Right-wing media criticized U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for declining to deport six undocumented students who were arrested while participating in a non-violent protest against the immigration policies of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. However, ICE has limited resources and determined that the students did not fall under its enforcement priorities, which focus on "national security, public safety, and border security."
Immigrants Conduct Non-Violent Protest Of Sheriff Joe Arpaio Controversial Immigration Policies
Six Non-Violent Student Protesters Arrested While Protesting Arpaio's Controversial Immigration Policies. From The Arizona Republic:
Six of the nearly 150 young people were taken into custody Tuesday after taking to the streets in front of Trevor Browne High School in Phoenix to protest the immigration policies of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The protesters, consisting of students from Trevor Browne, other area high schools and colleges, rallied in the intersection of 75th Avenue and Cheery Lynn Street, forcing the closure of 75th Avenue in both directions.
Four women, including two under age 18, and two men were arrested and are expected to be charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a thoroughfare, according to Phoenix police.
[Phoenix police spokesman Officer James Holmes] added that the demonstrators were never physically aggressive and the outcome "appeared to be a success" for both protesters and police. [The Arizona Republic, 3/20/12]
DOJ: Arpaio's Office Had "A Pervasive Culture Of Discriminatory Bias Against Latinos." A federal Department of Justice investigation initiated during the Bush administration alleged that Arpaio's office had "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos" and that Arpaio himself helped foster this "culture of bias." [The New York Times, 12/15/11]
Right-Wing Media Attack ICE For Not Deporting The Non-Violent Immigrants Who Protested Against Arpaio
Fox Nation: "Illegals Arrested At Arpaio Protest ... ICE Lets Them Stay In USA." Fox Nation linked to an Associated Press article on the protesters with the headline "Illegals Arrested at Arpaio Protest ... ICE Lets Them Stay in USA."
[Fox Nation, 3/22/12]
The Blaze: "Feds Refuse To Deport 6 Illegals Protesting AZ Immigration Policies." Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze, added their own suggestive title to the Associated Press story about six undocumented immigrants being arrested and then released during a protest in Arizona against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's immigration policies. [The Blaze, 3/22/12]
Michelle Malkin's Twitchy On ICE Decision: " 'Enforcement Priorities' Trump Law. That's The Obama Way." A post on conservative pundit Michelle Malkin's new website, Twitchy.com, stated:
In Phoenix, from Fox:
Federal authorities say they won't deport six illegal immigrants arrested during a Phoenix protest over Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's (ar-PY'-ohs) immigration policies.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Wednesday that they determined that the protesters did not fall under "ICE's enforcement priorities."
Nearly 150 people were at Tuesday's rally, which blocked a street in front of a high school.
'Enforcement priorities' trump law. That's the Obama Way.
In Mexico, things are a little different. American students wandering through groups of political demonstrators have had their passports revoked and have been sent back to the US. At the same time, our government agencies actually encourage agencies of the Mexican government and Mexican NGOs to file lawsuits and amicus briefs arguing against US laws and policies. [Twitchy.com, 3/22/12]
ICE's Focus Is On "Removal Of Criminal Aliens"
ICE Seeks To Prioritize Deportations That Promote "National Security, Public Safety, And Border Security." In a March 2 memo, ICE director John Morton explained that in allocating limited resources, ICE would prioritize the detention and removal of undocumented immigrants "who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety," undocumented immigrants who have recently entered the United States illegally, and undocumented immigrants "who are fugitives or otherwise obstruct immigration controls." The memo states:
ICE, however, only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal alien population in the United States. In light of the large number of administrative violations the agency is charged with addressing and the limited enforcement resources the agency has available, ICE must prioritize the use of its enforcement personnel, detention space, and removal resources to ensure that the removals the agency does conduct promote the agency's highest enforcement priorities, namely national security, public safety, and border security.
Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to prohibit or discourage the apprehension, detention, or removal of other aliens unlawfully in the United States. ICE special agents, officers, and attorneys may pursue the removal of any alien unlawfully in the United States, although attention to these aliens should not displace or disrupt the resources needed to remove aliens who are a higher priority. Resources should be committed primarily to advancing the priorities set forth above in order to best protect national security and public safety and to secure the border. [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 3/2/11]
ICE Determined Protesters Should Not Be Held For Deportation, Because They Aren't "Criminal Aliens, Recent Border Crossers [Or] Egregious Immigration Law Violators." ICE officials released a statement saying they will not deport the undocumented protesters who were arrested in Arizona, and will instead focus on "smart, effective immigration enforcement." The Arizona Republic reported:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released a statement Wednesday afternoon they will not deport six undocumented people arrested Tuesday after protesting in front of Trevor Browne High School.
"Upon further review, ICE has determined that these individuals do not fall under ICE's enforcement priorities and the agency has lifted the previously lodged detainers," the statement said.
The statement went on to say that "ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States." [The Arizona Republic, 3/21/12]
Removal Statistics Show ICE Is Using Almost All Its Resources To Deport Criminals And Other Targeted Individuals
ICE Director: ICE "Only Has Resources To Remove Approximately 400,000" Undocumented Immigrants Per Year. ICE director John Morton emphasized the organizations lack of resources explaining that ICE "only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year, less than 4 percent of the estimated illegal alien population in the United States." [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 3/2/11]
ICE Statistics Show That Ninety Percent Of The Nearly 400,000 Immigrants Removed In 2011 Fell Into One Of ICE's Enforcement Priorities. Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security show that more than 90 percent of the 396,906 individuals ICE removed in fiscal year 2011 fell into one of ICE's enforcement priorities:
[U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accessed 3/23/12]
Furthermore, The Most Recent ICE Statistics Show ICE Total Removals Steadily Increased From FY 2007 to FY 2011. [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, accessed 3/23/12]