A coalition of immigration-reform groups says a program that’s supposed to catch illegal immigrants with criminal records is causing people who aren’t criminals to be deported, says the Columbus Dispatch. About 1 in 4 people deported by the federal Secure Communities program had no criminal conviction, says the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which works for laborers’ civil rights.
In Columbus’ Franklin County, more than half who were deported through the program had no criminal record. “We’re not talking about people who are truly dangerous criminals,” said Gary Daniels of the the American Civil Liberties Union. “These are people who are getting caught in the dragnet of law enforcement.” Federal officials said their top priority is deporting criminals. The Department Homeland Security said Secure Communities has identified more than 21,000 illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes such as rape, murder and child abuse, since it began three years ago.