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January 27, 2015

Immigration Offenses Made Up Half Of All Federal Arrests In 2012
By by Esther Yu-Hsi Lee

2008 marked the start of Secure Communities, a federal immigration enforcement program mobilized counties to work with local immigration enforcement to share all arrested immigrantsí fingerprints with the Department of Homeland Security, regardless of the nature of the offense or whether that immigrant was ultimately convicted. DHS can then issue a detainer asking local enforcement officials to hold the immigrant until federal officials can take them into custody. Those immigrants could then be placed in deportation proceedings. The intention of the program is to prioritize individuals charged with serious crimes, but in practice, immigrants who have committed minor offenses are swept up in the deportation pipeline. Many minor offenses, like not having a valid driverís license, are often unavoidable for undocumented immigrants, who up to 2014 were unable to get driverís licenses in major states like California. Newer data provided by Syracuseís Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that immigration arrests steadily increased in 2013 and 2014, with illegal entry and illegal reentry leading the top two charges filed for prosecutions.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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