The Giant U.S. Deportation Machine Runs Amok

The Giant U.S. Deportation Machine Runs Amok

"Homeland Security is an agency that has lost sight of its own policies. The result is that several hundred thousand of the immigrants passing through state or county jails each year are then flagged on DHS orders—often in violation of the department's own policies meant to separate ordinary people from dangerous criminals and terrorists—and end up being deported. Some of the deportees are even U.S. citizens.

Since 2003, the department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has turned into a deportation machine, spending a budget of $18 billion that exceeds the budgets of all the rest of federal law enforcement combined—the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Secret Service—in order to deport record-breaking numbers of immigrants. At last count, ICE was deporting over 1,000 people a day—more than 400,000 a year. The agency may also have set a record for issuing enlightened policy statements about just which immigrants should be the focus of deportation efforts.

The problem is the legions of deportations bear no resemblance to the policies. The official policy is to focus deportation efforts on those who are a danger to America—convicted criminals, suspected terrorists and gang members. But every year, the percentage of deportees fitting any of those categories has proved to be a small (and shrinking) number. In the last fiscal year, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reports, less than 14.5% of those hauled into immigration court were either criminals or suspected terrorists." - Robert Morgenthau, Oct. 27, 2013.