Obama to Increase Border Patrols
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported 380,000 illegal immigrants from the U.S. in the last fiscal year. About one third of the deportees were convicted criminals. In the last seven months, since the start of 2010, some 136,000 illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals have been deported.
In an interview with Yahoo News on Thursday August 12, 2010, ICE Director John Morton said it was the most illegal immigrants the federal government has deported from the U.S. than ever before.
“For those who doubt the federal government’s resolve in the enforcement of immigration law, let me say this: We are committed to strong, effective immigration enforcement, and the facts speak for themselves,” he said. “Is there more work to be done? Absolutely. Is the problem a significant one, a challenging one for the nation? Absolutely, but we’re in this for the long haul. … We’re going to get this right.”
Morton told Yahoo News that Border staffing was at an all-time high and will only increase under a $600 million plan by President Barack Obama to put more agents and equipment along the Mexican border.
The measure, which Obama plans to sign soon is expected to provide funding for the hiring of 1,000 new Border Patrol agents to be deployed at critical areas along the border, 250 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and 250 more Customs and Border Protection officers.
The move follows criticisms from politicians and citizens in the U.S.A. who claimed that the federal government was not doing its job despite the increased efforts and deportations.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had cited government’s inaction as a reason for introducing the state’s new immigration law which sparked a national illegal immigration debate. The law became effective on July 29, 2010 after a judge had ruled to block its most controversial sections, including a section that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. Brewer has appealed the Judge’s decision and said she was prepared to take it to the Supreme Court if necessary.
Speaking about the ICE’s work in Arizona, Morton told Yahoo News that during an average week, his agency removed some 1,500 illegal immigrants from the state, arrested five human smugglers, investigated three drop houses, inspected the employment records of 526 people working for state companies and had seized a ton of marijuana.
With respect to Arizona’s new law, Morton said ICE was already working with state and local agencies to combat illegal immigration, and that “we don’t think that 50 different immigration enforcement regimes is the answer.”
He reiterated that the answer was uniform federal immigration reform.
“You’ve got to have comprehensive reform that recognizes a need for strong border security, a need for strong interior enforcement, but also a means for families and workers to come here lawfully … and an ability for people who’ve been here for a very long time to get right with the law by paying a fine and learning English and paying their taxes, and getting to the back of the line,” Morton told Yahoo News.
He also announced the results of a three-day statewide operation which he praised as the largest of its kind in Arizona. The operation, which ended on Wednesday evening (July 11, 2020), resulted in the arrest of 63 illegal immigrants who are convicted criminals and immigrants with outstanding orders of deportation who had failed to leave the country.
Some 25 have already been deported from the United States. A conviction of felony re-entry into the U.S. carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.