The Obama administration is reorganizing the federal agency of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to focus less on illegal alien deportations and more on criminal investigations and other duties.
“Officials hope to highlight the agency’s counterterrorism, money laundering and other complex criminal investigations and in the process ‘re-brand’ ICE, turning the public — and political — spotlight away from its immigration work,” the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
A major thrust of the reorganization, which includes streamlining and renaming several offices, is to change public perception of the agency. Many Americans believe ICE is devoted strictly to dealing with illegal immigrants, but “half of the agency is devoted to something else,” said ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton.
Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told the Post: “ICE is doing stuff about stopping terrorists, but the public doesn’t know about it. The public only knows ICE is going after immigrants.”
The agency has been criticized for alleged poor treatment of noncitizen aliens in its custody and for policies that break up immigrant families. The Obama administration has promised to reform America’s alien detention system, which locks up some 30,000 immigrants each night.
Critics say ICE has not been tough enough in dealing with illegal immigration. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who represents a border district, said ICE needs more agents to investigate border crimes. Presently about 20 percent of ICE’s resources are devoted to border issues.
“But conservatives remain unsatisfied with such efforts, which have led to Arizona’s controversial law and calls for more Border Patrol agents,” the Post reports.
Obama Refocuses ICE from IllegalsObama Refocuses ICE from Illegals
The Arizona law allows police conducting traffic stops or questioning people about possible legal violations to ask them about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that they're in the country illegally.
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