Friday, March 11, 2011

Immigration policy: Police should pursue criminals, not immigrants - latimes.com

Immigration policy: Police should pursue criminals, not immigrants - latimes.com

California reached a milestone late last month when federal immigration officials quietly announced that all 58 counties in the state are now participating in Secure Communities, a controversial program created to track and deport dangerous criminals.

Unveiled in late 2008, Secure Communities is billed as a showpiece of immigration enforcement. Under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, state and local police must check the immigration status of people who have been arrested and booked into local jails by matching fingerprints against federal databases for criminal convictions and deportation orders.

But today, Secure Communities is mired in problems. About 60% of the 87,534 immigrants deported under the program had minor or no criminal convictions, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's statistics, even though the program was aimed at dangerous criminals.

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