Here’s what Obama had to say in his recent “executive actions” address announcing his setting aside current immigration legislation in favor of his own substitutions:
Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable — especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.
He promised, in short, to continue to “focus on deporting criminals,” but to “prioritize.” Fine. So what are his actual priorities? The Department of Homeland Security recently announced the administration’s Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, which listed three categories of priorities. Among the offenses that failed to make Priority 1 were the following:
- aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor,” which for these purposes is an offense of domestic violence ;1 sexual abuse or exploitation;
burglary ; un lawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or driving under the influence; or if not an offense listed above, one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or more (the sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and does not include a suspended sentence)
As Byron York of the Washington Examiner concluded, “An illegal immigrant could spend up to a year in prison for a violent crime and still not be a top removal priority for the Obama administration.”