Second, the administration should exercise greater oversight of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which continues to vigorously detain and remove immigrants who have no criminal convictions or were found guilty of only minor infractions.
More than two years ago, Obama declared that he was focused on deporting “criminals” and “gangbangers.” He repeated that promise again last Thursday, telling the country that his administration is targeting “actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children.” Congress too has instructed ICE to “prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime.”
Unfortunately, these crystal-clear policy directives have not trickled down to ICE agents. According to a Syracuse University policy group, only 9% of the government’s nearly 223,000 deportation requests in fiscal year 2014 were based on any kind of criminal activity. In October, less than 3% of the approximately 7,000 deportation requests involved an aggravated felony, terrorism or national-security charge. The administration and Homeland Security should reassess and monitor the deportation decisions made by ICE.
Third, because many detainees are not criminals, there is no reason the administration should keep everyone locked up for weeks, months or even years at a cost of at least $120 per day.