Not Just Arizona: Immigration Enforcement Out of Control on Federal Level
By Bill Quigley. Bill is legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. His email is email@example.com
While people protest the terrible Arizona state law that uses local law enforcement to target immigrants, the federal government is expanding its efforts to use local law enforcement in immigration enforcement and has launched a major PR campaign to defend it.
One example of the out of control federal program occurred last week in Maryland. Florinda Lorenzo-Desimilian, a 26 year old married mother of three, lives in Prince George's CountyMaryland. Last week she was arrested in her home by local police on a misdemeanor charge of selling $2 phone cards out of her apartment window without a license.
Ms. Lorenzo-Desimilian was booked at the county jail. During booking, she was fingerprinted. Local police sent her prints to the FBI who in turn notified ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that she had overstayed her work visa. Even though her three children are U.S. citizens, ICE kept her in jail for two days and is now trying to deport her.
This is the result of a federal ICE and Homeland Security program called "Secure Communities" which is supposed to be targeting violent criminals. Instead, this program is really operating a dragnet scooping up and deporting tens of thousands of immigrants, like Ms. Lorenzo-Desimilian, who are no security risk to anyone.
Congress provided funding to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security in 2008 to "identify aliens convicted of a crime, sentenced to imprisonment, who may be deportable, and remove them from the US once they are judged deportable."
ICE says this program "supports public safety by strengthening efforts to identify and remove the most dangerous criminal aliens from the United States."
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