The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the end of quotas for undocumented immigrants who ignored deportation orders in attempt to make more changes to the program. John Morton, who took over as head of the federal agency in May, plans to target unlawful immigrants.
In 2003, the agency organized teams to arrest and deport immigrants with criminal records and outstanding deportation orders. During these sweeps—commonly coined “ICE raids”—armed agents showed up at homes, workplaces and apartment buildings to arrest tens of thousands of immigrants.
According to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, 73 percent of the nearly 97,000 people arrested between 2003 and early 2008 did not have criminal records. In 2006, as the report shows, the agency removed its requirement of two-thirds of those arrested be criminals.
During that same year, says that report, the teams were expected to increase annual arrests from 125 to 1,000. The expansion of the agency has been evident in the 104 fugitive operation teams (the program started with eight). The immigration agency also received $226 million for the program this year, an increase from $9 million in 2003.
Morton essentially approved targets, but found quotas to be futile. He moreover said that he would continue enforcing the law against immigrants who have fought their cases and lost.