You might as well put a bounty on their heads. The undocumented, I mean.
Though Barack Obama came to power dismissing as ludicrous the idea that we can "deport 'em all," ICE's Office of Detention and Removal Operations continues to demand just that with a quota of 400,000 aliens to be removed this year, according to a recent Washington Post article.
The Post article quoted a memo by the head of DRO, one James Chaparro, laying out a strategy for meeting his department's goals, prodding his underlings to go after the minnows as well as the sharks, thus beefing up the total catch with as many non-criminal aliens as they can lay their hands on.
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The Chaparro memo comes as ICE honcho John Morton and DHS honch-ess Janet Napolitano keep trying to convince Hispanics and liberals that they've shifted focus to "criminal aliens."
"We have really prioritized the deportation of those in the country illegally," Napolitano told an ASU crowd on Thursday, "who have also been committing other crimes, those who have committed violent crimes, property crimes, drug trafficking crimes, and the like..."
As with most things out of Napolitano's mouth, this was, of course, total bunk. Generally, deportations are still higher than under the Bush administration, and Obama's Hispanic hunters haven't relented on the small fry.
Indeed, the DRO memos published by the Post make it clear that an ICE agent's rating is dependent on the number of removals he or she does. Criminal aliens take longer to remove than non-criminal aliens. So it's all about the low-hanging fruit.
"In some cases," the Post reports, "the [ICE] field offices are requiring that agents process an average of 40 to 60 cases a month to earn `excellent' ratings."
Which is why it doesn't surprise me that I'm hearing that some of those picked up in the Sheriff Joe-McDonald's raids are already in Mexico, having signed Voluntary Removal forms, not knowing the full consequences of their actions.
ICE agents, hungry to meet their quotas, would be the ones offering the possibility of a VR, wherein an immigrant can waive the right to see an immigration judge and fight deportation.
"People say send 'em all back. We're not sending them all back. People aren't telling the truth. We would have to use all out law enforcement resources. We couldn't go after gang-bangers. We couldn't go after auto theft. We would have to use every law enforcement officer to go around and round up folks who are working at restaurants."
Um, like fast food restaurants, Mr. President?
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.