Will a Republican House mean beefed-up immigration enforcement and more deportations?
With the GOP set to take over the House in January, I’ve been trying to pinpoint some immigration proposals — if any exist — that House Republicans, Senate Democrats and President Obama might agree on. Beyond mandating E-Verify and banning “sanctuary cities,” the next session might see a more robust Immigration and Customs Enforcement, meaning more illegal immigrants could be sought out and deported.
ICE removals are at a record high this year, but Republicans still accuse the Obama administration of lax enforcement. In their defense, administration officials have insisted their policies reflect a commitment to using resources to prioritize removal of the most dangerous undocumented immigrants. ICE Chief John Morton has said current funding allows for about 400,000 illegal immigrants to be deported each year. Republicans contend the administration never asked for more money.
“ICE has cited a lack of resources as one of the reasons for its prioritization of cases and for its selective enforcement,” Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Oct. 21 . “But to date, we have not seen any efforts by ICE, your Department, or the Administration to request an increase in ICE funding. … As a result, it appears that your Department is doing the very thing that we have raised concerns about in several letters – allowing illegal aliens to evade the law.”
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told TWI he thinks the House could try to give ICE more funding even if the agency does not request it. “When the administration asks for money for detention beds, I could see the House giving them more than they request,” he said.
Of course, any increase in funding in the current economic climate could be difficult, and it’s possible Republicans wouldn’t even go down this path given their statements on reducing spending. But if Republicans were able to find a way to pay for the bill, it is possible the White House would accept the funds, given insistence from ICE that it deports as many illegal immigrants as possible given its funding.