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ICE Halts Some Deportation Proceedings

Faced with huge backlogs in immigration proceedings, Immigration and Customs Services adopted a new policy last week to cancel the deportation of thousands of detained illegal immigrants. The move fits with ICE’s policy to prioritize deportation of dangerous illegal immigrants, but it’s sure to displease pro-enforcement groups, who have accused the Obama administration of pushing for backdoor amnesty for some illegal immigrants.

The memo, dated Aug. 20, encourages ICE lawyers and officers to dismiss cases for immigrants who have active applications in the system to become citizens, provided they have clean criminal records.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) argued the policy is part of a wider effort to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S., The New York Times reported Thursday:

“Actions like this demoralize ICE agents who are trying to do their job and enforce the law,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. “Unfortunately, it appears this is more evidence that the Obama administration would rather circumvent Congress and give a free pass to illegal immigrants who have already broken our law.”

Grassley has made this case about Obama and immigration before. He repeatedly pushed for the administration declare it would not push backdoor amnesty after an undated draft memo surfaced in June with suggestions for White House action on immigration.

For its part, ICE denies that the policy enacted Aug. 20 is an effort to avoid enforcing immigration laws. “This is not a backdoor amnesty,” Beth Gibson, assistant deputy director of ICE, told the New York Times. “It is really about efficient use of docket space and smart use of everybody’s scarce resources.”

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