The Corner

Third Bush Term?

The Post today echoes my point from yesterday: “Little New in Obama’s Immigration Policy; While Embracing Bush’s Programs, President Says Nuance Makes the Difference.” Ah, nuance.

Nevertheless, a couple of readers point out differences with the prior management. One notes:

I know they are up to no good … but give them credit for this, they do their ass-covering FIRST, unlike the Bush admin which led with its chin.

More substantively, another reader offered this:

Thoughts for you — Pretty telling too that the administration didn’t request new detention beds in its budget.  So where are they going to house all these folks they identify?  The fact that they don’t think they need more detention is probably the best indicator that they will do this and nothing else, and return to releasing lots of other folks on the interior…

In other words, they won’t need more detention space because they will no longer be detaining, pending deportation, ordinary illegal aliens, just those already in custody for other crimes. But even if they suspend all other enforcement, it seems likely they’d need additional detention space; contrary to Richard Nadler’s misreading below, the expansion of the Bush-era program to screen local jails for illegals won’t “facilitate the deportation of some 100,000 illegal immigrant offenders per year,” but rather an estimated 1.4 million per year, at least once the program is fully in place.

And another quibble with Nadler’s post: He observes that “Less that 1% of the 17,000 local law enforcement bodies in this country have applied for 287(g),” the program that trains state or local officers in immigration law, suggesting that this is a barometer of how little support there is in law enforcement for cooperation with federal immigration authorities. In fact, there are two reasons this number isn’t much higher: First, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) discourages more jurisdictions from applying because it doesn’t have the capacity to hold all the illegal aliens who’d be referred to them by local cops. And second, 287(g) is a very intensive program, requiring weeks of training at a federal facility, resulting in deputization of the state or local cops as immigration officers. But in fact, this is not necessary for most officers; all they really need is an online course familiarizing them with the basics of immigration law — the difference between a green card and an Employment Authorization Document, what is TPS, what’s an asylee, etc. This is something the anti-enforcement folks have been resisting, precisely because it would enhance state and local cooperation with the feds on immigration and thus lead to better enforcement.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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