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President and Congress Must Create Immigration System Focused on Justice, Not Quotas

In response to today’s USA Today report releasing internal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement memos pressuring immigration officers to use traffic check points, driver’s license database scans, arbitrary bond increases, and other practices to boost deportation numbers, Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center Director of Policy Royce Bernstein Murray issued the following statement:

“The emails and memos published today show that the deportation and detention quotas that have driven this country’s immigration policies for the past several years are ineffective and divert law enforcement resources from activities that would better protect public safety. Furthermore, they have overwhelmed our country’s justice system and put people on a fast-track to deportation without the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or even see a judge. The National Immigrant Justice Center has seen too many people, including U.S. citizens, deported or nearly deported despite having legal rights to remain in the United States. Despite the Obama administration’s claim that it is exercising prosecutorial discretion to focus on higher priority public safety cases, we now have documented evidence to the contrary.

“As Congress begins the process of creating a new immigration law, today’s report underscores the need to build a system that is focused on supporting our courts and access to counsel for immigrants in deportation proceedings, rather than reaching an arbitrary goal for how many people must be detained and deported by any means necessary.”