On Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told a gathering in El Paso what is not new news, but what is staggering every time it’s repeated. “In both fiscal years 2009 and 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed more illegal immigrants from our country than ever before, with more than 779,000 removals nationwide in the last two years,” Napolitano said, the AP reported. It’s certainly not the first time Napolitano’s boasted about her agency’s immigration enforcement.
“The Obama administration must prove it is tough on illegal immigrants and can secure the country’s porous borders if it is to stand a chance of passing a comprehensive overhaul of America’s tattered immigration system,” the AP piece says, reporting as fact a political argument that is actually in great dispute.
There is what the Obama administration thinks it must do, and there is what it refuses to use its power to actually change. The odds of comprehensive immigration reform happening this or last year were nil. And still the Obama administration pressed forward with ever more enforcement and expansion of Secure Communities, the new program that allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to peer into the databases of local precincts of anyone who’s detained, fingerprinted, or arrested.
The Obama administration has steadfastly refused to consider administrative options, which are completely within the president’s power, to halt the mass deportations. According to Napolitano, among the deported have been people who were convicted of violent crimes. They make up a tiny percentage of the people who are ejected from the country every year. The majority have been convicted of no crime whatsoever. Those who did have criminal record had been found guilty of petty crimes and traffic violations.
What’s more, talk of a “porous border” ignores the fact that migration into the country is actually down. And the country has beefed up enforcement along the border to the tune of an extra $600 million Congress set aside for border militarization. The Border Patrol is the country’s largest uniformed law enforcement agency.