President Barack Obama’s most recent executive orders on immigration reform not only created programs that allows for undocumented immigrants to apply for deferral of deportation, but it also announced the end of a deportation enforcement program.
The Secure Communities and administrative immigration policies was a law enforcement policy that required the cooperation of multiple levels of law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The program is run by the federal immigration enforcement agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and was designed to deport criminals and potentially dangerous people before deporting minor offenders in jails and prisons across the U.S. Criticisms of the program have pointed out that the exact opposite is often the case, with minor offenders deported in a majority of cases. Ironically, the program seems to benefit serious criminals.
The Secure Communities program was designed as an informational tool for enforcement organizations. How it works is that when someone is apprehended in a particular jurisdiction, their fingerprints are checked against a database of immigrants fingerprints. If it is found that the person may have questionable immigration status, ICE issues a detainer on the person so that they will be held until ICE can investigate their immigration status.
There have been numerous problems with this program including the detention of citizens, the suspension of due process and needless cluttering of jails and prisons. It is also not very popular among local jurisdictions as it is seen as disruptive to local law enforcement
Obama’s decision to do away with Secure Communities is a step in the right direction as this sort of program does nothing but alienate residents of the U.S. Instead, programs that allow justice to be done in these circumstances should be promoted.