On Monday, a U.S. District Court Judge Drew Tipton further delayed implementation of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deportation moratorium that poses a direct threat to public safety. In extending by two weeks the temporary restraining order he issued on January 26, the federal judge is giving the public, as well as lawmakers, time to see that President Biden’s views have radicalized since he served under President Obama.
The DHS memo distributed on January 20 directed the heads of the sub-agencies – Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – to “review and reset enforcement policies and set interim policies for civil enforcement while the Department develops its final priorities.”
While that sounds innocuous enough, guidelines sent from ICE leadership to its agents revealed just how backward the Biden administration plans to take enforcement of immigration, particularly deportation, laws. The email sent by ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson informed agency officials that they are not to deport illegal aliens who’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), and other crimes.
“Generally, these convictions would not include drug based crimes (less serious offenses), simple assault, DUI, money laundering, property crimes, fraud, tax crimes, solicitation, or charges without convictions,” he wrote.
Also excluded from deportation would be when the “crime is very old – over 10 years and not the reason for the individuals most recent apprehension.” That could potentially be a massive loophole.
When asked why illegal aliens with convictions for DUI and assault should not be seen as threats to public safety, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answered evasively.
“Nobody is saying that DUIs or assault are acceptable behavior. And those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement. But we’re talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country,” said Psaki.
What will happen if the injunction on the moratorium is lifted and illegal aliens who have failed to demonstrate “acceptable behavior” are allowed to remain in the United States?
Let’s review what happened the last time Joe Biden was in the White House. In November of 2014, then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson authored a memo addressing the grounds for detention and deportation of illegal aliens. According to the memo, illegal aliens should be considered a second-tier priority for deportation if they had been convicted of an “aggravated felony” or certain misdemeanor crimes, such as driving under the influence.
Sounds good on paper, but when DHS and ICE leadership adopts a dangerously casual approach to crimes like drunk driving, there are fatal consequences. As was learned by the family of Sarah Root, a 21-year-old woman killed by an illegal alien on January 31, 2016.
When Eswin Mejia, a 19-year-old illegal alien from Honduras, refused to appear for his arraignment days later, a judge issued a bench warrant and local law enforcement in Omaha, Nebraska, requested a detainer be issued for Mejia.
According to ICE, at the time he was arrested on that January evening, Mejia was not considered a priority because Root had not yet died of injuries sustained when Mejia’s car hit hers. Pressed during a Senate hearing several weeks later, Sarah Saldana, then-ICE director, admitted the agency was wrong and that a drunk driver should be considered a public safety threat.
What candidate Biden did not call for the abolition of ICE and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified in his confirmation hearing that he “would not abolish” ICE nor CBP, exempting broad categories of crimes and excusing someone because the crime committed is “very old” is effectively abolishing ICE.
An official told The Washington Post on background that the Biden administration has “abolished ICE without abolishing ICE.” They added, “It literally feels like we’ve gone from the ability to fully enforce our immigration laws to now being told to enforce nothing.”
When candidate Joe Biden was asked how he would change the “culture” at ICE, he said, “You change the culture by saying you are going to get fired. You are fired if, in fact, you do that. You only arrest for the purpose of dealing with a felony that’s committed, and I don’t count drunk driving as a felony.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said in response those comments that drunk driving “should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of the offender’s immigration status. MADD supports the victims of these crashes and their wishes in all drunk driving cases.”
In case there is any confusion as to the level of threat posed by illegal aliens driving while under the influence, consider that in FY 2019, ICE arrested 74,000 individuals with convictions or charges for DUI.
Biden’s press secretary may say DUI and assault is not “acceptable behavior,” but it matters very little when the policy is handed down to agents across the country that illegal aliens who drive drunk are a higher priority than those whose lives are placed at risk each time they get behind the wheel..