Immigration officials say they deported a record number of illegal immigrants this year – nearly 400,000 people. But a new report that analyzes those numbers finds big problems with who is being deported and how those deportations are being handled. The report, "Secure Communities by the Numbers: An Analysis of Demographics and Due Process," was co-written by UC Berkeley's law school and the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York.
Peter Markowitz, clinical associate professor of law at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law
After our show aired, US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) provided this response to the report:
"The report published by the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy regarding Secure Communities (SC) is misleading and inaccurate. It fails to acknowledge how the program has enhanced public safety or even ICE's fundamental law enforcement responsibility to determine who is in this country illegally and who has lawful status. Every day, state, local, and federal agents and officers question individuals who they believe may be in the commission of an illegal act to ascertain probable cause for an arrest - it is simply core to the job of law enforcement.
ICE has very clear policies governing encountered individuals who claim to be United States citizens. There are millions of records which result in IDENT matches, but that doesn't mean that the agency takes action on cases where an individual is not removable. If there is a question about an individual's status, ICE conducts appropriate follow-up. If the individual is a US citizen, ICE takes no additional action. In exercising its civil immigration functions, ICE does not detain US citizens.
The fact of the matter is that through Secure Communities, ICE is transforming and modernizing immigration enforcement in a smart and effective manner to focus resources on identifying and removing individuals that are committing crimes in violation of state criminal laws in addition to immigration violations. ICE will continue carrying out its Congressional mandate to enforce our nation's immigration laws with a focus on public safety."