Sixty-four percent of the 4,000 people ordered deported from New Jersey this year had no criminal record, says the Newark Star-Ledger. Nationally, those without criminal records represent just under 50 percent of those ordered deported. The disparity infuriates advocates for immigrants. Others say that simply being here illegally is sufficient grounds for deportation, even though the Obama administration is prioritizing cases against convicted criminals.
Immigration lawyers say police too often contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency after arresting Hispanics for minor offenses. “What's the benefit to the public of deporting thousands of people who work hard, pay taxes and never get in trouble?” said Joyce Phipps, the attorney for one defendant. “These are people who came here for a better life, to raise families.”