CIS — The Obama administration has embraced a radical new approach to immigration law. It has, without the consent of Congress, transformed violation of immigration law into a “secondary offense.” That is to say, the goal is to ensure that an alien faces consequences for breaking immigration law only if he also breaks some other, “real,” law involving, say, violence or drug dealing. And even then, the primary violation has to be quite severe to warrant deportation for the (secondary) immigration offense.
This is comparable to the seat belt laws in many states; in places where failing to wear a seat belt is a secondary offense, a police officer cannot pull you over just for that, but if he pulls you over for speeding or some other primary offense, he can then also write a seat belt citation.
The administration’s November 2014 deportation priorities memo pretends this is not so; it includes ordinary violations of immigration law, but only as the lowest priority for deportation. And the collapse in interior removals of immigration violators shows that this third priority category is just for show.
John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE, stated the Obama administration position succinctly: “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”