President Joe Biden’s already weak position on immigration continues to get even more so.
Biden has announced new rules for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service that essentially stop the agency from deporting illegal immigrants convicted of lower-level crimes.
Reports suggested that these rules would allow illegal immigrants convicted of less serious drug crimes, simple assaults, DUIs, money laundering, property crimes, fraud, tax crimes, and solicitation of prostitution to remain in the country.
When asked about the effects of this new policy on public safety on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki first referred reporter Peter Doocy to the Department of Homeland Security. But she then argued that this reorientation of ICE’s mission was intended to prioritize deportations toward “those who are posing a national security threat.”
Doocy 🔥: There’s some new reporting that ICE is going to get some new guidance to no longer focus on deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of DUI, simple assault, solicitation, drug-based crimes among other things…[H]ow that is in the interest of public safety? pic.twitter.com/kybf9wE3rt
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 8, 2021
“Nobody is saying that DUIs or assault are acceptable behavior and those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement,” Psaki replied. “But we’re talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country.”
Conservatives have long warned that such quality-of-life offenses, when unpunished, are the incubator for more serious crimes, regardless of whether committed by U.S. citizens or those who enter the country illegally.
In addition, Psaki’s non-answer to the question about public safety left unanswered what happens once local law enforcement has handled these matters. Presumably, these people will simply be released back into the country. Moreover, her response revealed that the Biden administration apparently doesn’t see or doesn’t care that not punishing such crimes will only encourage more would-be criminals to flock to America, or that protecting Americans from those who would commit such crimes is a national security issue.
The effect is not as mundane as Psaki’s reply to a reporter indicates.
In covering this issue, The Washington Post noted it represented a “major shift” in enforcement from the Trump administration. Biden seeks to “assert more control over an agency afforded wide latitude under President Donald Trump,” the Post noted.
The Post added that “frustrated ICE officials say the proposed changes will take away agents’ discretion and severely constrain their ability to arrest and deport criminals” since arresting fugitives must now be approved at the highest levels in Washington.
One anonymous DHS official told the Post, “They’ve abolished ICE without abolishing ICE. The pendulum swing is so extreme. It literally feels like we’ve gone from the ability to fully enforce our immigration laws to now being told to enforce nothing.”
To illustrate how far Biden has pushed that pendulum, the Post noted that ICE is now “more responsive to the legal and immigrant advocacy groups that were shunned by the Trump administration.”
As an example, the paper pointed out how a deportation flight to Africa planned for earlier this month was scuttled just hours after “lawyers and activist groups” asked the White House to rethink the matter, simply because “the flight to majority-Black countries had been scheduled during Black History Month.”
Just three weeks into his term Biden has announced a 100-day pause on all deportations, lifted travel restrictions imposed a countries that supported radical Islamic terrorism, restored funding for “sanctuary cities” but ended funding for the border wall and increased the number of supposed refugees.
“That’s the Biden agenda, and it’s only the beginning. Woke ‘justice’ instead of justice for Americans,” U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted in response.
“This is a bad idea by the @JoeBiden Administration that will undo the years of hard work put into improving our immigration system,” Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann from Tennessee wrote on Twitter.
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