Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 9, 2012 – If the U.S. is supposed to be deporting the real criminals under the Secure Communities initiative, they are way off the mark.
“From what you read in the papers and online, you’d think that the immigrants being deported were serious criminals. That is not what is happening, no matter what the government hoopla wants you to believe. In fact, undocumented immigrants being deported have only committed minor breaches of the law and/or have no criminal record. There is something drastically wrong with that,” stated Larry S. Rifkin, managing partner at Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, an immigration law firm with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
The shocking figures speak for themselves. In a recent report, titled “The Hidden Truth About Secure Communities,” authored by Michigan’s Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform, it was revealed that 72 percent of deportations, in that state alone, between 2009 and 2011 were non-criminals at 49 percent and low level offenders, at 23 percent. Additionally, 48 percent of the immigrants hauled in for questioning and booked were non criminals. It is likely other states would find the numbers to be similar.
On the other side of the media release are figures from ICE that claim 44 percent of nationwide deportations nationwide from 2008 through January 2012 were level 1 and level 2 offenders, which included immigrants that committed felonies and serious crimes. An additional 30 percent were level 3 offenders, which included misdemeanors and minor infractions. “There is quite a difference in the numbers. So, really, who do you believe?” asked Rifkin.
“The Secure Communities program was launched in 2007, and basically, it lets Homeland Security check the immigration status of those arrested locally. The FBI then sends fingerprint records to Homeland Security and officials can ask for local law enforcement to detain immigrants eligible for deportation for 48-hours,” he explained.
Additionally, this program was once optional for the states and was to target criminals. Over time, it was expanded by the current administration and is slated to become nationwide by 2013. Just because Illinois and New York attempted to opt out, but were told they could not, they must still send fingerprint data relating to local prisoners. “So really, it’s not too much of a surprise that people are pointing out that detaining non criminals, and deporting them, is economic suicide for local government and police forces. But more tellingly, it shatters any trust built up between local immigrant communities and the police,” Rifkin remarked.
Who in their right mind, if they were an illegal immigrant, would report a crime to the police or offer to be a witness given what is happening right now? This is where further concerns of racial profiling raises its ugly head, and with good reason, as just about 93 percent of those deported under this program were Latino. “And the message here is?” queried Rifkin. Perhaps the most pertinent question should be whether or not the Secure Communities program should stay in force.
Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, P.A.
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