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Enforcement and Removal Priorities: Albanian mother of Three to Be Deported

I was saddened to read about an Albanian married mother of three who is scheduled to be deported today. The woman has no criminal record and has lived in the United States for years. Deporting this woman is completely at odds with everything the Department of Homeland Security has been iterating for years, that they will focus their removal resources on those who merit removal the most – criminals and repeat immigration law violators (I.e. those who reenter after being removed) and not those with children, lack of criminal record, and ties to the country. The most recent memo addressing this (see here) reiterates this. Nonetheless, ICE officers continue to disregard these directives and pursue removal against low-priority aliens such as this poor lady.

For those of you who say these people are criminals or that “illegal is illegal,” I have two responses. First, being in the United States without status is an administrative violation. It is not a criminal offense. Second, every law enforcement department has to decide where to allocate resources. This applies in every context and especially immigration law. ICE deporting people with families and no criminal records is akin to your local police department focusing on arresting jaywalkers instead of murderers and rapists. It is not only cruel, but it doesn’t make sense in any way.

I hope ICE will improve its compliance with its own policies on removal priorities. It breaks my heart every time I hear a story like this, and it undermines the efficiency of our nation’s immigration enforcement system.

You can read more about the woman’s case from the Detroit Free Press.

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