The Secure Communities program has led disproportionately to the removal of Latino immigrants and to arrests by immigration authorities of hundreds of U.S. citizens, says a study by two law schools reported by the New York Times. About one third of deportees had spouses or children who were American Citizens.
The report is the first analysis of deportations under the Secure Communities program based on data about individual cases, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the University of California, Berkeley, law school and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. Secure Communities has drawn intense criticism from immigrant communities and from some state and local officials, who have said it led to deportations of many immigrants who were not dangerous offenders and eroded trust between the communities and local police. The Obama administration defends the program. “We came into office focused on creating a smart enforcement system by setting a rational system of priorities, and we have done that,” said John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “We said criminal offenders would be our highest priority, and lo and behold, they are the highest priority.”