Biden’s new immigration policy has an old, familiar sound – Chico Enterprise-Record
SAN DIEGO – The immigration debate in the United States is a house of lies. And some policy changes can be terribly misleading.
Last week, the Biden administration unveiled an amended immigration law enforcement plan. Frontline immigration and customs officers who chase undocumented immigrants inside – and by extension, also border patrol officers who patrol a frontera – were invited to withdraw by their boss, the secretary of the Department of Internal Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.
Specifically, US immigration officials have been encouraged not to aggressively prosecute, detain, and arrest undocumented immigrants who pose no danger. Instead, in Mayorkas’ words, officers “focus on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Officers are also supposed to note how long a person has lived in the United States and focus on removing those who have entered in the past year.
To some Americans, this policy will look like a common sense allocation of resources. To others, it will come across as lawlessness and open borders.
It is difficult to say that the borders are open when the Biden industrial deportation complex has just wiped out more than 7,000 Haitians in less than three weeks. The border isn’t any more closed than that.
The resource argument is stronger. America cannot get out of the immigration situation. It is our nation’s prerogative to expel people who are in the country illegally. But, in practice, not everyone can be apprehended, treated and deported. In addition, many of those who are deportees are likely to return, especially if their families stay on this side of the border.
Still, I fear the new policy is just a distraction away from the human rights catastrophe with Haitians. In the end, not much will change.
Because the basic border patrol officers won’t let him change. Subordinates are civil servants protected by unions who often do not like to follow orders and do not have to worry about being fired if they do not.
Law enforcement officers apply the law. That’s what they do, and that’s all they do. Having an imagination is not a requirement of the job.
The first person to show me the limits of immigration law enforcement was, ironically, someone responsible for enforcing immigration laws. Having spent time in the Peace Corps between college and law school, he had a great imagination.
John T. Morton was director of the ICE during the Obama administration’s first term, from 2009 to 2013. At first, Obama was racking up 1,000 evictions a day and telling critics he couldn’t stop the evictions because that the president is “not a king.” When Morton attended strategic meetings on immigration at the White House, his voice would have been one of the strongest in support of immigration reform.
I was not surprised. Because, on my trips to Washington and Morton’s trips to San Diego to visit the US-Mexico border, the director and I got into the habit of picking up and sitting around diet sodas.
During a sit-down in 2010, Morton told me, “When you start firing people who have been here for 25 years, it’s not that simple. There is a whole life enveloped in this person, much of it legal and positive, like the fact that they raised children here. He’s somebody’s parent, grandparent. We must ask ourselves, “Is suppression the only cure?” ” No. And it may not be the best remedy in all cases.
On another occasion he said: “Enforcement alone is not a long-term solution. It is part of the solution, but not all. We need serious people in this government to tackle this problem and find a lasting solution. “
Morton’s solution was to issue, in March 2011, a six-page internal memorandum – what journalists and immigration observers called the “Morton Memo” – to all directors of ICE field offices, frontline field workers and the chief legal advisor.
In the document, Morton said bureaucrats “may” exercise discretion and leniency towards some illegal immigrants by weighing certain factors, including the person’s length of life in the United States and their criminal record.
Seems familiar? The Mayorkas Memo is Morton’s Memo, Part II.
Although well-intentioned, Morton’s political directive was largely ignored by ICE staff. It was a big waste of time. I’m afraid – maybe someday soon – we’ll conclude the same about his successor.
Navarrette’s email address is email@example.com. His podcast, “Ruben in the Center,” is available in all podcast apps.