In a recent front page story, USA Today reviewed internal ICE emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the ACLU and reported that ICE ratcheted up deportations of those with no or minor criminal offenses in order to meet their annual quota.
Interestingly, ICE denies maintaining “quotas” for the number of deportations each year, but claims instead that the agency instead maintains “annual performance goals.” You say “annual performance goal,” I say “quota.” The point of the story, however, is the fact that ICE officials admitted on the record that there are stated goals and that, according to the internal ICE emails, ICE officials were calling on agents to scour court records, visit sobriety/safety checkpoints and even visiting local jails looking for suspected undocumented immigrants.
The problem is the inherent inconsistency with President Obama’s stated goal of focusing limited enforcement resources on hardened criminals while placing less of a priority on non-criminal aliens who lack papers. The Obama administration should not be allowed to claim that they aren’t breaking up families and that they aren’t deporting people with minor criminal offenses when that is exactly what the administration is doing.
The other point that cannot be lost is that there is a serious disconnect between the people who lead the Department of Homeland Security and ICE verses the agents enforcing the law. The union which represents ICE agents repeatedly states its dislike of ICE leadership and the Obama administration. In many ways, ICE agents act like cowboys who don’t have to follow the orders from above. At the very least, there is a serious disconnect between those making policy and those implementing it.