According to internal memos obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Washington Post, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement were so eager to drive up the number of deportations beyond the level they were in Bush's last year that they set quotas and spelled out how agents could meet them.
In a February memo, James M. Chaparro, head of ICE detention and removal operations, noted that the overall number of deportations for the year that ended in September 2009 was just over 310,000 – "well under the agency's goal of 400,000." Chaparro suggested increasing detention space to hold more illegal immigrants, sweeping prisons and jails to find likely deportees, and deporting illegal immigrants who committed only minor violations.
All this despite an earlier assurance from John Morton, assistant homeland security secretary for ICE, that "we don't have quotas anymore."
Also, ICE agents went on a deporting spree despite assurances from top administration officials that the agency would aim enforcement efforts at criminal aliens – those illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes in the United States.
It's hard to decide which was the bigger sin – establishing quotas, breaking promises or disappointing supporters who thought they were getting a kinder and gentler administration.
The greatest ongoing sin is that it's damn near impossible for low-skilled laborers to come this country legally. Everything else (especially the disappointment of people foolish enough to believe in politicians) just flows from there.
That Washington Post report is here. In related news, "Hispanics skeptical that Obama, Democrats will deliver immigration overhaul." And lest you weep at that outcome, know that any proposed immigration plan at this point would probably involve a mandatory federal ID card for all of us to prove we're not illegal aliens. It would be nice to imagine adults running the country, but I've long since stopped crossing my fingers.