ICE Speaks Up for State and Local Immigration Enforcement

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on January 23, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the coliseum, where open-borders advocates and other strident ethnic activists thought the lions would deal a final blow to state and local immigration enforcement. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official — from the Obama administration, no less — actually defended the program. ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton praised the 287(g) program in comments reported by the Arizona Republic.

In Arizona and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County, “ground zero” for attacking the program that involves state and local police in the enforcement of immigration laws, the Left staged a pseudo-event, a protest march last weekend against America’s most popular sheriff, his agency’s involvement in the 287(g) program, and the program itself. The notoriously soft-on-immigration-crime/pro-amnesty Obama administration has already dumbed down the 287(g) program. It trumped up a witchhunt against Sheriff Arpaio. And it has slow-walked and bureaucratized the enrollment process to discourage the many law enforcement agencies trying to get into 287(g).

Pay attention, because Morton is likely to be canned. What he said diametrically opposes the ideology of the Obama-Janet Napolitano crowd. Morton refreshingly admitted it’s important to enforce immigration violations on their own; he said the country can’t afford to turn "a blind eye to people who are here unlawfully simply because they don't have a criminal record." And as for Sheriff Arpaio’s operation, Morton said, "Sixty nine percent of the people we receive in Maricopa County have been convicted of Level 1 and Level 2 offenses, which are serious felony offenses, drug trafficking, assaults, rape."

Jessica Vaughan and I have analyzed the many merits and benefits of the 287(g) program in our backgrounder, "The 287(g) Program: Protecting Home Towns and Homeland." Still, don’t expect to hear any more positive remarks about state and local police helping in immigration enforcement. These latest comments from a high official in ICE probably put him on thin ice with his higher-ups and in their crosshairs.