U.S. Ending Pursuit of Illegal Immigrants Who Commit Minor Crimes

Matt O’Brien, Mercury News, December 21, 2012

Federal agents no longer will scoop up jailed illegal immigrants who had been picked up by police for traffic offenses and other petty crimes, the nation’s top immigration enforcer announced Friday.

“We are changing who” we seek to deport, said John Morton, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The new policy, Morton said, restricts action “against individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses . . . helping to ensure that available resources are focused on apprehending felons, repeat offenders and other ICE priorities,” according to a written statement.

At the same time, he announced the United States had deported a record 409,000 people in the past year.

The policy change drew mild praise and stronger criticism from a number of sources. The American Civil Liberties Union and the California Immigrant Policy Center welcomed it but hit what they called the continuing lack of due process that deprives illegal immigrants of access to courts. {snip}

Many called for passage of a California “Trust Act” to protect illegal immigrants who largely abide by the law, a measure Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed in September. The governor’s veto message said he would support a bill if it ensures immigrants with “troubling criminal records” are kept in custody.


Morton changed the national policy just as sheriffs around the Bay Area were rethinking their cooperation with the controversial federal Secure Communities immigration program.

Their shift responds to the immigrant community concerns in places such as Contra Costa County, which is among the top counties nationwide in sending people without criminal records to deportation.


Secure Communities “was intended to target the most dangerous and serious criminals,” said Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston. “In practice it may be something different from that.”

Livingston and his counterparts in Alameda, Napa and San Mateo counties had begun talking about whether to free such immigrants if there was no reason beyond their immigration status to hold them.


Los Angeles and San Diego counties were also re-evaluating their approach. Santa Clara County, an early critic of Secure Communities that fought to opt out of the program, has since limited who it holds for immigration agents.

Livingston said this week he plans to stop holding immigrants for federal agents if all the immigrants did was drive without a license, drink in public or commit other minor offenses.


State Attorney General Kamala Harris on Dec. 4 issued an opinion finding that police are not obligated to respond to ICE requests to detain low-level offenders.


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  • Triarius

    Their mere presence is a crime. Why don’t you try going after them for breaking immigration laws.

    • lily-white

      “Many called for passage of a California “Trust Act” to protect illegal immigrants who largely abide by the law”… so there is your logic…

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      This. They should be deported as soon as they’re found to be here illegally, regardless of if they’ve committed any other crimes.

    • fakeemail

      Not any more. Soon a white man’s mere’s presence will be the crime. Might makes right. All else is illusion.

  • The__Bobster

    And the race replacement agenda continues without missing a beat.

  • pcmustgo

    “petty crimes” like stealing and theft and shop-lifting?

    • i am

      assault, battery, home invasion, drunk driving, check fraud, welfare fraud, credit card fraud, and other stuff like that.

  • Ulick

    They’re already in police custody. Is it really that arduous to then send them packing?

    • ageofknowledge

      They’ll just be released to create more unwanted children for the taxpayers to raise and later incarcerate after they join a streetgang. Irresponsibility breeds irresponsibility.

  • bluffcreek1967

    This is just another indication that our beloved country is doomed. We are going the way of a third-world nation. We are falling so quickly now that its difficult to keep up with the pace of it all!

    • EndTimesComing

      Liberal politicians and judges are firmly convinced it is better to rule over a third world hell than serve in a free Republic established by First World peoples.

  • lily-white

    Something isn’t it… since 911 we have created the best
    police state money can buy (Department of Homeland Security)… yet, they are
    directed by presidential decree to mostly turn a blind eye to the invaders…

    And now the mulatto messiah wants your assault weapons that
    could be used to suppress any further resistance to the invasion… no, excuse
    me, we are turning those in to “protect the children”… my bad…

  • bluffcreek1967

    Ca State Attorney General, Kamala Harris (a Black liberal, originally the DA of SF before her promotion to AG) is a hard-core Leftist who opposed the death penalty of a Black ghetto thug who killed a SF police officer in 2003. She is typical of the ‘enemies within’ that have infiltrated our high government positions. Can we expect anything less from that Leftist asylum known as San Francisco?

  • odius liberal

    Can I comit a host of “petty” crimes without fear of reprisal?

  • archer

    What’s the problem? If they commit any crime it’s time for them to go. A minor crime today, isn’t that how it’s starts out with minor infractions that escalate in the future to the more serious. Let’s stop being compassion queens and send them all back, it’s not like they make any meaningful contribution to this country on the whole, and let’s stop calling it a immigration problem when we all know it’s been an invasion.

  • mobilebay

    # 1 oxymoron – law-abiding illegal aliens.

  • mobilebay

    It would be a lot simpler if a representative of our government would step up and admit “We are trying to replace all Americans with third world people, so step aside and let’s get this one world underway.”

  • So, an illegal DUI offender would have to kill somebody before ICE would pick him up?

    • Greg Thomas

      That’s right. Even then, there is no guarantee ICE will pick them up after they serve their 9 month jail sentence. Americans have become cannon fodder in our government’s quest for third-world diversity.

  • Greg Thomas

    ICE has become the greatest advocate for the amnesty for illegal invaders under the guise of “ICE priorities.” The very agency responsible for enforcing this nation’s laws against illegal invaders no longer wants to enforce the law.

  • Greg Thomas

    This government will not even deport illegal invaders who fall into their lap. No wonder our the run of the mill illegal invader is so militant and aggressive in their demands. There is not a chance in hell they will be deported and they know it.

  • Dave Francis

    America is going onto the rocks because those in Congress are steering us blindly, not taking care of the major issues facing us? This country is spending far beyond its means and to proof it, one of the few rational Republicans namely Ron Paul is giving up in disgust and leaving his seat. Obama has become a dictator in the eyes of the TEA PARTY and millions of average citizens and refuses to give up his ideology of tax and spend. This president doesn’t seem to think the illegal alien invasion doesn’t affect you, think again? It might be a few extra pennies from the taxes you pay to the IRS, but it also affects you daily family life as your job in lower wages, poor working conditions, and the traffic you are confronted with every day on the ever increasing jammed highways of this country and the growing balkanization of our language. Then we have the DREAM ACT that contradicts the fundamental principles of our policies; passing presidential laws and abridging the House committees. The Dream act for example is the dire consequences of misinterpreting the edicts of the 14th Amendment.

    This Amendment was for the Emancipation of slaves, giving them the right to citizenship after the War Between the States. The Dream Act had a presidential passport to fulfillment, so it is what it is. But now all legal citizens and residents must involve themselves with the Birthright policy, or this unfair immigration will just continue, bring to our soil a more and more foreign children that we are forever paying. If laws must be changed, the “Rule of Law” must be invoked and no more illegal entrance given asylum and a fair farm bill allowing a moderate number of regulated aliens with temporary visas, but with no allowances to stay after their papers expire. All must be tracked; including overstays who fly into America.

    Birthright Citizenship was never meant for every pregnant Mother’s baby that entered our country undetected and then claiming citizen birthright for their sons and daughters. The Illegal alien invader hasn’t climaxed, and everybody should envision the massive costs to the taxpayer in health, schooling and government voucher housing and other public services. The Dream Act is the failure of both spineless parties to build a rampart fence, between the magpie governments who are stealing our countries wealth, through not inhibiting cheap labor or our own inveterate business owners who silently welcome them. Priority should be our own legal populace, and those who ignore it should be incarcerated with huge fines. Senator Sessions has found that this dysfunctional Obama administration has been advertising in Mexico that FOOD STAMPS are available here through SNAP. This program disbursement has continued to rise and spending has quadrupled in just over a decade to $80 billion in 2011 as part as the Department of Agriculture. Senator Sessions stated that SNAP, is the fastest growing major program in the U.S. government today and that the USDA is refusing to answer questions about this ominous promotion in Mexico.

    Not passing the Amendment to the BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL effects whether your children receives a decent education in the overcrowded schools, as your children are held back by the young who cannot speak English and need more tuition. The county health facilities are overrun with foreign nationals, which are not just identified with large cities, but now have spread to the most rural hospitals. Each day thousands of illegal aliens procure our Social Security numbers not only use it to steal jobs, but also can be identified with buying cars, real estate then reselling the goods, and then disappearing. My thoughts is some anonymous individual should accumulate a dozen or more Social Security numbers belonging to such apathetic Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Republican Speaker John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and whatever politicians come to mind and go on a lucrative spending spree with these feeder documents. It might wake them up to the anxiety Americans go through, when they find their credit and lifestyle has been compromised, such as the equity in their home being stolen. Perhaps then they will make it their own crusade, to introduce a Social Security card that identifies the owner by thumb print or retinal scan.

    While we all writhe under the growing federal deficit 16 TRILLION DOLLARS, all 50 states have been forced into the position of supporting the truly unknown numbers of illegal aliens and now President Obama is willing to enact another Amnesty. At the same time we have the foreign neighboring government laughing at us, because unlike the strict laws of Mexico to enter without a visa IS A FELONY? The Lib-Democrats who keep thinking the millions of poverty stricken people who slip through the miles of open border, or join the job market after hopping off a plane as a international visitor and thinking they are bringing prosperity to this sovereign nation are unadulterated demented fools. Each year over a million legal immigrants come to America with professional skills, with many through CHAIN MIGRATION, a vestige of the 1986 Amnesty while the illegal aliens bring nothing but more poverty and a trail of criminal activity. There is huge influx of more illegal aliens pouring into the country, for Obama’s entitlement programs (BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP) bringing their babies in even huge waves and an astronomical burden on taxpayers. Unions becoming even more powerful, receiving preferential treatment from the already corrupt political parties.

    More draining of the U.S. treasury to pay for so called friends in incompetent foreign countries, and the dismissal of a once powerful military defense, conceding to huge cuts in budgets to pay for the spongers, scroungers and freeloaders amongst the population who have no intentions of finding employment. In this period of soaring job loss Washington should enact and support the LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT that contains a mandatory E-Verify provision, which would allow the official draining of many of the illegal aliens stealing jobs from Americans. Both political parties refuse to behave rationally and show the 24 million unemployed, that they mean business and condemn foreigners who under the impression that we owe them a living. If you want further information and are ready to investigate the lies of both the Democrats and Republicans, check out TEA PARTY.ORG, NUMBERSUSA, ALIPAC, JUDICIAL WATCH, FAIR, and AMERICAN PATROL. The American people should realize it is time for Public Campaign Contributions and not the theft of our liberties by the special interest groups of lobbyists, the wealthy, big unions, foreign governments, corporations (Domestic and International) and a whole range of other entities eviscerating the American population.