The Department of Homeland Security will review its program that deports criminals. Secure Communities is the name of the program. Critics say the program deports people convicted of low-level crimes or no crimes at all.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported more 28,000 immigrants convicted of crimes such as murder and rape. More than 100,000 immigrants have been deported since 2008.
A study found that 66 percent of immigrants caught in Maricopa County Arizona and deported were either low-level criminals or immigrants with no criminal record. Nationwide, 60 percent had been convicted of either low-level crimes or none at all.
There is growing opposition to the program from states and local governments. Lawmakers in Illinois, Washington state, California, Massachusetts and New York are saying they may leave the program. The Hispanic Caucus in congress said the Obama administration should freeze the program now and fix it.
One advocate said, “They say they are going after hardened criminals but in reality they are going after moms and pops and anyone else who falls into their dragnet.”
An official of DHS said the purpose of the program is to deport criminals. It is a civil, not a criminal offense to be in the country illegally. States were told the Secure Communities Program is voluntary.
The federal official said the Secure Communities Program is not voluntary. All states have to be in the program by 2013.