Saturday, January 7, 2012
Julia Preston writes in the NY Times:
The federal agency in charge of deportations is conducting a far-reaching training course to push immigration enforcement officers and prosecutors nationwide to focus their efforts on removing immigrants convicted of crimes.
The training course is the clearest sign yet that administration officials want to transform the way immigration officers work, asking them to make nuanced decisions to speed deportations of high-risk offenders while halting those of illegal immigrants with clean records and strong ties to the country. The policy is President Obama’s most ambitious immigration initiative before the November elections, senior administration officials said.
But in a new sign of the deep dissension over immigration, the union representing some 7,000 deportation officers of the agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, has so far not allowed its members to participate in the training. Without the formal assent of the union, the administration’s strategy could be significantly slowed for months in labor negotiations.
...The cornerstone of the policy is a June 17 memorandum by John Morton, the director of ICE, in which he laid out a list of no fewer than 31 factors that ICE officers should weigh when deciding whether to proceed with a deportation. Peter S. Vincent, ICE’s top lawyer, added further guidelines on Nov. 17. Read more...