Occasional-Cortex and 34 other Democrats objected to immigration authorities targeting aggravated felons for deportation
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., led a group of her House Democratic colleagues in a letter to federal immigration officials demanding an overhaul of immigration policies and objecting to gang members in the country illegally being targeted for deportation.
Ocasio-Cortez and 34 of her Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Tae Johnson, calling on them to change immigration policies that rely on the US’s “discriminatory legal system.”
The lawmakers claim an interim enforcement memo issued by ICE “does not adequately protect the liberty interests of asylum seekers” and presumes an illegal migrant — including those convicted of aggravated felonies —to be a “border security and enforcement and removal priority.”
“This blanket presumption will effectively mean detaining an untold number of people who have fled persecution,” the lawmakers wrote.
Additionally, the letter claims the “definition of an aggravated felony” is a “relic of the racist War on Drugs” and that the “category has been interpreted to include many state drug misdemeanors.”
“‘Aggravated felonies’ as a category have been designed to ensure that people have as few rights as possible to fight detention and deportation,” Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues wrote.
“Moreover, we are concerned that the memorandum only requires ICE officers have a ‘good faith belief’ that someone has an aggravated felony conviction even while acknowledging that such a determination is ‘a complex question,’” they continued.
The lawmakers also claimed the memo “invites racial profiling” by making a migrant who has been convicted of actively or intentionally participating in gang activity a “public safety enforcement and removal priority.”