PHOENIX — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials made the final decision to remove an undocumented immigrant from Arizona, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.
“ICE determined that she violated the law,” he told media during a daily briefing.
Spicer was responding to a question about the case of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was removed from the country earlier this month after a routine immigration hearing. The reporter asked if de Rayos was considered a danger to the public, to which Spicer responded the White House does not get involved in individual cases.
“Our job shouldn’t be to figure out should this individual have to abide by the law, should this individual get a pass,” he said.
De Rayos was found guilty of felony identity theft following a 2008 raid on her workplace by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. She was allowed to remain in the country, so long as she checked in with immigration officials, under an executive order signed by then-President Barack Obama.
An order from President Donald Trump widened the definition of illegal immigrants eligible for deportation. Spicer said the broader definition wasn’t intended to be applied on a case-by-case basis.
“Our job here at the White House isn’t to call balls and strikes and say, ‘Well, this person violated only part of the law,'” he said.
“If this was any other subject, if this was tax evasion, and we said, ‘Well, they … only cheated on their taxes a little,’ you wouldn’t be saying, ‘Hey, should they really be going to prison or should they be getting a fine.'”
Spicer also said that those who dislike the nation’s immigration laws have the opportunity to do something about them.
“If people have a problem with a law, whether it’s a local, state or federal issue, then we should petition our lawmakers and the executive at that particular branch of government and change it,” he said.