non-Anglophone immigrants in the 19th and early 20th century was that they didn’t and wouldn’t speak the language or assimilate at all, and many of them didn’t. Their children did, and their grandchildren, and on and on.  We are seeing the same trends with this wave.

Also, i would just like to point out that while, yes Eisenhower did ‘round ‘em up and ship ‘em out’ during Operation Wetback (nice, isn’t it?). They did, literally, round people that looked ‘Mexican’ (sound familliar?)  in regions with a population of Native Americans and native Hispanics.  There have been many accounts of legal citizens, and moreover legal non-hispanic citizens (but remember, they looked illegal) taken from marketplaces and homes and sent by rail deep into the Mexican interior.  Maybe not something we should be holding up as a model way to deal with our immigrant population?

Further to my last post, just to really illustrate how wrong-headed things like Operation Wetback, and its predecessor in the 1920s and 30s, dubbed Mexican Repatriation were and are:

During the Mexican Repatriation (1929-1939)- 60% (of approx. 1 million) of the people driven out were legal American Citizens. 

Both O.W. and M.R. happened without due process.

In 2005 California was the first state to issue a formal apology called the “Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program” . 

Rob and Tim, and those that like them promulgate the ill informed idea that either O.W. or M.R. were at all a good thing, you can look back fondly at an imagined American History, but this unfortunately is the reality.

At what point did all of the mainstream media decide to replace “illegal” with “undocumented? The tooth of our language has been destroyed when we deal in meaningless euphemisms, but that appears to be the ultimate point of the current political administration. Instead of terrorist acts, we have “man-made incidents”, Islamic terrorism does not exist, just random acts by random people…....
Illegal means illegal. There are not “shades” of illegality in this issue. Deporting illegals who have committed serious crimes as opposed to less “serious” crimes is ludicrous - the fact is that the law was broken at the moment that the “immigrant” arrived here illegally.
Mainstream media and our administration and agencies - use real, meaningful language - stop talking in circles and stop blowing smoke up our a—-s with your silly pc language.

one test for all: are you here legally?

one result for all: here illegally, your deported

1.  Obama is skating on thin ice.  When the Republicans take over in November, this will all be shut down.  Obama is obviously an enemy to the citizens of Utah, Texas and California.

2.  We don’t love cheap labor.  We have people who love to exploit labor.  Modern day slavery.  Libs need to take off the rose colored glasses and quite being racist against white people.

3.  Only picking 400,000 thousand a year is like putting a bandaid on cancer.  In the end, we will fight in the streets because the politicians wanted power instead of using the law to prevent chaos.

Breaking the law is breaking the law. period.
  If exceptions are to be made, fine.  Then we should all pick a law or 2 that we would like to break.  Fair is fair.

THose in the US illegally should be deported.  We have the resources.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Americans being kidnapped and killed by immigrants was not a huge problem.  It currently is in some border states, and more violence is spilling across the border.  Don’t compare the two situations.  Does it take someone in your family being killed or kidnapped before you get it?

Roger Krakusin

Sep. 10, 2010, 8:31 a.m.

Sebastian is right.

Unfortunately for the Dems and Obummer, they are on the WRONG side of this issue.  A majority of Americans thought that Arizona’s law was a good one and 70% of Americans thought the lawsuit against Arizona was wrong.  We may as well start calling the Southwest the Northern States of Mexico cause that is, in effect, what they are.  And, this is EXACTLY what Mexico and the illegals and their cheerleaders want.  EXACTLY.

Dump the Lazy, no ambition and who doesn’t want to embrace the American Culture , regardless of race and status…

Is any of you you willing to do my back yard, wash my truck, take care of my baby or serve my fast food? then deport them…

This will “REDUCE RISK” for illegal aliens, but it will INCREASE RISK of job loss, gang violence, depreciating wages for Americans. Just because an illegal alien doesn’t have a U.S. criminal record doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily “non-criminal.” He could be a mass-murdering gang member back home. Why wait to find out? He’s illegal and needs to be deported. We already know that he doesn’t care about the rule of law.

This threatens public safety. Simple as that.

Deporting only the “worst of the worst” leaves a heck of a lot of bad people on our streets.

Think about just the millions of Americans who are suffering ID THEFT as a result of the illegals this Administration wants to leave on the streets.

If Obama can’t do his job, he should resign. We need a president who will actually enforce the laws of the land.

I hope someone comes with the cure for stupidity on the right. Till then they should pass a law not to let these knuckle heads “conservative” breed.

The conservatives always need someone to hate, as it makes them feel more elite, and by nature they are elitists. If it’s not the “illegals” then it’s the lazy. If it’s not the lazy it’s the poor. Even the sick don’t get a pass. I mean they’re not really sick after all, just pretending, to steal more money out of conservatives pockets while eating cheezit’s with one hand down their pants.

I can see the conervatives among you saying HELL YA! right now.

And therein lies the problem, and that’s why everyone hates what America is, and is so disappointed how far you’ve fallen from your ideals.

The very things that conervatives hate like jobs going overseas, the hiring of undocumented workers and your rapidly declining middle class are all direct results of people who most likely vote conservative pulling the strings. They do so for their own personal best interests, and to hell with anyone else. Then they cry about the same issues they’ve created.

Look, Mexicans come for the money. A job in Mexico City right now is paying between $200 and $1,000 US a month. $400-600 is average. They come for your jobs. Until you start arresting and imprisoning the Presidents of the companies doing the hiring, save your sad stories. It’s you guys screwing each other, not them screwing you. You’re taking advantage of them, by ILLEGALLY hiring them. But you don’t see anyone on a crusade against American business owners do you. Far less popular argument to blame yourselves it seems.

If the jobs went away, so would the workers. They can’t live for free.

In fact it may be your own selfishness and greed that sends them home, because as your economy suffers they feel the chill even more than you might and decide home was a better place anyways.

So short sighted as we as a people. As a Canadian we always speak of how Americans don’t know anything outside their borders (as a 10 year old I once told a man in Florida I was from Canada, and he asked “which state is that in again?”) and maybe a trip to Europe would enlighten many as to how old other countries are. Your country enjoyed huge success because of your isolation and IMMIGRATION. You used to treat the Italians et al just like you treat the Muslims and Mexicans of today.

Do you hate Italians today? Are you mad they stole a job from your grandfathers?

Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Look fellas,  The Obama Administration is not avoiding deporting people.  They have increased the amount of deportations and have quite a few audits of company books to see if they are hiring American Citizens.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/us/10enforce.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp; http://americasvoiceonline.org/pages/deportations_by_fiscal_year

As far as the Dems. being the party of illegals, how do you think the owner of the company that hires illegals vote? They are not exactly voting for the party of labor unions.

Do any of you remember that Reagan gave amnesty?

Do you remember Milton Friedman say that the only good immigrant is a illegal immigrant?

Do you realize that the Cato institute {libertarian think tank} found that illegal Immigrants are the least likely to commit a crime in America?

  For those who want to spend 1 trillion on rounding up Illegal Immigrants, it is the “Free Market”, “Pro Business” Republicans who are standing in your way.

Besides attacking Arizona, and not prosecuting the 20 to 30 million illegals here, what has Obama done about STOPPING illegals from coming her?

Has he gone after employers and individuals who hire them?

Has he made it easier for employers to E-verify social security numbers and STOP IDENTITY THEFT?

Has he done anything to stop the illegals from gaining access to social services?

WHAT HAS HE DONE TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY AND CITIZENS AND ENFORCE OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS?

After he gives amnesty to the 20 to 30 million already here, in another 10 years there will be millions more to take their place.

Obama, who’s president are you?

when tragedies like katrina, the earthquake in haiti, the pakistan floodings, or even september 11th, the american public, from both sides of the spectrum unites in their compassion. It is a clear sign of how short sighted we as a people have become to simply pass judgment on whether the 10 million illegals should be deported or should stay, and not even try to understand the problem in its root. Whether these immigrants get deported or stay here has nothing to do with economic solutions for this country. we are not losing jobs that once boasted to have to mexicans crossing the border. we are losing jobs as a direct result to the globalization of economies around the world. we have IT jobs going to india, manufacturing jobs to china, farming jobs to latin america ect. therefore when the debate about immigration springs up it pains me to see that the discussion turns to the 2 radical sides of the argument: the nationalistic pride and the human commpassion. neither need apply. for starters i am still at awe of the american national pride while i listen to someone say i am 25% irish, 25 % italian, 50 % polish and 100 % against illigals crossing our borders to take our jobs. may i remind you that this country is built upon countless lives of immigrant hard work, the laws of this country are written to encourage diversity and embrace differences. it is what made america the desired land for so many, it is what the american dream is all about. not the entrepreneurship of the individual, but the idea that no matter your background, your hard work and your human rights will always be respected in this country

As a legal immigrant I am upset that illegals have the same rights as me. If we allow illegal immigrants why not illegal drugs, guns and anything else that fits. Just looked what has happened since the last amnisty took place triple the # of illegals.

Trying to find all of them would cause a lot of money. Can we really afford it?

I keep hearing and reading from the right who suddenly became concerned about our debt since oh about January 20, 2009.

Since they are ones who are complaining the most, how do they propose that we go about rounding up these illegals without costing money?

I would also like to add Steve, while I welcome you to the USA, you also took a job from an American Citizen.

Jerry Schwarz

Sep. 10, 2010, 1:46 p.m.

Just a minor nit.  The interim policy that is “the most dramatic shift in enforcement strategy” mentioned above was the result of a law suit brought by the ACLU.  See http://www.aclunc.org/news/press_releases/immigration_agency_disavows_detention_practice_challenged_by_aclu.shtml

Let me see if I understand this right:  The Federal Government will only deport serious criminals illegal aliens, the ones here just illegal are OK, because, you know, we have limited resources…...LOL…..Yeah, right, Let’s spend another Trillion Taxpayer dollars in an overseas war that we are NOT going to win…or let’s spend another Trillion Taxpayer dollars bailing out the banks, that would be good, right?  We have to cut corners somewhere, might as well flood the Country with people that should not be here…...

Now, the reason the illegal immigrants are here in the first place is because the Federal Government will NOT enforce our National Borders, so…..When they deport a “Serious Criminal Alien”, just how long will it take him to come BACK across our border?  What, like a day or so? 

Yeah, great job you’re doing Mr. President

If in fact we are a Nation of Laws, and the Federal Government arbitrarily decides NOT to enforce the laws they don’t like…...What do we need the Government for, anyway?

It’s time for a change, a ground-up restructuring of the way we govern ourselves…....What we’ve had over the past 50 years just isn’t working…...

Oh, and in case you happen to think that Communism works, check with Uncle Fidel in Cuba, or see how it worked for Russia or China for that matter,,,,,,,,Well, guess what:  It WON’T work here either…....

Illegal immigration equals cheap labor which equals unemployment for the rest.

Is it right to go after illegal immigrants, whose main crime is that they will work for meagre wages to put food on the table, and not go after American corporations that outsource jobs to foreign countries where wages are much lower? I don’t think so.

Listen to the bleeding hearts on here.  First of all it is not illegal to send jobs out of the country, but it is illegal to be here without proper documentation.  It is about the law.  We must follow the law!!! 

Second, for those of you who insist this is not harmful to our country, you need to read any good science magazine about what happens when a “host” cell allows small particles of disease to attach itself to it.  Eventually, the host is destroyed by the non-threatening particles.  It is a fact of life!  We cannot allow our system to become rights for one and separate rights for another. 

Illegal Immigration is just another form of slavery.  The bleeding hearts have forked tongues.

The speed with which Non Idiot responded to my posting makes me suspect he or she is part of the right-wing Republican pr machine. Following the law sounds like following orders blindly, which is what people said they were doing in Nazi Germany. Following the law is not the issue. We can work to change any law we think unjust. That is the essence of America. The issue is jobs for Americans. Study after study has shown that illegal immigrants take jobs real red-blooded Americans don’t want to take. So they aren’t really contributing to the nation’s massive unemployment. But sending jobs abroad that could be filled here is—no matter how much Georgie Bush and the Party of No favors it. By the way, I don’t understand a word of Non Idiot’s second paragraph. I’m tempted to call Non Idiot and Idiot, but I’ll just let it pass.

Mr. Hayden makes a crucial point: a flood of illegal workers undermines the livelihood of legal workers. This is not a small thing, or some ancillary point.
As he says, a single man sharing a room with others can easily undercut a worker who has a family and pays school taxes. Moreover, an employer who replaces American-born workers with foreign workers can bid far less on jobs, taking work away from companies that do obey the law and do pay lawful taxes. The entire system makes winners of chronic law breakers and devastates Americans who try to obey the law. It creates massive contempt for just laws and for all the people who take taxpayer money to enforce those laws.
Instead of rule of law, we have rule of money and favoritism. That’s what the world had for centuries before we tried an experiment called a representative democracy, the United States of America.
As it happens, I like most of my foreign-born neighbors a lot more than most of my fellow Americans, and I’d be pleased if they became citizens. But much as I want them as neighbors, I see nothing positive about the union-busting, law-rotting system of allowing workers to come here by the millions without any immigration processing. It’s nuts. No other nation on earth would allow it. It’s great for the super rich who want nannies and gardeners for $10 a week, and for big companies that are tired of paying a living wage, but it’s disastrous for middle class Americans who are losing their homes to banks and to taxes.
The big winners are the super-rich corporate elite, and it’s time we took all these law-breaking employers to court.

Randy Thompson

Sep. 10, 2010, 6:50 p.m.

What’s disturbing is about migration is how much of a snatch and grab economic view the business community has.  If you can undermine a Union by bringing in illegals or better yet get a Temp agency to supply in a don’t ask, don’t tell regarding immigration status then you can undermine the wage structure of a community.  If you are affluent you don’t have to worry about those folks in your immediate community because you scream like hell if any substandard or public housing is in your neighborhood.  What’s really needed is employer sanctions and a blocking of the “dineros a Mexico” stores shipping these low wages back to Mexico while contributing nothing to the local community either in wages or consumption.

It works if short-term profits for a comparative handful of affluent employers is the goal. However, if you want a stable society with a strong middle class that can pay taxes to support the common good, it’s a disaster.
If I were in the shoes of most foreign-born workers, I would do exactly what they are doing. It would be, I suppose, about the same as me sneaking across the Canadian border to take a job that pays $200,000 cash, no taxes. I’d be there in a heartbeat.
So would most of my neighbors. You could arrest us by the boatload, but as long as that job is there, we’ll move north as fast as we can.
But if that employer is prosecuted for breaking labor and tax laws, the job disappears. I stay home.
There’s a bit more to it than that, of course, but you get the idea.
I have rarely, if ever, read that a big employer was hauled into court for even the most obvious, repeat violations of federal and state labor and tax laws.
The biggest profiteers laugh at the courts and put zillions in the bank.
I think that’s not the best way to build a strong society. But hey, that’s just me.

The reality of the 1986 immigration reform and control act has never been compulsory, which makes me wonder the agenda of either party? Finally I have discovered the reality of the circumstances, which Republicans are strong advocates of allowing cheap labor to propagate around the business world. Those employers still have “Carte Blanche” to hire blue and white collar foreigners in the cheap labor pool, leaving lawful Americans jobless and walking the streets. But I am still not fully in belief that the Democrats are ready to announce to the world, that America is open for non restrictive settlement—for anybody who can reach our shores or breech our walls. My main argument is the public entitlement system that caters to anybody who arrived yesterday or a month ago. Nevertheless, it’s when American citizens who have been employed a whole lifetime are still unable to apply for welfare in many cases. Small towns like Hazleton, PA, Fremont, Nebraska have been under-the-gun by the Communist ACLU,  US Chamber of Commerce and others.  But the Tea Party and moderates are building their ranks, of people who have had enough of taxes going to subsidize illegal aliens upkeep.

The hurt comes when the broods of illegal immigrants are immediately accepted through instant citizenship and the illegal parents can then collect all manner of public benefits, including low income housing.  While numerous veterans and the general population, must apply on an ever growing list to be housed? Although the Republicans have fallen into silence regarding the illegal immigration invasion, they must accept most of the blame for the immediate problem of the illegal population over their years in power. But then Democrats are strongly pushing for some kind of amnesty for illegal alien households, while thousands of people who have followed the rules and wait tolerantly for acceptance into American society. Senator Barbara Boxer has illustrated to the American people, that the Rule of Law can be destabilized.

This Senator represents a hard core in the administration acknowledging that a path to citizenship is not only beneficial to the country, but at any cost she will sponsor a kind of Amnesty. Here is the cameo of Democratic Senator Boxers voting record on both Legal and illegal immigration, displaying a strong stance at catering to foreign nationals. She is in a fight to save her seat, against contender Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO.  Because of her stance on her obligation to the 18 million and up illegal aliens in our nation, there is a rational opportunity that illegal households will try to vote by absentee ballot or by direct vote, especially in an immense state like “Sanctuary State” like California or even Nevada? Any state is at risk with the “honor system” of voting, where no governmental ID is required.

Sen. Barbara Boxer Voted—YES—on continuing federal funding for declared “sanctuary cities”. (Mar 2008)
Voted—YES—on comprehensive immigration reform. (Jun 2007)
Voted—NO—on declaring English as the official language of the US government. (Jun 2007)
Voted—YES—on eliminating the “Y” non immigrant guest worker program. (May 2007)
Voted—YES on building a fence along the Mexican border. (Sep 2006)  The paired fences were carefully ostracized to just—ONE—in a omnibus bill of the same year

Voted—YES—on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)
Voted—YES—on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)
Voted—NO—on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work. (Jul 1998)
Voted—YES—on visas for skilled workers. (May 1998)
Voted—NO—on limiting welfare for immigrants. (Jun 1997)
Provide funding for social services for non-citizens. (May 2006)

We need politicians whom are trust worthy, willing to stand up against special interest lobbyists and open border zealots. No pro-amnesty incumbents need apply, which is directly pointed at elected Sen. Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi,  Diane Feinstein,  Russ Feingold, Janet Napolitano and a whole long list, who can be graded as Anti-American worker, anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigration and offer concession in the the Rule of Law. Time to clean shop and remove all pro-amnesty incumbents and show your anger and frustration Washington at 202-224-3121 Find out the depth of the lies and propaganda at NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIAL WATCH

No copyright. Copy and paste and distribute freely to every pro-sovereignty American

What we really need is immigration reform. Perhaps a plan in which people get work visas for, say, three years and then are allowed to apply for green cards. Wait, didn’t Georgie Porgie favor that? What happened. Did Party of No members say no? We also should make employers who outsource jobs pay special taxes. Portraying Mexicans and other illegal immigrants as sneaky thieves come to suck at the tit of Mother America is patently ridiculous. Most illegal immigrants are doing jobs Americans hate doing at wages they turn up their noses at. To suggest they are earning $200,000 a year without paying taxes is just ridiculous.

Liberal and proud of it

Sep. 10, 2010, 8:03 p.m.

All these Repubies are so law and order!
Gee, why is it the AZ law has no penalties for hiring illegals?
If it was a minimum 10 year sentence, I betcha’ the problem would be over in a heartbeat.
Everyone I see here in San Diego that hires them is a conservative Republican…
...oh, I forgot! Like Bohner who illegally smokes 2 packs a day in a Federal building, it’s not breakin’ the law if Republicans do it.
Fact is, if you solicit murder you are more culpable than the murderer. But, if you solicit cheap labor to screw our American workers it’s the wetback’s fault?
Clear to me. Anyone who lives in poverty will try and grab the ring of prosperity. Only a lazy fool wouldn’t.
We need to punish our own citizens and set an example…and I don’t mean some namby, pamby fine or probation. I mean hard time and lots of it.

The way the United States elected officials run our country is a joke. Everybody here have rights except the citizens. Illegal aliens don’t need drivers license, car insurance don’t need to pay taxes, and don’t need to speak English. In Los Angeles we have more illegal’s then Citizens or Resident aliens. Here if you don’t speak Spanish you can’t even get a job. Our Mayor, Almost all City council and all elected officials are almost all have Latino names. And these officials call you racist if you speak up. So we have to be careful what we say here in the southwest.

We have more Spanish speaking radio stations then English speaking stations. If you go to the grocery store everybody speaks Spanish. We might as well just give them California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. American laws don’t work here.
It is totally hopeless.

Even if we will have republicans in office they will not make any different about the Illegal aliens either. Remember when Bush was in office? Republicans need them for slave labor Democrats needs them for vote.  I think it is time to restore our laws and bring this Country to an order. Or soon our nation and our little freedom what we have left will come to an end.

Medicare forms are now bilingual English and Spanish.
The Mexicans do not become part of our culture which is northern European. Rather, they hold on to their own “culture”. For example, they do not think it is necessary to learn English.
I have nothing against the individuals.  They are products of their culture.  But I do not want to see the US destroyed by becoming another Mexico.
Do you?

TO: I nozru   The Us already been destroyed, and if you go to Los Angeles it is almost the same as Mexico City.
People from Mexico City say: Los Angeles is actually worse than Mexico City.

Anyone who can successfully sneak across our border should automatically be made an American citizen. Then he can legally import all his friends and relatives and they become American citizens also.

Silly me! I thought being an illegal immigrant was illegal.

Allowing the Obama Administration to pick and choose the laws of this country they will abide by or look the other way is dangerous. They took an oath of office to uphold the laws of the United States and protect her from foreign invasion. Make no mistake we have been invaded and those who have invaded us have broken our laws. If we lie to Congress it is a felony. If Congress or the President lies to us its politics. If Obama and his minions get by with this, they are guilty of buying votes. They lied when they took the oath of office they are neither upholding our laws nor are they protecting this sovereign country.

America can ill afford this generosity to the Illegal. America needs a chance to re-coop before we allow massive immigration. America needs to be in charge of immigration. By that I mean we need to allow immigration of peoples who add to our needs as a country and not those who will suck up her dwindling resources.

If the Administration would enforce laws against the employer for hiring the Illegal they would self deport. If social services were cut off, the Illegal would self deport. The excuse that “we can’t afford to deport millions” is probably true however we can’t afford the burden they are inflicting by use of social services, education, loss of revenue to States by allowing remittances to be sent to Mexico (in the 100 of millions) and on and on.

Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has a well constructed report on the costs associated with Illegals. The data used is factual and based on government data. It is worth a good read.

As the economy worsens, and it is and will, the Illegal will only find an ever more inhospitable America. Mexico is a failed state. The U.S. could play a constructive role in altering the Mexican corrupt government and force Mexico to provide a stable and more prosperous life for its people.

This move by Obama will cost the Democrats. This move will further divide this country. The old adage “we are a nation of immigrants” is true however we can not compare today to the time of the industrial revolution. America has no economic revolution in site. Legalizing those who are here will not plug the holes at the border it is instead an act that will instead open the border for further flooding. Or is this what they really want Open Borders. If it is then expect an increasing prison industry. I also fear that America will see war within its borders.

The world is experiencing massive migrations of people. Signs are every where in many countries that their natural born are fighting back. We have only witnessed the bland reactions the worse is yet to come.