Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Town Hall with the President,” President Barack Obama said of ICE agents who do not follow his administration’s stated deportation guidelines of only deporting felons, not families,”They’ve got a problem.”
The president said, “But what I can tell you is that, until we pass a law through Congress, the executive actions that we take are not going to be permanent, they’re temporary. We’re now implementing a new prioritization. There are going to be some jurisdictions, and if there are individual ICE officials, or border patrol, who aren’t paying attention to our new directives, they’ll be answerable to the department of Homeland Security, because he’s been very clear about what our priorities should be. And I’ve been very clear about what our priorities should be. And the — I don’t know what the particular circumstances here are. But what I can tell you is, people who have signed up, for example, under my executive action in DACA, there are 700,000, 800,000 people who signed up. They haven’t had problems. It’s worked. So we know how to make this work. “
“Right now we’ve got a judge who is blocking it in working. And in the interim, until we can actually process all these applications, then what we’re going to do is do what we can in terms of making sure that we’re prioritizing it properly. The challenge is still going to be that not only do we have to win this legal fight, which we are appealing very aggressively, but ultimately we’re still going to have to pass a law through congress. The bottom line is, Jose, that I’m using all of the legal power vested in me in order to solve this problem. And, you know, one of the things about living in a democracy is that we have separation of powers, we have Congress, we have the judicial branch. And, you know, right now, we’ve got some disagreements with some members of Congress, and some members of the judiciary in terms of what should be done. But what I’m confident about is ultimately this is going to get done. And the reason it’s going to get done is it’s the right thing to do. And it is who we are as a people.
The bottom line is that if somebody’s working for ICE, and there’s a policy, and they don’t follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it. So I can’t speak to a specific problem. What I can talk about is what’s true in the government generally. In the U.S. military when you get an order, you’re expected to follow it. It doesn’t mean that everybody follows the order. If they don’t, they’ve got a problem. And the same is going to be true with respect to the policies that we’re putting forward.”
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