Would any immigration legislation that grants amnesty to current illegal aliens in exchange for future commitments to enforce our immigration laws be worth the paper it is printed on? Leaving aside the obvious question of why we should feel compelled to cut a deal with the people who have broken our laws before our government will even promise to try harder in the future, the answer is a resounding, unequivocal, categorical, NO!

As if any more evidence was needed, a June 17 memo issued by John Morton, director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, under the bureaucratic heading, “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens,” makes it clear that the American people cannot trust this administration to enforce our immigration laws. The memo brazenly asserts the discretionary authority of ICE to disregard the immigration laws enacted by Congress by simply not enforcing them. The unmistakable message – explicitly laid out in six pages – is that the Obama administration will only enforce the laws it wants to enforce.

Morton lists 19 “relevant factors” in determining whether “ICE officers, agents and attorneys” should exercise what the administration claims to be its “prosecutorial discretion” not to enforce immigration laws. As extensive as Morton’s detailed list of reasons for not enforcing immigration laws is, the director leaves open the possibility that he does not want to discourage others from finding more reasons not to enforce the law. “This is not an exhaustive list and no one factor is determinative,” Morton notes.

Thus, there is no reason for anyone to believe that any promises made in exchange for securing amnesty for current illegal aliens would ever be kept. Under this administration, “comprehensive immigration reform” is not merely a euphemism for amnesty; it is a call for Congress to write still more laws that the executive branch will feel free to ignore.