On this date two years ago, the Obama Administration instructed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to refrain from enforcing the law against illegal aliens apprehended for “minor traffic offenses.” To achieve this goal, ICE changed its policies so that when the Secure Communities program identifies illegal aliens pursuant to a traffic offense, ICE will no longer ask the local jails to detain the illegal aliens so that ICE may begin deportation proceedings. As a result, the Administration significantly weakened the critical Secure Communities program, whereby federal and state/local law enforcement share data in an effort to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
News of the policy shift came in the form of a report no less. This nearly 20-page document contained the announcement of three major changes to Secure Communities:
- STOP Detaining. When state and local law enforcement stop illegal aliens for a traffic offense, ICE will no longer ask the local jails to detain the illegal aliens so that ICE may begin deportation proceedings.
- STOP Fingerprinting. The Administration encouraged local agencies not to submit fingerprints to the FBI or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for individuals arrested for “minor offenses.”
- STOP Arresting. The Administration announced plans to take action against jurisdictions with arrest rates the agency deems too high.
The sign that the Obama Administration was giving to law enforcement was clear: STOP enforcing immigration laws.
For more information, see President Obama’s Record of Dismantling Immigration Enforcement.