Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday that the agency will modify its policy under the Secure Communities program in relation to minor traffic arrests. A task force was created last year due to criticism of the program that uses fingerprint information to conduct immigration status checks of arrestees. The Homeland Security Advisory Council's Task Force on Secure Communities issued a report last year made recommendations to stop bringing removal proceedings to deport undocumented detainees who have no criminal record and have been arrested for e mere traffic offense.
ICE officials say, in a document released Friday that, "ICE agrees that enforcement action based solely on a charge for a minor traffic offense is generally not an efficient use of government resources."
The agency acknowledges in the letter that seeking to enforce federal immigration laws against people who have merely been arrested for a traffic violation or other minor offenses "poses the greatest risks of undermining community policing."
The Secure Communities program has received a great deal of attention in recent months. Under the federal information sharing program, the fingerprints of anyone booked into any jail are checked against fingerprints stored in a U.S. Homeland Security Department database in an effort to determine the arrestee's immigration status.
Generally, if federal authorities believe the Secure Communities status check reveals that a person may be an undocumented immigrant, they could seek to begin deportation proceedings against the individual. Florida ranks among the top five of all states for the number of immigrants deported through the Secure Communities program.
ICE says it is relaxing its policy to some degree on immigration holds under the Secure Communities program for first time offenders. In the next post, this blog will continue discussing the recent ICE announcement concerning deportation policies under Secure Communities.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Fewer people stopped for traffic offenses to face deportation," Jeremy Redmon, April 28, 2012