Originally published on this day in 2014.
More evidence has been released that foretells a collapse in the numbers of aliens deported. The number of deportation cases initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has collapsed by almost 20,000 for the first quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012.
LA Times February 24, 2012 by Paloma Esquivel
The drop recorded in the last three months of 2011 may reflect the administration's plan to focus its deportation efforts by weighing discretionary factors, including whether the person is a veteran, came to the United States as a child or is a college student.
The number of deportation cases filed by federal immigration officials dropped by nearly a third in the first three months of the fiscal year, according to a report by the Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
The drop recorded in the last three months of 2011 may reflect the Obama administration's plan to focus its deportation efforts by weighing a variety of discretionary factors, including whether the person is a veteran, came to the U.S. as a child or is a college student, according to the report. But experts said it's too soon to say if deportations overall will decline. From October through December, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement initiated 39,331 deportation cases in immigration court, down from 58,639 the previous quarter, the report says. Filings are typically lower during the holiday months, but even adjusted for the seasonal drop-off the numbers are significantly lower, according to the authors.
And ICE is full of excuses for the fail:
The report, said ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen, is focused only on submissions for deportations made to immigration courts. "It ignores the fact that ICE regularly removes individuals without going through formal [immigration court] proceedings utilizing voluntary, administrative, expedited and stipulated removals as well the reinstatement of old removal orders," she said.
Of note is that ICE does not use expedited removal (ER), only CBP uses ER authority, and only for arriving aliens and those aliens arrested soon after an illegal entry. ICE has always ignored its authority to use ER against aliens in general and criminal aliens specifically.
An ICE spokesman also restates the myth that ICE can only remove 400,000 aliens per year. Something that it has never accomplished anyway.
Congress has provided enough funds for the ICE to deport about 400,000 people annually, and the administration has said it intends to focus those resources on cases deemed high-priority, including those involving national security, serious felons, individuals with lengthy criminal records, known gang members and others who pose a threat to public safety.
"We're being smart about how we enforce the law. We're doing it in a way that makes sense and in a way that uses tax dollars effectively," said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez. "Law enforcement has to have set priorities because the American public doesn't want us to just arrest the first 400,000 people we can remove. Why arrest the first 400,000 people when you can arrest those who are threats to the community?"
In fact there is no limit to the number of aliens who can be placed in removal proceedings, as the costs to ICE are fixed, as Special Agents and Deportation Officers are not paid overtime, but must work all hours as assigned, with the main cost to ICE being fixed salaries.
ICE employees who work on arrests and removals are paid the same regardless of the number of arrests they make and the number of cases filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the immigration "courts." It costs nothing for ICE to file a case with the EOIR. EOIR must accept and process the case. The only effect is that processing times for removal are extended by the filing of more cases.
ICE is actually increasing the cost of removals by wasting man-hours of ICE attorneys by having those attorneys review cases already filed with the intent of dismissing those cases when they could be in court trying deportation cases. It is of no cost benefit for ICE attorneys to spend time deciding to drop cases already filed.
If ICE started using Expedited Removal it could significantly increase removals at little or no cost. However, ICE refuses still to use its ER authority. In many cases it could actually decrease the cost of removals by using ER, as today it continues to allow many aliens to use the EOIR system when they are liable to be removed with ER.
It should not be forgotten though that of the 11-20 million illegal aliens in the United States, removing under 400,000 per year is not an accomplishment. Most illegal aliens, like those working at Pacific Steel, such as Jesus Navarro, or those testifying at public hearings before State legislatures, such as Keish Kim, are known to ICE, yet nothing is done. There would be no cost to ICE to place both in removal proceedings. Yet ICE ignores both. One of who will be costing taxpayers millions in the near future.
The import however of the collapse of removal proceedings in the first part of FY 2012 though means that many fewer than 400,000 aliens will be deported by the end of FY 2012, which will coincide with the election in November. The question is will Romney use this? It also gives the lie to the ICE claim that it will continue to remove aliens at the same rate. A 32% decline in cases filed with the EOIR will result in a corresponding decline in removals for FY 2012.
It is clear—abundantly clear—that ICE is not replacing every DREAM Act deportation with a criminal alien. Otherwise there would not be a decline in initial filings of removals with the EOIR. It means that either there are not that many criminal aliens to remove or criminal aliens are enjoying the amnesty as well. Which is what has been reported here; Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Sandoval and Edwin Ramos specifically.