Just in time for the immigration debate in the House, the Obama administration sent a memo to ICE agents telling them they couldn't arrest and deport illegal alien parents who had minor children.
The Obama administration issued a new policy Friday that says immigration agents should try not to arrest and deport illegal immigrant parents of minor children. The move adds to the categories of people the administration is trying not to deport.
In a nine-page memo, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said agents should use "prosecutorial discretion" to try to avoid detaining parents and, if parents are detained, agents should make sure they have the ability to visit with their children or participate in family court proceedings.
The move won praise from immigrant-rights groups who said it's a step toward a less harsh detention policy. But a top Republican blasted the memo as another effort by the Obama administration to circumvent the law.
"President Obama has once again abused his authority and unilaterally refused to enforce our current immigration laws by directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to stop removing broad categories of unlawful immigrants," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican.
Mr. Goodlatte, whose committee is in charge of many of the immigration bills the House could consider later this year and who is working on a legalization bill for young illegal immigrants, said the Obama administration move "poisons the debate" and shows the president is trying to "politicize the issue" rather than work for a compromise bill.
The memo is the latest in a series of directives issued by ICE and by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that try to lay out priorities for who the government will detain and try to deport.
Ms. Napolitano says her department is only funded to deport about 400,000 immigrants a year, out of a total population of about 11 million. She said it makes sense to focus those deportation efforts on immigrants with serious criminal records or who have repeatedly violated immigration laws.
You can be sympathetic to the families while understanding that the situation they're in would not have arisen if they hadn't snuck across the border in the first place.What having minor children if you're an illegal has to do with immigration enforcement is a mystery, except that anytime children are involved, the open borders crowd makes sure to pour on the melodrama.
The policy is pure pandering to Hispanics. Democrats are apparently desperate to lock up the Hispanic vote for 2014, given how far they've fallen with other groups. No doubt La Raza and their ilk will cheer the non-enforcement of the law.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky