The Corner

Obama’s ICE

In our respective assessments of the Obama administration’s proposal to remove criminal illegals by identifying them in local jails, Mark Krikorian estimates that 1.4 million will be removed; I estimate 100,000.

What is genuinely weird is that we each used numbers sourced from the same official of the same Obama agency, as reported in the same Washington Post article.

The 1.4 million figure relates to a projection of removals based on total police bookings in the United States.

The 100,000 figure relates to an administration estimate of what the administration actually intends to do:  Use the program to remove Level 1 offenders — aliens convicted of violent crimes.

On closer reading, I believe both figures to be fanciful propaganda by an administration eager to please supporters of enforcement and supporters of amnesty. The proposed program matches fingerprints with national immigration databases. 60% of those illegally present don’t register their fingerprints with the feds when, for example, they swim the Rio Grande. 

The potential pool of fingerprinted illegals — those who have overstayed student visas, work visas, asylum, or temporary protected status — is 4,800,000. The notion that 30% of this group is booked annually is, well, nuts.

A projection of 1.4 million removals makes zero sense in terms of the administration’s stated goal of prioritizing the deportation of violent criminals. As of 2007, there were 2.3 million individuals incarcerated in federal, state, and local jails combined. The projection of 1.4 million illegal “bookings” is itself fanciful. It obviously doesn’t refer to discrete individuals.

The administration’s numbers are intended to provide red meat for “enforcement” advocates like Mark, who want to remove all 12 million illegally present, and red meat for  “amnesty” advocates like me, who want to remove genuine bad actors from that group in order to facilitate a path to legalization for the rest.

I’d bet that this administration will disappoint us both.

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