PEP program grants amnesty to illegals in prisons, jails

What would you say is a fitting punishment for an alien who commits identity theft in order to live illegally in the United States? Deportation? Not according to the Obama administration. In fact, under the new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), criminal illegals are rendered nearly untouchable by ICE:

In a nod to so-called sanctuary cities, the president’s policy prohibits U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from targeting most illegal immigrants for deportation, including most of those who come into contact with state and local police.

Agents can still troll jails and prisons, but are told to no longer go after illegal immigrants with offenses such as drug possession, theft or fraud if it involved stealing an identity to try to further their unlawful presences in the U.S., according to details of the policy released Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

Even some illegal immigrants who are charged with serious felonies but are released by local authorities won’t be picked up by immigration agents until they are convicted, the committee said.

The PEP program is a replacement for the Secure Communities program, an initiative implemented by George W. Bush that permitted ICE agents to scour prisons, jails, and booking sheets for illegal criminal aliens that they could deport. Amnesty advocates argued that Secure Communities permitted ICE to detain illegals without probable cause, and raised tensions between police and the Hispanic community.

However, PEP makes it much more difficult for ICE to detain illegal criminals who do warrant deportation:

“ICE will only seek transfer of individuals in state and local custody in specific, limited circumstances. ICE will only issue a detainer where an individual fits within DHS’s narrower enforcement priorities and ICE has probable cause that the individual is removable,” the agency said in a brochure describing the program. “In many cases, rather than issue a detainer, ICE will instead request notification (at least 48 hours, if possible) of when an individual is to be released. ICE will use this time to determine whether there is probable cause to conclude that the individual is removable.”

Extreme amnesty advocates are still unsatisfied with PEP, as they believe ICE shouldn’t be allowed to issue detainers at all.