Why does the U.S. need to deport all illegal immigrants?
Posted On June 17, 2021
When the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix sent a memo to immigration officials on Jan. 1 announcing its plans to remove more than 1 million illegal immigrants from the country, many people thought it was the start of an amnesty.
But the U and Mexico, both allies in the immigration debate, have said the goal is to focus on deporting criminals, not immigrants who are already here.
Now, some of the nation’s top immigration lawyers are saying the president’s plan to expand deportations is nothing more than an attempt to keep the country safe and deport a small number of people who are not wanted by law enforcement.
The president’s memo, obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, outlines the administration’s plan for deporting more than 2 million people, including illegal immigrants and people who have committed crimes, and asks that their removal be done in a manner consistent with law.
The immigration law firm that worked on the memo, Morrison & Foerster, is calling it a “political document” that “violates federal law.”
The document says the president has authority under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 to change the status of any person he deems to be a national security threat.
“The president has the authority under federal law to terminate, and remove, individuals deemed by ICE to pose a threat to national security,” said a statement from the firm.
“However, the memo clearly does not comply with that law by removing these individuals from the United States.”
The memo is not the first time ICE has suggested deporting certain people under the president.
ICE spokesman Andrew Neiman said the agency does not have an exact number for the number of individuals who are considered a threat and therefore should be deported.
Neiman also said that in the memo the president is saying that any deportable criminal or national security threats should be removed.
But Neiman, who said the memo is still under review, did not say why the president wanted to prioritize those criminals and those who have been convicted of crimes.
In a separate statement, Neiman defended the memo.
“ICE has a very robust policy to determine the best fit for each individual, and the president made clear in his memo that we need to focus our resources and focus our attention on de-escalating situations where we believe that individuals have the capability to commit crimes,” Neiman wrote.
“We have no specific enforcement priorities for any specific class of criminal offenders.
ICE continues to prioritize its priority for enforcement to remove criminal aliens and those in need of removal, regardless of nationality or immigration status.”
Neiman declined to comment on whether the memo would apply to people who were already in the country and were convicted of felonies or crimes involving drugs.
“This is not an amnesty, nor is it a change of policy,” he said.
“Our policy for the removal of criminal aliens remains unchanged.”
Neimans response came after ICE issued an internal memo on Jan 5, calling for a targeted deportation program that targeted criminals, people who may pose a public safety threat or who have already committed a crime.
The memo said the program would focus on “those individuals with the highest risk of re-entering the country” who were “impaired or impaired” or “have committed a violent felony or a serious misdemeanor” or have been charged with a violent crime.
“Any person with a history of criminal activity, including violent felony convictions, is ineligible for removal from the U