|ICE Slips DREAM Act in Through the Backdoor|
By Ashton Ellis
Thursday, June 30 2011
With budgets tight and duties being reprioritized, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency gave a gift to the pro-amnesty crowd by implementing parts of the deeply unpopular DREAM Act without Congressional approval. By doing so, ICE bypassed the democratic process in favor of delivering another blow to the rule of law.
On June 17, ICE director John Morton issued a memorandum to all personnel outlining the agency’s strategy for enforcing its mandates while staying on budget. Citing tight resources, Morton said that the agency now expects its personnel to use “prosecutorial discretion” in deciding how to arrange the deportation line.
Among other factors, the ICE memo directs agents to use the following criteria when making deportation decisions:
The effect of these new guidelines is to virtually guarantee that illegal immigrants falling into these categories will never be deported. Under the new scheme outlined in the ICE memo, being in the United States illegally will no longer be enough to earn a deportation. Instead, with ICE’s new mandated form of “prosecutorial discretion,” an illegal immigrant must commit a violent or other criminal offense in addition to international trespassing in order to rouse the federal government to action.
Moreover, those factors are suspiciously similar to those found in the so-called DREAM Act, a liberal attempt to grant amnesty to the children of illegal immigrants who serve in the military or attend college. Although a version of the DREAM Act has kicked around Congress for years, it has never passed – including a “no” vote last December – because it fails to address the lack of border security and respect for the rule of law.
Undeterred, ICE Director Morton is directing his subordinates to implement a law that doesn’t exist under the pretense that he doesn’t have enough money to enforce the law as intended. But if the problem is really a lack of funds, why not petition Congress for more money? Does the Director of ICE really think that securing America’s borders is anything other than a first-tier issue for a majority of voters?
More likely the ICE chief got the message that those heading executive agencies in the Obama Administration are expected to tow the liberal line even when it conflicts with the rule of law. Attorney General Eric Holder, Morton’s boss, had already announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. Perhaps trying to outdo the AG, Morton decided to go to the other extreme: Enforce a law that doesn’t exist!
In his haste to make an end-run around the legislative process, Morton forgot that his decision not to enforce the deportation law means greater tax expenditures for the nation as a whole.
Serving in the United States military is a federal job with lifetime benefits. Going to college requires all but the wealthiest students to take out large federal loans to pay for tuition and the cost of living. Both of those career decisions are heavily subsidized by federal taxpayers.
At least under the DREAM Act, those activities would transform the illegal immigrant into an American citizen. Under ICE’s unaccountable new scheme, the same illegal immigrants would remain illegal while enjoying some of the most generous financial perks of American citizenship.
Bear in mind, the ICE memo’s “prosecutorial discretion” directive only applies to immigrants who are in the United States illegally. No one disputes that the people under consideration are by law deportable. Yet applying the DREAM Act’s formula for amnesty without the authority to grant citizenship will lead to an even more divisive situation: Permanent illegal immigrants enjoying lifetime federal benefits.
Whoever thought “hope” and “change” applied to illegal immigrants getting the benefits of citizenship without its duties?
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