Federal authorities arrested 596 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions, according to John Morton, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Most of them will be deported, though 22 may be prosecuted for illegal entry after previous deportation. He said the Obama administration is focused on deporting immigrants who break the law.
The sweep exposed holes in the U.S. immigration enforcement system, since 572 of the criminals, some previously convicted of murder, sex crimes, assault and fraud, had been released from jail or prison without being turned over to immigration authorities as the law requires, Morton acknowledged.
There are as many as a million such criminal illegal immigrants in the U.S., Morton said.
The sweep illustrates the hypocrisy of the Obama administration towards immigration enforcement as it opposes Arizona’s law.
Obama officials say they are focusing their efforts on people convicted of crimes, but acknowledge that they continue to remove noncriminals.
Meanwhile, the administration is also facing criticism from Congress that it is not aggressively enforcing immigration laws. In response, officials say they are removing a record number of immigrants, about 400,000 per year. A majority of those have not been convicted of crimes.
Arizona proposes doing what the federal government does poorly – enforce immigration laws. Under the legal doctrine of "concurrent enforcement," states are allowed to ban what is already prohibited by federal law. As an example, courts have upheld efforts by Arizona, California and other states to enact sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants.
If I were stopped for a driving violation, the officer would ask to see my driver’s license. If an illegal immigrant were stopped for the same violation and asked to show a driver’s license, that’s not racial profiling, unless illegal immigrants have more civil rights than citizens.