ICE Chief Criticizes Arizona Immigration Law

Oscar Avila, Chicago Tribune, May. 19, 2010

Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigration is not “good government,” a top Department of Homeland Security official said in Chicago on Wednesday.

John Morton, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.

“I don’t think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution,” Morton said during a visit to the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

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A former federal prosecutor, Morton said his agency intends to expand the Secure Communities initiative, which gives local sheriff’s departments and police access to a Homeland Security database that includes fingerprints. The initiative recently grew to include most of Chicago’s suburbs.

Morton also said the agency intends to increase scrutiny of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

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