In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security deported 368,644 immigrants from the United States. That comes to more than 1,000 people daily. President Obama has instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to only focus on “criminal aliens”. The problem is that this policy, when filtered down to the end-user, loses its effectiveness.
In other words, people with minor infractions or only one misdemeanor are being detained and deported. In New York city, immigrants have been turned over to the immigration authorities for minor offenses like sleeping in the subway or public intoxication. Clearly, not the result the Obama administration intended.
To make matters worse, these immigrants are housed in private detention facilities who make their profits on the amount of people in detention. In addition, public jails are being used for the detention of immigrants as well. The conditions in these facilities are deplorable. Those detainees with medical conditions requiring medication are ignored or, in the best case, are made to wait in pill lines for more than three hours.
In New York City, immigration officials routinely enter Riker’s Island and other detention facilities to look for immigrants and place detainers on them, flagging them for removal proceedings.
These people with minor offenses who are being detained often have families who depend on them. Their custody is devastating to their families and businesses.
President Obama has made it clear that he is willing to change the policies regarding deportation of the undocumented immigrants in the United States who are not dangerous felons. He has decided to delay the implementation of this policy to give Congress a chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
As over 1,000 people a day are being deported, there is no time to waste and the President must act if Congress will not.