Immigration expert Jessica M. Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, stated Tuesday that there is a distinct possibility of President Obama using executive order after the midterm elections to effectively grant amnesty to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in America.
Ben Shapiro interviewed Vaughan Tuesday on 770 KTTH following the release of a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies that revealed that in 2013 ICE agents released 68,000 illegal immigrants convicted of criminal offenses, roughly a third of those detained. When Shapiro asked Vaughan if she believed there was a chance that after the midterm elections President Obama would use executive power to effectively provide amnesty to illegal immigrants, Vaughan replied, “that has to be part of the calculation here,” arguing that it “looks to me very much like he is starting to recognize that nobody’s trying to stop him with the executive action, and that if he just doesn’t deport people, no one else is going to have the guts to do it later.”
The interview covered the Center for Immigration Studies’ new report that found that ICE agents released roughly a third of illegal immigrants who had been convicted of criminal offenses. Shapiro asked Vaughan if this release of 68 thousand immigrants was a matter of limited resources or deliberate policies imposed by the White House, to which Vaughan replied it was primarily the latter:
Vaughan: It’s not because ICE doesn’t have the resources. It’s overwhelmingly because ICE agents have been told that they are not allowed to deport lots of illegal aliens who are living in the country—even if they have criminal convictions—if those illegal aliens have family here, if they are related to a U.S. citizen, or if their cause is taken up by an advocacy group, and all kinds of political considerations that trump the fact that they’re here illegally and the fact that they have been involved in other kinds of crime.
When Shapiro asked about the nature of the crimes involved, Vaughan explained that those criminal offenses “can range anywhere from felony identity theft to sex offenses to drunk driving,” anecdotal details she has learned from ICE agents and news reports, explaining that the hard data is not available due to the Department of Homeland Security’s protection of the privacy rights of illegal immigrants, refusing thus far to even provide summary reports.
They then returned to the issue of conscious policy decisions and resource distribution, Vaughan arguing that while she “would never make the case that ICE has enough money to do its job,” the Obama administration has not only imposed its policy restrictions on deportations, but has also consistently requested the reduction of immigration enforcement funding, stating, "Every year the Obama administration has asked Congress to cut its immigration enforcement budget, rather than increase it." As an example, Vaughan cited the administration’s recent request for $255 million less for immigrant detention space.
Shapiro then turned the conversation to the administration’s claims that they were conducting record-breaking deportations, which Vaughan dismissed as a slight of hand via the administration's unprecedented methods of counting deportations:
Vaughan: What they did was in order to trumpet the so-called record deportations, they have started taking people that the border patrol arrests, they turn them in to ICE custody to be held for about 12 hours, then they were bussing them to a different part of the border and removing them back south of the border. And this enabled the border patrol to count them as an apprehension and then ICE would count them as a removal—and sometimes double-count them as a removal if two different field officers handled the individual...
The reality, Vaughan argued, is that the phony border deportations numbers are being used to cover up the sharply falling “interior deportations,” which have dropped 40% since 2011 and are on track to drop again significantly this year.
After discussing what Vaughan called the “political theater” of the administration attempting to “convince [Congress and the American people] that it’s already as good as it gets,” Shapiro asked Vaughan if there were a legitimate chance of Obama issuing a form of “blanket amnesty” by either pardoning the current 11 million illegal immigrants in the country or by ordering that there by no more deportations, similar to his decision about the so-called “Dreamers.”
Vaughan: I think that has to be part of the calculation here. The President would like to take credit for actually legalizing all these people. He recognizes that he can’t do anything too overt because that will kill any chance of Congress acting. But it looks to me very much like he is starting to recognize that nobody’s trying to stop him with the executive action, and that if he just doesn’t deport people, no one else is going to have the guts to do it later.
Here is the full audio (Vaughan interview begins at 16:55):