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New site tracks immigration enforcement

LatinaLista — In this country, the notion that someone would be arrested and jailed for not committing a crime is considered one of the risks for being at the wrong place at the wrong time for members of communities of color.

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If someone is an undocumented immigrant, then deportation is the ultimate punishment for being arrested and jailed with no real due process of law.

Yet in those communities that have signed on to participate in the Secure Communities program, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have access to community arrest data of undocumented immigrants to ferret out, what we consider the real criminals, a new web site is uncovering rampant abuse.

Deportation Nation is a new investigative reporting project that critically examines the increase in detention of innocent and low-level immigrant offenders as a result of enforcement programs mandated to target “dangerous criminal aliens.”

The reporters behind Deportation Nation, Renee Feltz and Stokely Baksh, concentrate on the Secure Communities program that is in practice in 200 counties in 21 states and will be deployed nationwide in 2013.

The objective of the program has always been to identify those undocumented immigrants who are considered “level 1 offenders,” those who commit felonies like murder and robbery. Yet, Feltz and Baksh found that the program’s intent was being ignored.

During the program’s first year it identified 119,052 criminal aliens, leading to the deportation of 1,191 high level offenders and 14,615 immigrants convicted of lesser offenses.

In addition to keeping tabs on the federal government’s abuse of the Secure Communities program, the site features news feeds pertaining to Secure Communities news, print and multimedia stories, an interactive library and an ongoing project featuring the personal horror stories of immigrants detained in the judicial system preserved in recordings.

The ramification of the federal government misrepresenting the intent of the Secure Communities program leaves the impression that all undocumented immigrants are level 1 offenders whom should be feared by the American public.

No wonder bills like Arizona’s SB 1070 are so popular among people who are ignorant of the facts.


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