There is no doubt that immigration reform is a frontline issue in American politics. But to help make sure that the voices of immigrants are heard along with politicians and lobbyists, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced the creation of a new public advocate position.
The advocate, who was announced this week, will work as a liaison between non-government immigrants rights groups and ICE, and reportedly has plenty of experience doing so in the past.
More specifically, the new advocate will be in charge of bringing the concerns of the immigrant advocates to ICE leadership and delivering new deportation programs and initiatives back to the advocates.
In announcing the new position in a statement this week, the ICE director said that the appointee "will work to expand and enhance our dialogue with the stakeholder community" and make sure that the public's voice is heard by the agency.
Advocacy groups reportedly welcome the effort, but said that they will hold off praise until the plans actually turn into action.
"It's almost premature to say whether this will lead to tangible results," the director of policy and legal affairs for the National Immigration Forum said. "It has some good ingredients here, it's promoting a person who has been in a liaison role. It's just another announcement, but it's a welcome announcement."
It appears that the effort is part of a broader initiative being taken by ICE in response to immigrant-advocacy groups and others who have expressed outrage over the huge numbers of undocumented immigrants that have been deported under the current administration.
Other efforts include the plan announced last year to lower the deportation rates of non-criminal undocumented immigrants by directing ICE agents to use "prosecutorial discretion."
Hopefully, these efforts will help make the country a less hostile place to be for immigrants.
Source: Huffington Post, "Immigrant Advocates Skeptical On New DHS Public Advocate Position," Elise Foley, Feb. 7, 2012