In the midst of an outcry over illegal immigration and Arizona’s new crackdown, a top Department of Homeland Security official visiting Chicago on Wednesday said his agency intended to step up enforcement in places such as Illinois.
John Morton, who heads U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said his agency intends to expand the Secure Communities initiative, which gives police and sheriff’s departments access to a Homeland Security database that includes fingerprints. The initiative recently grew to include most of Chicago’s suburbs.
Morton, a former prosecutor, also said the agency intends to increase scrutiny of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
“If we’re going to bring about meaningful changes in behavior, you have to do that by focusing on the employer,” he said during a meeting with the Tribune editorial board.
May 21, 2010
Can’t we do two things at once?
See below a note I just received from my FNC colleague Mike Levine. Check out what I highlight in orange. I keep reading that President Obama has asked the Justice Department to review the Arizona Law…..don’t you think that President Obama might be WISE to simultaneously study the letters from Governor Brewer asking for HELP?
Last night on ON THE RECORD at 10pm Gov Brewer said her letters (identifying the problems and asking for help) are ignored.
How about not ignoring Arizona and the Governor? How about using some Justice Department resources to check out what she says? to investigate how to help Arizona? Sure…study the law to see if constitutional…but not to the exclusion of simultaneously answering and helping Arizona.
Pressed for more clarification on ICE chief John Morton’s remarks this week to Chicago Tribune, a DHS official told Fox News:
“There’s a DOJ review [of AZ law] ongoing. That review is going to chart the way ahead in terms of the government’s response. ICE’s priority is on criminal aliens who pose a public threat. Every single day in every single state, ICE uses discretion in order to focus its efforts and meet their priorities. … . What Morton was saying is that like where they do everywhere else in country, ICE may use discretion [in AZ] to meet their priorities and target criminal aliens.”
In terms of what this means for the future of enforcing AZ’s law, the official said: “Anything is on the table.”
NOTE: Morton sure had a different tale going on just a mere 9 days earlier:
A three-day sweep in the southeastern U.S. results in 596 arrests.
Reporting from Washington
Authorities arrested 596 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions in a three-day sweep across the Southeastern United States this week, the nation’s top immigration enforcement officer said Friday.
Most of them will be deported, though 22 may be prosecuted for illegally entering the U.S. after previously having been sent home, said John Morton, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE. He said the operation underscored the Obama administration’s emphasis on deporting immigrants who break the law.
“These are not the kind of people that we want walking our streets or living in our communities,” Morton told reporters.