Biden White House on track to make deportations a thing of the past
If you believe that immigration enforcement couldn't be any more handicapped under this administration, brace yourself.
Earlier this month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a memo to prosecutors that gives them the discretion to dismiss deportation cases that they deem a low priority, putting the agency more in line with Joe Biden's immigration agenda.
The memo encourages ICE attorneys to dismiss deportation cases against illegal aliens and other non-citizens if they, for example, have already been living in the United States for a long period of time, do not pose a national security threat, or do not pose any public safety threat. The White House claims that this new directive will help with the immense backlog of cases currently languishing in immigration court while also aligning ICE with the administration's ostensible goal of devoting enforcement resources to the more serious criminal foreign nationals.
In sum, Biden wants the public to believe that these actions will make the immigration system fairer and more efficient.
However, actions speak louder than words, and a cursory look at what the Biden administration has done thus far reveals what this memo is really meant to be — the latest move to effectively abolish ICE without having to actually abolish ICE.
In fiscal year 2021, Biden's first year in office, a total of 59,011 immigration violators were removed from the United States. For perspective, a total of 185,884 immigration violators were removed in FY2020. That's roughly a 70-percent decrease in deportations in just one year. This significant drop in enforcement actions is compounded by the fact that in the first four months of FY2021, in which Donald Trump was still in office, roughly 28,000 deportations occurred.
The numbers make one thing clear: the Biden administration is not interested in removing illegal aliens from the country.
To further understand how unserious this administration is about enforcing immigration law, it's imperative to look at the author of this memo: Kerry Doyle. Appointed in September 2021, Doyle serves as the principal legal adviser of ICE, making her the agency's top prosecutor in all removal proceedings. Before her appointment, Doyle worked for years as an immigration attorney in the Boston area.
Doyle adamantly opposed ICE enforcement actions and doggedly supported sanctuary city measures during her career as an immigration attorney. As recently as 2020, she spoke in favor of a Massachusetts bill, the "Safe Communities Act," that would have applied sanctuary city policies statewide and claimed that ICE was an "agency that is currently out of control."
Further investigation by my organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, found other incendiary remarks by Doyle.
Speaking before the Boston City Council in September 2019, Doyle accused ICE of being "a tool of almost terror to the immigrant [sic] community" and wanted the Boston Police Department (BPD) to believe as much. In that same testimony, she adamantly opposed the idea of the BPD sharing intelligence information with federal immigration officials. Her speech revolved around her umbrage with the Boston Regional Intelligence Center, a database the BPD uses to fight against crime and terror, which she claimed had a "very negative impact" because this information was being shared with ICE.
Doyle has long felt this way about information-sharing with ICE. She was quoted in a 2018 article lamenting that the database of suspected gang members was being used by the BPD, claiming that it was having "devastating consequences" for those on it, as they are more likely to be detained by ICE agents.
Given all of her past rhetoric, it is reasonable to conclude that Doyle is currently leading an agency she despises.
Will ICE prosecutors — led by a career anti-borders, anti-ICE activist — use this memo to make our removal process more efficient? Or will the memo be used as a pretext to virtually eliminate deportations altogether? Based on this administration's track record, the smart money is on the latter.
Jason Hopkins serves as Investigations Manager at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.