Last night, Greta Van Susteren interviewed the chief I.C.E. director, John Morton:
It’s all about money and limited resources. All of I.C.E. funding comes from Congress. If you want them to do more, write to your congressman and throw more money their way. Morton says they will do what they can with the resources available. He is trying to make the money work more sensibly. Nothing much has worked in the past, you have to admit.
According to the Washington Times:
New guidance telling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to focus on apprehending terrorists and criminals has many of ICE’s rank-and-file agents wondering who then is responsible for tracking down and detaining the millions of other illegal border-crossers and fugitive aliens now in the country.
The new guidelines are outlined in a June 29 memo from Assistant Secretary John Morton, who heads the agency, to all ICE employees regarding the apprehension, detention and removal of illegal immigrants, noting that the agency “only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal-alien population in the United States.”
Mr. Morton said ICE needed to focus wisely on the limited resources Congress had provided the agency and would “prioritize the apprehension and removal of aliens who only pose a threat to national security and/or public safety, such as criminals and terrorists.”
“With this prioritization, we will ensure that our work has the greatest possible impact and most effectively advances our mission,” Mr. Morton said, adding that the new guidelines were necessary “in light of the large number of administrative violations the agency is charged with addressing and the limited enforcement resources the agency has available.”
Under the directive, ICE officials are authorized under a three-level priority system to use enforcement personnel, detention space and removal resources if they are assured that any deportations that do occur “promote ICE’s highest enforcement priorities; namely, national security, public safety and border security.”
Listed as the agency’s top priority, according to the memo, are illegal immigrants who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety; those convicted of violent crimes, both felons and repeat offenders; those older than 16 who participated in organized criminal gangs; and those with outstanding criminal warrants.
Described in the memo as lesser priorities are foreign nationals caught crossing the border illegally or using phony immigration documents to gain entry, and those identified as fugitives after failing to show up for immigration or deportation hearings.
This article is long and complicated. Contributors should read it for themselves and consider printing it out. Hopefully the BOCS will familiarize themselves with the contents. It might not be what you want to hear but its the way it is. Immigration enforcement costs money and the dollars just aren’t there. Without the cooperation of the federal government, it doesn’t matter what the states do unless they are ready to pony up and pay for the jail costs themselves.