In which President Obama’s I.C.E. plan some new tactics for escalating their deportations of undocumented immigrants — destroying lives and separating families — for the sake of keeping up their stats. To keep up their stats, they implement a combination of the worst sorts of profiling and police-state dragnets. From USA Today (emphasis added):
WASHINGTON – U.S. immigration officials laid out plans last year that would ratchet up expulsions of immigrants convicted of minor crimes as part of an urgent push to make sure the government would not fall short of its criminal deportation targets, new records obtained by USA TODAY show.
Among those new tactics – detailed in interviews and internal e-mails – were TROLLING STATE DRIVER’S LICENSE RECORDS for information about foreign-born applicants, DISPATCHING U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE) AGENTS TO TRAFFIC SAFETY CHECKPOINTS CONDUCTED BY POLICE DEPARTMENTS, and PROCESSING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS [sic] WHO HAD BEEN BOOKED INTO JAILS FOR LOW-LEVEL OFFENSES. Records show ICE officials in Washington approved some of those steps.
President Obama’s administration has made deporting convicted criminals a central feature of its immigration policy, while also saying it would halt some efforts to remove low-priority immigrants who pose little risk to public safety. [sic — see above; see below] . . . By the time the government’s fiscal year ended in September, ICE had deported 225,390 criminal immigrants [sic] – a record, and well above the agency’s target of 210,000. ICE has not specified how many of those deportations were based on minor offenses; the year before, it reported that MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE PEOPLE IT CLASSIFIED AS CRIMINALS HAD BEEN CONVICTED ONLY OF TRAFFIC OFFENSES. . . .
— Brad Heath Immigration tactics aimed at boosting deportations, in USA Today (17 Feb 2013)
Now I should take a moment to say that even if this sort of quota-filling violence, data-mining surveillance and police-state dragnets only netted people guilty of
major criminal offenses (and not bullshit traffic offenses or drug beefs), then this would still be absolutely appalling, because the police-state means are appalling whatever results you might be able get from them; and also because there is no reason at all other than pure discrimination for immigrants convicted of crimes to be punished not only by the usual jail sentence, but also by then being exiled from their homes and banished from the country, when non-immigrants convicted of similar crimes are not.
However, as it stands, the claim that the administration’s tactics are targeting those who
pose a risk to public safety are purely propagandistic lies. In either case, adopting these tactics in order to destroy people’s lives and livelihoods, for the sake of meeting bureaucratic statistical targets is despicable.
This story comes via Flavia Isabel’s A Really Complicated Chart About Deportation Policy, which is also great, and well worth reading.