Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported more than 400,00 people over the last four years. ICE now says it will be clearer about its detention policies.
Though the Secure Communities program, ICE has local police detain undocumented people whom they think might have criminal records. The problem has been that many detained people did not have criminal records. Many were only guilty of minor offenses, such as a broken taillight.
ICE now says it will focus on individuals charged with serious crimes. Such crimes include sexual abuse, drunken driving, weapons possession and drug trafficking.
Observers say ICE said it was going to do this a few years ago. However, it continued rounding up thousands of non-threatening, undocumented individuals. They say the Secure Communities program itself is the problem. It gives local police too much power and too little advice on how to enforce the program.
Many local officials say Secure Communities hurts their relationship with immigrant groups. They say crime victims and witnesses will not cooperate with the police if they are afraid of being deported.
Advocates hope the nation’s is turning a corner in its immigration policies. This comes after several states and cities in places like California, New York and Illinois said they would resist cooperating with the Secure Communities program.