Friday, May 16, 2014
From Associated Press:
President Barack Obama's new homeland security secretary is offering his first public hints at executive action the administration might take on immigration, suggesting changes to a much-criticized program that runs the names of people booked for local crimes through a federal immigration database.
But advocates who have pushed Obama for bold action with immigration legislation stalled in Congress wasted no time in declaring that such steps wouldn't go far enough.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, tasked by Obama with reviewing the nation's deportation policy to see whether it can be made more humane, said Thursday that the so-called Secure Communities program needs "a fresh start."
The program allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to ask local police and sheriffs to detain people who have been booked and whose fingerprints match up in a federal database for immigration violations. ICE can then decide whether to deport them.
That's led to complaints that people are being deported for immigration violations without being convicted of any crime, or with only minor offenses. Police and sheriff's officials also complain people are afraid to interact with law enforcement because they worry they'll be deported. Following recent court rulings that raised questions about the program, local governments increasingly have announced plans to refuse to honor the detention requests. Read more.