On March 2, 2011, under growing pressure from the open borders lobby, then-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Direct John Morton issued the first of a series of memos (known as the Morton Memos) whereby the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began to implement formal measures to relax the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. Collectively, the Morton Memos constitute nothing less than the granting of administrative amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens currently in the United States.
In this first departmental memo, ICE Director Morton outlined new enforcement priorities to ensure immigration agents do not enforce the law against illegal aliens who do not meet these priorities. According to Director Morton, immigration agents are required to prioritize the apprehension, detention, and removal of:
- Aliens who pose a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety;
- Illegal aliens who have recently entered the U.S.; and
- Aliens who are fugitives or “otherwise obstruct immigration controls.”
Under this memo, ICE’s priorities do not include the vast majority of illegal aliens currently in the United States—i.e., those who have neither been convicted of a crime or have been caught and absconded. Additionally, the memo sets out guidelines for limiting detention for certain illegal aliens. Although the memo states that nothing in it shall be construed “to prohibit or discourage” enforcement of U.S. immigration laws in general, it concludes that “resources should be committed primarily to advancing the priorities set above.” Morton justifies this non-enforcement policy as the use of “prosecutorial discretion.”
Read more at FAIR’s President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.