The United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced on Tuesday that it has deported nearly 400,000 persons in the last fiscal year, the largest number of deportations in history for the US. Of those deported, about 55% had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, and increase of 89% from 3 years ago and indicative of the agencies commitment to removing individuals that fall into “priority areas” such as lawbreakers and threats to national security. ICE is boasting of the progress it is making in removing aliens that fall into these priority areas which also include recent border crossers, egregious immigration violators and immigration fugitives. According to ICE, 90% of the deportations fell into a priority category.
The ACLU, however, is not so thrilled with these statistics and strongly criticized the Obama administration’s commitment to the use of deportation. They described the 1.2 million deportations during the course of the administration as leaving a “wake of devastation” across Latino communities. Joanne Lin, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said the deportations are unnecessary and waste of taxpayer money as immigration rates are down and the number of undocumented aliens has decreased substantially (sidebar: how can they have numbers on undocumented aliens if they are in fact undocumented?).
In another twist, Homeland Security has announced that they will review 300,000 deportation cases pending in federal immigration courts and suspend those of lower priority. While the ACLU approves this solution, critics label it a “back-door amnesty program aimed at skirting the nation’s immigration laws.”
How much weight should we give the criticisms of the ACLU to the deportations? In the case of illegal immigrants, do they have a right to be in this country? I find it difficult to disagree with the ICE objective of targeting certain priority deportations, especially given the overcrowding in prisons and reality that prisoners are in fact being released early because there is simply no room. Doesn’t the United States have a right to control what foreigners may enter and/or live in this country? These policies may be disruptive of the Latino community, but if the individuals being deported are illegal in the first place, aren’t they being disruptive in society and drawing on taxpayer resources in other areas?
View full article at http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/18/us/immigrant-deportations/index.html