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The Department of Homeland Security Announces It Will Focus on Deporting Criminal Aliens

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The Department of Homeland Security Announces It  Will Focus on Deporting Criminal Aliens

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Contributed by Kim Tremblay

On April 27, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced that undocumented immigrants fingerprinted through its Secure Communities program would no longer face deportation if they only had minor traffic violations in their records.  This announcement comes after the Secure Communities Task Force made this recommendation.  The Task Force noted that the program should not undermine the trust between local law enforcement and local communities and that DHS should focus on removing criminal aliens who represent a threat to society.

Although DHS has stated that it “prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators,” immigrant rights organizations and the press have pointed out that DHS’s own numbers do not reflect that priority.   Such concerns have been raised ever since DHS began implementing the program on a national scale in 2008.  It seems that DHS has finally realized that wasting about $20,000 of government resources every time it deports an undocumented individual stopped for a speeding ticket makes little sense.  Not to mention the social costs of these deportations.  Let’s hope DHS actually means it this time.

See ICE on Secure Communities:
http://www.ice.gov/secure_communities/

NYT article regarding DHS’s April 27, 2012 announcement:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/us/politics/traffic-violations-wont-earn-illegal-immigrants-deportation.html?ref=homelandsecuritydepartment

Secure Communities Task Force Findings and Recommendations:
http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/TaskForce.pdf

Some figures on the cost of deportation:
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/03/pdf/cost_of_deportation.pdf

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