The Obama administration’s new, relaxed deportation enforcement policies are so convoluted that the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its officers must carry around flash cards to help them remember which illegal aliens are the highest priority for removal.
“Every officer uses one of these cards which clearly outlines those priorities,” ICE director Sarah Saldana told Michigan U.S. Rep. John Conyers during testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Saldana, who took over ICE in December, held up a small white index card with the agency’s removal enforcement priorities listed on it.
“They carry it with them. Quite frankly, I carry it myself and try to make sure that each of these priorities — both with respect to the first one is outlined in the front, the second and third priorities on the back,” she continued, adding that the cards were part of the agency’s “effort to clarify for law enforcement where our priorities should be.”
Saldana was referring to the three enforcement priorities DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson laid out in a memorandum released on Nov. 20, the same day that President Obama announced his latest amnesty executive action.
The memo clarified that many criminal illegal aliens — such as those convicted of drunk driving, some sexual abuse crimes, and some drug offenses — are not a high priority for deportation.
The memo stated that the priority 1 illegal aliens include those who pose a threat to national security, those apprehended at the border, and violent felons. Priority 2 includes illegal aliens who have committed multiple misdemeanors or a “significant misdemeanor.” Priority 3 aliens include those who have been issued final orders or removal.
“As is true of virtually every other law enforcement agency, DHS must exercise prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement of the law,” Johnson’s Nov. 20 memo reads. “And, in the exercise of that discretion, DHS can and should develop smart enforcement priorities, and ensure that use of its limited resources is devoted to the pursuit of those priorities.”
In her testimony, Saldana said that she has instructed ICE officers and attorneys to come to her with any questions about the agency’s enforcement priorities.
“I have met with every one of the field office directors in the entire country by video,” Saldana said. “I have directed them, that if they have any questions, they are to raise it up their chain and ultimately to me who bears the ultimate responsibility with respect to the appropriate enforcement of those priorities, our training doesn’t stop just with that.”
“I have also met with our lawyers,” she continued. “There are about 900 of them across the country that work with the immigration courts in order to ensure in their review of the priorities and the people targeted for enforcement that we’re complying with those priorities.”