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By Walter Ewing

It is tempting to imagine that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has adopted a kinder and more just approach to its immigration enforcement mission.  After all, the department announced in recent days that it will henceforth focus its enforcement efforts on “high priority” immigration cases; that is, those cases involving serious criminals and individuals who are a threat to public safety or national security.  While this is a welcome, long overdue announcement, we must keep in mind that there are still DHS enforcement policies in place that are in dire need of repair.

For instance, according to a story in the New York Times earlier this month, U.S. immigration agents stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border have taken to detaining and sometimes arresting unauthorized immigrants as they try to leave the United States and return to Mexico. In other words, after pouring billions of dollars into immigration enforcement programs to make the United States as unwelcoming as possible to unauthorized immigrants, the Obama Administration has decided to make their departure just as difficult and to torment them as they leave. This policy is as nonsensical as it is cruel.

To be fair, the Administration is snaring unauthorized immigrants as it attempts to do what previous administrations have not: stem the flow of drug money and guns from the United States to Mexico, into the waiting arms of drug cartel leaders. But this neither explains nor justifies why immigration agents are arresting immigrants who have no connections to drug money or gun smuggling—and who are leaving the country. As the Times notes, even some vehemently anti-immigrant groups oppose this practice on the grounds that it slows, and perhaps even discourages, the departure of unauthorized immigrants from the country. In a surreal moment last year, the president of the nativist organization Americans for Legal Immigration issued a statement saying that:

“This is about the only situation we would ever advocate that our immigration laws be waived. We want to encourage the illegals to leave America on their own and thus we ask Obama to provide them safe passage out of America.”

When questioned about its illogical policy, the Administration resorts to a generic law-and-order explanation. An anonymous “administration official” told the Times: “We’re not trying to discourage anyone from leaving, but we do want to send the message that there are consequences for breaking immigration laws.”

As Greg Siskind points out in the AILA Leadership Blog: “Bad policies have consequences, as well. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have figured this out but the officials carrying out the bad policy.” Apparently, the Obama Administration doesn’t see the irony of making it hard for unauthorized immigrants to leave the county after expending so much time and effort telling them to leave the country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ICE still bunch of assholes. nt. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Sentido, wblynch

    "The curve of the universe is long, but bends towards justice'.

    by SirNitram on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:17:49 PM PDT

  •  Just testing the systems (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Paul Ferguson, wblynch

    The next step in implementing "Homeland Security" is creating increasing barriers to Americans leaving the country.  For our comfort, convenience, safety and security, of course.

    Fight the Shock Doctrine--abolish the "debt ceiling"!

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:25:07 PM PDT

    •  I need a passport or Border Card now to go to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Tom, Paul Ferguson, sturunner

      Nogales for lunch like I used to do regularly.....All of Sonora was open if you went deeper into Mexico then there was paperwork needed but Puerto Penasco or Nogales and such was all open territory with no hassle returns......

      I could say screw them and go anyway as they really can't not let me back I just don't want the hassle or the passport   or the 100+ dollars to get the damn papers.....

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:42:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Ferguson

    Damned if you don't, and now it's damned if you do.

  •  Need bodies to fill private prison beds. (6+ / 0-)
  •  I think after being caught breaking immigration (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Ferguson, davewill, cai, Windowdog

    laws there are restrictions on legal immigration.

    I know that if you get busted crossing the border and processed through the whole system, like printed, IDed, detained for a few days, then bussed to Sudat Juarez (however it's spelled) you are restricted from doing a marriage or work contract visa.

    Also for multiple instances of breaking immigration law the penalties are harsher. Like if you get seriously busted crossing the border, then picked up for a traffic violation a year later, you might be subject to deportation instead of being able to bail yourself out.

    Many are able to afford the cost of the no walk crossing which is up to about 3K now. This makes the multiple comings and goings potentially more costly.

    Love the title, I used to be an unauthorized pharmacist. "your honor I just forgot to do the paper work on these mass quantities". ;-)

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:36:37 PM PDT

  •  I have been stopped going into (5+ / 0-)

    Naco Sonora and asked what was my business in Mexico. Did I have a weapon on me and was I carrying more than 10,000 dollars. There were guards with rifle's and the whole deal was very intimidating. I was going to a migrant center to volunteer and when I told them that they were all over me with questions. This started about a year ago. They were looking to arrest people trying to go home to Mexico or people with large sums of money or guns. They are filling up private jails along the border. It is a money making scam that the Federal government is running for the benefit of private prisons.

    •  did you miss this paragraph (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      To be fair, the Administration is snaring unauthorized immigrants as it attempts to do what previous administrations have not: stem the flow of drug money and guns from the United States to Mexico, into the waiting arms of drug cartel leaders.

      not everything is as cut and dried as people around here like to pretend these days.

      there is a very thoughtful comment above about reasons this may be occurring.

      why do people have to try to second guess every damned thing that is happening these days - then try to blame this administration for it?

      this is getting very tiresome!

      It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

      by edrie on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:43:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No I didn't miss it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MufsMom, sturunner, skunkbaby

        In fact I paraphrased it. What is getting tiresome is people with weapons intimidating old people going across the line to get dental work done or buy medication. This administration is the one that is  sticking rifles in my face and asking me outrageously stupid questions. I am sick of internal checkpoints and assumptions of guilt while I go about my business as a citizen of this country. What the hell happened to civil liberties not to mention human rights. This crap they are pulling is not harming the cartels at all. Some of the gun traffic is coming from ATF scams. We are arming both sides in the Mexican conflict, making sure there is a market for the product, making money off jailing people who only seek a better life, etc,etc. Give this old man a break.

        •  the "administration" isn't sticking ANYTHING (0+ / 0-)

          in your face.

          in arizona and new mexico when i went through the checkpoints - i was asked if i were a citizen - with an almost apologetic smile.  i'm an old, white woman.  

          this is in response to state issues and state mandates.

          the dhs or ice agents are working for other issues - not seniors and more.

          perhaps you forgot about the new year's bomber stopped at the canadian border?  an alert agent got that one.

          we live in times where calls for violence are increasing - both abroad and internally.  the times have changed for the worse.

          i hate it. i hate the stops. i hate the hate. (how's THAT for hyperbole?)

          you include far too many generalizations and no suggestions for solutions.  that was my original objection - and still is.  you cannot blame the "administration" for this problem.  it existed long before "this" administration took office.

          look to the real problems - the real source.  as long as you keep pointing in the wrong direction, nothing will change.

          It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

          by edrie on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 06:52:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe you could enlighten me (0+ / 0-)

    about what the real problems are? I have no idea what you are talking about.

  •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Ferguson
    To be fair, the Administration is snaring unauthorized immigrants as it attempts to do what previous administrations have not: stem the flow of drug money and guns from the United States to Mexico, into the waiting arms of drug cartel leaders.

    Given that the US govt bankrolls the largest and most powerful criminal enterprise in Mexico (the Mexican Army) to the tune of millions of dollars per year, and given that the army and their comandante supremo Felipe Calderon have chosen sides in the "war FOR drugs" by allying with the Sinaloa Cartel, and given that the Obama administration knows exactly what's going on south of the border and will never change its immoral policies regarding immigration OR drugs...

    Estamos jodidos, ese.

    Neoconservatives are neither new nor conservative, but old as Bablyon and evil as Hell --- Edward Abbey

    by skunkbaby on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 11:34:53 PM PDT

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