ICE Chief Says Victims or Witnesses of Crimes Will Not be Deported
[ICE Director John Morton] said his memorandum has taken effect, stipulating that illegal aliens who are victims of crimes or witnesses to crimes will not be deported.
Undocumented immigrants victimized by domestic violence and arrested in the chaos of the moment need not fear subsequent deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE chief John Morton told Congress today that federal immigration authorities are carefully avoiding situations where both the victim and perpetrator of domestic violence were arrested by local police and then automatically referred to ICE agents for subsequent immigration proceedings.
Morton said his memorandum has taken effect, stipulating that illegal aliens who are victims of crimes or witnesses to crimes will not be deported.
“I am not aware of any cases coming to our attention since we have put that out,” Morton told the homeland security subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in testimony on behalf of his request for $5.6 billion for the next fiscal year.
Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and David Price, D-North Carolina, noted that first responders often end up arresting both people involved in violent domestic disputes.
Many local police departments then refer the finger prints of arrested suspects to ICE to check for immigration violations – a process that can trigger deportation proceedings.
Victims and perpetrators often are arrested “under very ambiguous circumstances,” Price said. “The concern here is of course that we are not victimizing the victim.”
Price said he was concerned that rumors ripple through the immigrant community that reporting a crime such as domestic violence results in the person reporting the crime or the victim “would themselves then face deportation or some dire consequence.”
That leads to undocumented immigrants refusing to report the crimes, complicating law enforcement, Price said.