A little-known Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directive from 2012 has dramatically altered the enforcement of immigration laws by shielding most illegal immigrants without separate criminal convictions from deportation.
Data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reviewed by the office of Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), indicate that the “DHS has blocked the enforcement of immigration law for the overwhelming majority of violations — and is planning to widen that amnesty even further.”
A DHS directive from December 21, 2012, decreed that ICE agents could act against illegal immigrants only in limited circumstances — mainly if an illegal immigrant was previously charged with a serious crime or was physically caught crossing the border.
The effect, according to Sessions’s office, has been that many habitual immigration violators and the vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States face no threat of deportation. “The Administration’s priorities,” Session’s writes, “have therefore provided an executive amnesty not only to the great majority of the 12 million living her illegally today . . . but to those who will violate immigration law tomorrow. It is an open invitation for a future immigrant to overstay a visa, or enter the U.S. illegally, knowing that they will be immune from enforcement as long as they avoid being convicted of a felony or other serious crime once here.”