More than 40 percent of the immigrants deported from Maryland under a sweeping federal program called Secure Communities have no prior criminal record — a percentage that puts the state among the top five in the nation for such deportations, reports the Baltimore Sun. By contrast, 20 percent of the immigrants deported nationwide under the program have no record, and in Texas the rate is 12 percent.
The deportations, which often begin with traffic stops, are taking place even though Secure Communities was originally touted as a program that targets dangerous criminals. The removals in Maryland are occurring in a state where lawmakers have embraced pro-immigrant policies, including for those living here illegally. Maryland is one of the first East Coast states to distribute driver’s licenses to immigrants, for instance, and to allow undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition.