The Obama administration is changing the way immigration laws are enforced. It is trying harder to deport criminals. Illegal immigrants with clean records and strong ties to America will be allowed to stay. Their immigration status would not change.
Training of supervisory immigration officers is underway. Officers are given different examples with the proper decision shown to them. For example:
A young illegal immigrant is turned over to the agency after being arrested by a state trooper for driving without a license. She has been living in this country since 1993 and has an infant son who is an American citizen because he was born here. But she lied to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, not telling them she had a conviction for shoplifting in 1995.
Answer: She is not a threatening criminal and may still be nursing her American baby. Officers should close her deportation case.
A legal resident of the United States since 1984 who served two distinguished combat tours in Iraq. But he left the military and is now finishing a six-year prison sentence for a federal sex-trafficking felony.
Answer: Despite his service, because of his grave sex offense he loses his resident status. Officers should send him back to his home country.
The training is about which foreigners should be deported. It instructs agents to focus on the worst offenders, including criminal convicts, gang members and foreigners who came back after being expelled. Other groups of immigrants — elderly people, children, military veterans, college students and parents of young citizens — are low priorities who can be allowed to stay, even if they are here illegally
The union representing 7,000 deportation agents is opposing the training program of the administration. They said the training is not helping the agents to make clear decisions. They said some agents are afraid to make any arrests. They said the Obama administration is playing to immigrants as part of the campaign for the reelection of the president.
The Homeland Security Secretary said the policy was based on existing statutes and was intended to make good use of strained resources.
The issue of whether the agents will be trained will be decided in the near future.