Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tension over Obama policies within Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Andrew Becker in the Washington Post reports on internal tensions in U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement over changing enforcement and detention policy.  ICE reportedly is struggling with internal divisions between political appointees and career officials over how to enforce laws and handle detainees facing deportation.  Under the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus away from the worksite raids and sweeps employed during George W. Bush's presidency to deporting more criminals and creating less prisonlike detention settings. The changes are facing resistance from agency middle managers and attorneys, and the union that represents immigration officers.

"The internal conflict has grown increasingly public over ICE's plans, among them to expand a risk assessment tool to guide agents on detention decisions, cut down on transfers of detained immigrants, and open more `civil' detention facilities -- what field directors call `soft' detention. Immigration officers say the new measures limit their enforcement efforts and the revamped lockups will compromise their safety."

In June, their union representing ICE employees voted "no confidence" in ICE director, John Morton, and the official overseeing detention reform, Phyllis Coven.


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