The controversial federal program that deputizes state and local law enforcement agents to catch illegal immigrants is expanding under the Obama administration, despite changes intended to curb alleged racial profiling and other police abuses, the Washington Post reports. The Department of Homeland Security says a small number of the 66 participating agencies have dropped out because of the new federal requirements. Those losses are offset by applications from 13 additional police and sheriff’s departments.
The program identified 60,000 illegal immigrants for deportation over the past year, the highest number since the program was expanded nationwide in 2006. Instead of scaling back the program, as its critics wanted, the Department of Homeland Security has reshaped it. The agency has reined in local police units that target illegal immigrants at large, directing the units instead to focus on those who commit major drug offenses or violent crimes, especially those already incarcerated.