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The United States Department of Homeland Security took another step towards codifying the idea that suspected illegal aliens are only dangerous if they’ve been convicted of a serious crime. In a memo from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to the heads of a number of agencies within DHS — Alejandro Mayorkas at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, John Morton at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and David Aguilar at US Customs and Border Enforcement — that’s exactly what Napolitano did administratively.
This particular memo was written on July 26, 2012, and it provided guidance on implementing President Obama’s new directive which administratively instituted the failed DREAM Act, a proposed bill that offers amnesty to some illegal immigrants.
In that memo, the Obama administration ordered that suspected illegal aliens qualified for the initiative if they have “not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.”
Last week, FrontPage exclusively broke the story of a suspected illegal alien that attacked a number of ICE agents while he was attempting to escape during an interrogation. ICE headquarters ordered those ICE agents to release that individual. The individual had not yet been convicted of a crime.
According to Chris Crane, head of the ICE agents union, that is long standing policy in Obama’s DHS. He told FrontPage that for years ICE agents have been told to prioritize those convicted of a crime while de-emphasizing those not convicted of a crime.
It hasn’t always been this explicit. For instance, the notorious “Morton Memo” stated outright that ICE agents should pay attention to the “person’s criminal history, including arrests, prior convictions, or outstanding arrest warrants” in the individual’s background.
Ignoring pertinent details of illegal immigrants’ backgrounds, however, has had some disastrous consequences in some cases. For instance, there is the case of Amado Espinoza-Ramirez. He was accused of a number of heinous crimes related to child molestation but he was never convicted. ICE released him shortly after taking custody of him from Cook County officials, where he was facing criminal charges. Espinoza-Ramirez missed a subsequent court date and is now still considered a fugitive.
In explaining itself, DHS sent an email to Lamar Smith, the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee. In it, the department specifically highlighted the fact that Espinoza-Ramirez was not yet convicted of a crime. DHS said that Espinoza-Ramirez was released because he had “no prior criminal convictions, no prior immigration violations, and is the parent of a U.S. citizen child.”
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