U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton announced on December 21, 2012, the agency's fiscal year (FY) 2012 year-end removal numbers, highlighting trends that underscore the administration's focus on removing from the country convicted criminals and other individuals that fall into priority areas for enforcement.
To further focus ICE resources on the most serious criminal offenders, ICE also issued new national detainer guidance on the same day. This guidance limits the use of detainers to individuals who meet the department's enforcement priorities and restricts the use of detainers against individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses, such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes, to ensure that available resources are focused on apprehending felons, repeat offenders, and other ICE priorities. The new guidance applies to all ICE enforcement programs, including the federally administered Secure Communities. ICE priorities include identifying and removing those who have committed crimes, pose threats to national security, have crossed the border recently without authorization, and/or repeatedly violate immigration law. Overall in FY 2012, ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 409,849 individuals. Of these, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390, of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. This was almost double the number of criminals removed in FY 2008. The convictions included 1,215 for homicide; 5,557 for sexual offenses; 40,448 for crimes involving drugs; and 36,166 for driving under the influence.
In addition, ICE has also decided not to renew any of its agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies that operate task forces under the 287(g) program. ICE said it has concluded that "other enforcement programs, including Secure Communities, are a more efficient use of resources for focusing on priority cases." The 287(g) program allowed a state or local law enforcement entity to enter into a partnership with ICE to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within its jurisdiction. Critics said it diverted resources away from crime-fighting and resulted in profiling of Latinos. As of October 16, 2012, there were 57 such agreements.
The press release is available here.