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The Obama Administration has responded to immigrant rights advocates at long last and called for major changes in immigration policies. Chief among these is the shutting down of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In a press release issued late today, President Obama stated that the agency was largely ineffective and expensive, and called for a complete overhaul of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an agency that has faced scrutiny since its inception. This move was probably undertaken as a result of countless congressional hearings, lawsuits, and leaked memos that established ICE — the enforcement arm of DHS — as a rogue agency with a disturbing agenda.
Just recently, Assistant DHS Secretary John Morton faced a lot of heat for being at the helm of ICE. As a response to the leaked memo that called on ICE to increase deportation quotas, immigration advocates held a press conference demanding that the White House take action against Morton for turning ICE into a rogue agency. It seems like the White House listened and decided re-evaluate its immigration priorities by getting rid of the whole agency.
But maybe it is all about the economy rather than pressure from outside forces. Hearsay has it that USCIS Director Andrew Mayorkas pushed from the inside to get rid of immigration enforcement, given that lawsuits were costing the agency millions of dollars, in addition to countless resources, thereby leading to a defunct organization with massive visa backlogs. With ICE gone, now USCIS would only need to worry about the lawsuits that it gets from inappropriately denying visas to law-abiding people.
Roberto G. Medina, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso, stated that he is not too concerned about losing his job even in this bad economy. “Since I know so much about immigration policies, I can just get a job at one of the organizations that are part of the Reform Immigration for America campaign. Yes it irks me that I would be working for legalization of undocumented immigrants, but I have to support my family and the campaign has the money.”
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was hiding out in the closet and could not be reached for a statement.
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Photo Credit: D.C.Atty