Top Immigration Official Hints Feds May Not Deport Immigrants Picked Up By Arizona
It may turn out to be little more than a throw-away line, but this comment from the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is certain to raise eyebrows:
Echoing comments by President Barack Obama and others in the administration, Morton said that Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration is not “good government.” The law makes it a crime to be in the state illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork.
Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.
“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said.
I’ve got to believe that this is a mistake, because if it’s a hint at what ICE’s actual policy might be once the Arizona law goes into effect in July it reveals a level of political stupidity that would really be quite extraordinary.
While I’m personally not a fan of Arizona’s approach, or of the idea of getting states into the business of immigration enforcement, there’s no denying that the law itself has hit a chord with the public. The vast majority of Arizonans, and a solid majority of Americans nationwide, support the bill and the idea of tougher immigration enforcement. The main reason for this is the perception that the Federal Government has, for a long period of time, simply failed to enforce existing law.
Under the law, ICE does have broad authority in deciding what to do with illegal immigrants that end up in it’s custody and can, in fact, decide not deport an immigrant who is here illegally. A decision to use that discretion to reject every person that Arizona turns over, however, seems to play into the general complain that the Federal Government has failed to adequately enforce the law and strikes me as potentially being political suicide for Democrats in the fall.