Obama to Immigration Cops: Ignore Inmates

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Whatever you think of President Obama’s stance on illegal immigration, you would think that at least those illegals who have committed crimes would be at the top of the list for immediate deportation. Not so, according to the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, the administration has ordered immigration officers to overlook the undocumented citizens they come across in this nation’s prisons.

At the heart of this is the notion of “sanctuary cities”: communities that have decided they are not going to cooperate with the federal government when it comes to enforcing immigration laws. Agents will still peruse inmate rolls to look for illegals who should be deported, but they will ignore anyone imprisoned due to drugs or theft. Even those who committed fraud will be left alone, if they committed that fraud in an attempt to stay in the country.

“President Obama is needlessly endangering our communities,” committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said in a statement. “It’s past time for the Obama administration to get its priorities straight and protect the American people instead of their political interests.”

The program Obama has embraced is called the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Under this system, the president hopes to keep his deportation authorities out of the courts. It is a turnaround from the previous program, Secure Communities, which had local police and immigration authorities working together to expedite the deportation of criminals. Immigration activists said this program was making Hispanics lose trust in law enforcement, making them more likely to fall victim to crime.

Hilariously, these same activists think PEP is just as problematic. They want to eliminate virtually any immigration law enforcement, and it should be obvious that their ultimate goal is to do away with border laws altogether. By caving to their wishes piecemeal, Obama sets the stage for illegal immigrants to have their run of the country. Worse, he is actively putting American communities in danger.

No one believes we should dedicate billions of dollars to round up every last illegal immigrant in the country. But even President Obama, in making the case for executive amnesty, said that his rules would make it easier to focus on the bad guys. By loosening the laws, we could free up resources that would let the federal government concentrate on the real criminals. In practice, though, it appears that even the criminals are going to be eligible for amnesty.

We can’t solve the problem of illegal immigration overnight. With eleven million here and more coming every day, this is a problem that will take time. But unless we at least start moving in the right direction, the situation will fester. It will grow worse every year. And the toll on our culture, our economy, and our very safety will be incalculable. We need a president who understands the gravity of the situation. A president willing to make the hard choices. A president willing to stand for national security, the rule of law, and the American citizenry.

It doesn’t seem like that much to ask.