Even as immigration-enforcement officers across the country are breathing what one deportation officer described as “a collective sigh of relief” following Donald Trump’s election, the president-elect’s announcement on 60 Minutesthat he plans to start with the estimated 2 million criminal aliens has been met with a combination of scorn and skepticism, at least in the mainstream news media and illegal-alien advocacy circles. But Trump’s enforcement approach is not only reasonable, it is very feasible, and will address the most disastrous failings of the Obama administration’s faux-enforcement regime, which brought interior deportations to a ten-year low and caused the release of tens of thousands of criminal aliens back to our communities to reoffend, instead of back to their homelands.
Said Trump: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.”
Now, this statement is a significant softening in tone and scale from some of Trump’s campaign statements, in which he suggested that the entire population of nearly 12 million illegal aliens could be subject to deportation. It’s important to affirm that principle — that anyone here illegally is potentially at risk of being sent home — but it makes good sense to start with those who are also breaking other laws.
While some illegal-alien advocates have accused Trump of exaggerating the size of the criminal alien population, he’s quite right on this. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that is responsible for carrying out deportations in the interior, there are approximately 1.9 million deportable criminal aliens in the country. It is able to estimate this because, since 2012, ICE has been receiving the fingerprints of everyone who is arrested or booked into a jail, and because ICE has officers screening inmates in most major correctional systems (except some of the sanctuary cities, where they are denied access to inmates).
ICE’s estimate does not include all of the immigration fugitives who skipped out on their hearings; currently there are more than 940,000 aliens who have been ordered removed but are still here. Nor does it include all those who were kicked out of the country but returned; that figure is unknown. Nor does it include aliens who committed a crime but were never convicted (often because they jumped bail or were released by a sanctuary), or the many illegal-alien gang members who are on the streets in greater numbers, and who were formerly an arrest priority for ICE but are now largely left for local law enforcement to handle.
Come January 21, we can expect that all of these cases will again, appropriately, become a priority for enforcement. There is nowhere to go but up in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of the immigration-enforcement agencies.
President Obama made a big show of focusing enforcement on criminal aliens; the targets were “felons, not families,” he said, “the worst of the worst.” He claimed to have achieved “record” deportations. Those “record” deportations were achieved by cooking the books, and the statistics were “a little deceiving,” in the president’s words. In a departure from past practice, ICE under Obama began counting in its annual totals the deportations of aliens arrested by the Border Patrol. That masked a big drop in the number of deportations from the interior, which is where most of the criminal aliens are.
In 2016, interior deportations are about one-fourth of what they were at the peak under Obama, and criminal deportations have declined by more than 50 percent. By every measure, ICE is now doing less enforcement with more resources than ever before. This means that it will be neither hard nor expensive to achieve a significant boost in enforcement and to make a big dent in the target of 2 to 3 million priority deportations, including those of the criminals.
The first step will be to let the career officers and agents of the immigration-enforcement agencies do their job and apply the law. One deportation officer has told me that currently one of the easiest ways to attract negative attention from a supervisor is to be caught putting someone into deportation proceedings who is not a violent felon but “just” a drunk driver or wife-beater.
That will change as soon as President Trump makes good on his promise to cancel improper executive actions, including the directives for ICE officers to refrain from initiating deportation until someone is convicted of a serious felony or several misdemeanors. This means scrapping the disastrous Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which has drawn the ire of the National Sheriffs Association, among others, and forced local ICE offices to release of thousands of deportable criminals, including Eswin Mejia, an illegal alien with prior arrests who killed 21-year old Sarah Root in Omaha, Neb., while drag-racing drunk in January of this year. Like many of the 86,000 convicted criminals released by ICE since 2013, Mejia is now a fugitive but considered a “non-criminal,” because he has yet to be tried and convicted for Root’s death.
Enforcement opponents maintain that even if the Obama prioritization scheme is rescinded, there is no way that 2 to 3 million criminal aliens can possibly be found and processed in just a few years, because the immigration courts are hopelessly backlogged.
Trump should build walls around the sanctuary cities so they can keep their beloved criminal illegal immigrants close.
Start with all the cities that are Sancuary cities arrest their mayors and city councils then the illegal aliens arrest Obama Clinton,Gore, the anti trump rioters and deport them to jupiter to keep cher company