Secure Communities Program Called Into Question

The Washington Post reported that despite vows by the Obama administration to focus its immigration enforcement efforts on criminals, a quarter of those who have been deported through a program called Secure Communities had not been convicted of committing any crime, government statistics show. And that percentage was vastly higher in some jurisdictions, including Prince George’s County, where two-thirds of the 86 undocumented immigrants were not criminals. The Prince George’s rate of noncriminal deportation was the second-highest in the country among counties or cities with at least 50 removals, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement figures through the end of July, the latest numbers made available. By comparison, 15 percent of the 105 immigrants removed from Prince William County, which has taken a much tougher stance toward illegal immigrants than Prince George’s, were not criminals. Even Maricopa County in Arizona – home to Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” – deported noncriminals at a rate of less than half that of Prince George’s. The disparities have left local authorities puzzled and immigrant rights activists outraged. Immigration officials declined to explain the disparities but defended Secure Communities, which is becoming the nation’s central immigration enforcement mechanism.

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