Activists angered over deportation memo

March 31, 2010 at 4:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- Immigrant rights activists called on U.S. President Barack Obama to fire a top immigration official over a leaked memo on deporting undocumented immigrants.

The activists Tuesday demanded the firing of John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, El Nuevo Herald reported Wednesday.

"He must fire Morton now," said Maria Rodriguez of Florida Immigrant Coalition, one of several immigrant rights activists who spoke during a conference call with reporters arranged by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.

The memo, written by James M. Chaparro, director of ICE's Detention and Removal Operations, criticized the falling number of non-criminal deportations and outlined new goals for ICE agents to boost the number of deportations.

Activists said they were angry because the memo contradicts ICE's change in strategy under the Obama administration to apprehend foreign convicts and de-emphasizing work-site raids and arrests of undocumented immigrants who don't have criminal records.

After the memo was leaked, ICE officials said in a statement portions of the document "didn't reflect our polices" and were either corrected or withdrawn, El Nuevo Herald said.

"We are strongly committed to carrying out our priorities to remove serious criminal offenders first and we definitively do not set quotas," the statement said.

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