ICE Director John Morton May Hand FAIR a Victory in California

Domenic Powell • Sep 18, 2012

“The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE share your concerns that such policies undermine public safety and hinder ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.”

ICE Director John Morton

Disturbing validation for controversial anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—even worse that it came from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. In a letter to FAIR Executive Director Julie Kirchner, Morton went through the typical nativist tropes: “ICE has explained to jurisdictions such as Cook County, Illinois, that by ignoring ICE detainers they are undermining public safety in their communities by exposing their local communities to risks from suspected and convicted sex offenders, weapons violators, drunk drivers, and other violent criminals.”

Morton shouldn’t have such a cozy relationship with an organization whose stake in immigration policy is primarily about keeping the country majority-white and not about our national interests—let alone that it also fervently hates his boss, President Obama.

Morton thanks Kirchner for FAIR’s support on the issue—maybe Morton also agrees with the recent lawsuit against him by FAIR’s legal attack dog, Kris Kobach (Kobach is employed by the  Immigration Reform Law Institute – FAIR’s legal arm). It’d explain a lot about Morton—maybe even why he so lazily utilized prosecutorial discretion, President Obama’s first banner immigrant-friendly policy, that was roundly pronounced a failure by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Either Morton is an awful director or he actually disagrees with the policy; after a chummy letter to FAIR, the latter is looking more likely.

Worse yet, as California Governor Jerry Brown considers the Trust Act, he’ll lean heavily on Morton’s advice. As part of the administration of a fellow Democrat, Brown has what should be a trustworthy (no pun intended) consort. However, Morton might end up being who kills the Trust Act for California.

Consider the Trust Act testimony to Morton’s incompetence: if Morton hadn’t failed at implementing his own policies, Brown wouldn’t be considering this bill in the first place. But maybe that’s it—Morton doesn’t see prosecutorial discretion, smart enforcement, or respecting local law enforcement’s community policing policies as part of his job. The alternative—that Morton would actually rather not use discretion and only does so under political pressure—is starting to hold water. When one-quarter of all Latinos say they know someone who has been detained or deported in the past year, the political pressure is getting pretty damn hard to ignore. And yet Morton’s boss, President Obama, wonders why Latinos aren’t as eager to turn out the vote in November.

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