Obama Official Vows to Ramp Up Deportations…Just Not in Arizona

| Mon May 24, 2010 1:20 PM EDT

The Obama administration might not process the illegal immigrants that Arizona authorities hand over to them—a possible means of blunting the impact of the state’s harsh new immigration law. At the same time, Homeland Security has vowed to ramp up its deportation of illegal immigrants elsewhere in the country.

Criticizing the Arizona law last week, John Morton, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said that his agency would not necessarily act upon referrals of suspected illegal immigrants from Arizona officials. Under the state’s new law, local law enforcement officials have the authority to detain suspected illegal immigrants, but they must verify their status with the federal government to proceed further. Such comments prompted conservatives like Senate candidate JD Hayworth--who's challenging McCain in Arizona--to call for Morton's resignation and slam the Obama administration for “encouraging lawlessness” by failing to enforce Arizona’s law.

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