Of the hundreds of counties in the U.S. participating in a rapidly expanding federal program designed to catch and deport dangerous criminal immigrants, Maricopa County leads the nation in both the number of immigrants arrested and the number deported, says the Arizona Republic. Two-thirds of those caught in the county and deported through the Secure Communities program are either low-level criminals or have no criminal record at all says a Republic analysis of the 2-year-old program. Nationwide, 60 percent of those deported had been convicted of either low-level crimes or none at all
Those findings run counter to claims by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the Obama’s administration is focusing law-enforcement resources on illegal immigrants who pose the greatest threat to public safety. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency “has been saying all along that this is a program for catching the most dangerous people. But if you look at the numbers, that doesn’t seem to be the way it’s playing out,” said Bridget Kessler, an immigration lawyer at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law School in New York.