Resistance to the Obama administration’s Secure Communities program has exposed tensions in the president's immigration strategy, which has led to record numbers of deportations — almost 800,000 — in the past two years, reports the New York Times. The deportations have antagonized Latino immigrant communities that want Obama to press for legislation offering legal status to illegal immigrants. The deportations have not convinced many Republicans that the administration is strong enough on enforcement.
The states' objections are setting up a confrontation with the Department of Homeland Security, whose secretary, Janet Napolitano, has said that Secure Communities is mandatory and will be extended nationwide by 2013. The program, started in Texas in 2008, is currently operating in more than 1,200 local jurisdictions. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn withdrew from the program this week. John Morton, the head of the federal immigration agency, plans a trip to Springfield, Il., today to meet with officials there. The agency said it was conducting a full review of the program “to identify any irregularities that could indicate misconduct in particular jurisdictions” and to tighten its focus on criminals.