ICE now fields 104 fugitive operation teams nationwide, up from eight when the program started in 2003.
A controversial program that had set quotas for the arrest of undocumented immigrants is finally over. While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to bust into homes and workplaces, arresting and deporting illegal immigrants—some without deportation orders or criminal records—agents will no longer have a hard number that has to be met.
Those quotas, critics argued, pressed agents to arrest and deport beyond their already problematic levels. Nearly three-quarters of those arrested and deported by ICE in the past five years had no criminal record, and many of those had no deportation order. Rather, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Los Angeles Times:
The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced today that he has ended quotas on a controversial program designed to go after illegal immigrants who have ignored deportation orders and that he planned to make more changes to the program soon.
John Morton, who took over as head of the federal agency in May, said during a meeting with reporters in Los Angeles that the program needs to do what it was created to do—target absconders who have already had their day in court.
“The fugitive operations program needs to focus first and foremost on people who have knowingly flouted an immigration removal order and within that category obviously we will focus first on criminals,” he said.