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4 fixes from Congress to prevent ICE agents from being crushed

Conservative Review

It’s a perfect racket to steal the sovereignty of the American people: illegal aliens flood our country in such large numbers and then use our own generosity and the runaway courts against the citizenry. In order to bend over backwards to grant each individual due process they historically were never entitled to, ICE agents delay deportations for months, prompting the courts to demand the release of thousands of aliens. Unfortunately, as a new report from the DHS Inspector General reveals, there are too many illegals and too few agents to deport the bulk of them within the court-mandated time period, resulting in the indefinite release of hundreds of thousands of people who have no right to be in this country.

Here are some of the key findings from the IG’s report, which reviewed ICE’s operations as of last year when Obama was still in office:

  • As of August 2016, ICE was overseeing 2.3 million illegal aliens who were released from detention, 368,574 of whom had prior criminal convictions but were allowed to remain in the country. Nearly one million have already received final deportation orders.
  • Only a small percentage of this pool of illegals is deported in a given year. In fiscal year 2015, ICE removed or returned 235,413 illegal immigrants.
  • While those released from detention, due to runaway court decisions, are officially supervised by ICE, the report found that in some field offices there is only one agent per 10,000 released aliens. This is a de facto ticket to remaining in the country indefinitely. Worse, the report found that that “a heavy workload limited oversight of non-detained aliens in that geographic area that ICE had flagged as risks to national security.”

Naturally, the Inspector General recommended throwing more money at the problem and hiring more agents as well as spending more money on training. Undoubtedly, until there are systemic changes made to our laws and the role of the courts in immigration policy, there is a need to hire more staff. After all, there is no greater role of the federal government than protecting national sovereignty. Historically, we never allowed a single public charge to enter the country, much less millions of predominantly impoverished and often criminal individuals to remain here illegally. To that end, the Trump administration has rightfully proposed hiring 10,000 new ICE agents and is requesting an additional $3 billion for the remainder of FY 2017. Sadly, Republicans appear ready to fund Planned Parenthood and refugee resettlement in next week’s budget, but not the much-needed beefing up of immigration enforcement resources.

However, as is the case with most problems in government, this is a policy problem more than a resource problem. That is why it’s time for Congress to either clarify some of the loopholes in statute that courts are abusing or kick the courts out of immigration altogether. I proposed 20 immigration and homeland security ideas for Congress to pursue at the beginning of the session, yet they have refused to touch this issue in the first 100 days. President Trump (on the days when President Kushner is not presiding) should demand from GOP leadership the following four fixes:

  1. Restrain the courts: Congress must overturn the Zadvydas decision, which mandated the release of most aliens from detention after six months. Ironically, by affording illegals procedural due process against deportation — which takes a long time due to the mass invasion of criminal aliens — our immigration officials are accused of violating their rights. They are using our own compassion against us. Because of the sheer number of illegals, the desire to vet any asylum claims, the effort to humanely return them to workable circumstances, and the recalcitrance of many countries to repatriate their illegals, it takes a while to deport these individuals. They are using the courts to obtain release and disappear into our communities. This is fundamentally unfair to a sovereign nation. These illegals came here of their own volition and always have the opportunity to voluntarily depart to their country of origin. They have no affirmative right to demand a day in court to litigate a right to stay in this country but at the same time demand to be released from detention. Congress must update the law to mandate detention for any alien whom we are making a reasonable effort to deport.
  2. Fix asylum loophole: Many of the cases in the immigration courts are the result of smugglers exploiting our asylum policies. Congress and the State Department must enforce international law requiring asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the first safe country they encounter in their journey. Congress must also better define the statutory language of persecuted “social group” so that it remains in line with the traditional impetus for our asylum laws: to protect religious and ethnic minorities.
  3. Expand expedited deportations and deputize states to help with enforcement: Pass the Davis-Oliver Interior Enforcement Act, which punishes sanctuary cities, deputizes states to enforce immigration laws, and bolsters expedited deportations. Under current law and practice, expedited deportations are rarely utilized and are never used for those in the country for more than two years.
  4. Immediate funding for border fence: The IG’s report is yet another demonstration of how interior enforcement is so costly and inefficient. Obviously, in the short run, we must have a robust interior enforcement regime to compensate for two decades of failed immigration policies. But in the long term, there is no more efficient way to deal with immigration than to prevent them from coming here to begin with, thereby precluding the cumbersome legal problems. This is why Trump must demand that Congress fund the border wall in the upcoming budget.

Many of these reforms can be done administratively; simply by clarifying the true meaning of existing statutes. However, unless Congress gets involved and explicitly reclaims power from the courts, we will continue to suffer from judicial amnesty.

Immigration is the issue of our time, and Trump was elected to deal with this problem more than any other issue. Instead of trying to repackage a phony repeal of Obamacare, Trump should work with conservatives to finally reclaim our sovereignty. And while he is at it, he should stop obsessing about the so-called “Dreamers” and learn from the Rockville rape tragedy that Americans must come first. As the president said during his address before Congress, “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.”

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