The Immigration Policy Center released a special report examining ICE's enforcement priorities and the factors that undermine them, by Michele Waslin, Ph.D. The paper reviews the steps that ICE has taken in recent months to clarify its enforcement priorities and how those priorities are playing out nationally and in local communities.
The report concludes that the Obama administration, as part of its strategy to gain support for comprehensive immigration reform, has continually touted its enforcement accomplishments. Over the last two years, the Obama administration issued many press statements to demonstrate how it is committed to remove criminals and others who remain in the country without proper documentation. They have continued to use the enforcement programs of the Bush administration, including partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and deport immigrants (287(g) and the Secure Communities program). However, in doing so, they have lost the ability to fully control their own enforcement priorities and enforcement outcomes, and the results have demonstrated that the state and local partners are not necessarily committed to the same priorities. In other words, a large number of the people caught by local police are undocumented immigrants with no criminal background that as a consequence of their capture by local police are put into the system for deportation. This causes an inflation in the number of cases waiting for removal (increases the workload of ICE personnel) but does very little to combat the serious criminal offenders and absconders.
The report is available at: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/docs/ICE_Enforcement_Priorities_110910.pdf