From The Nation:
Renée Feltz–July 8, 2011
On June 17, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a slate of reforms to its Secure Communities program that director John Morton said are about prioritizing its limited resources and “making sure we focus on those people it makes the most sense to remove.” In reality they amount to a political attempt to salvage Obama’s flagship immigration program, which despite a multimillion-dollar mandate to target “dangerous criminal aliens,” has been undermined by ICE’s own data, which show that the majority of those it deports have no criminal record or were charged with minor offenses like traffic tickets. Critics argue that the program has re-established racial profiling as a legitimate policing practice. If the 1990s catchphrase was “Driving While Black,” now it could be “Driving While Immigrant.”
Take the example of Salvador Licea. Last August he was returning to his construction job in McGregor, Texas, after a lunch break when a routine traffic stop turned into a check of his immigration status. A local police officer noticed Licea’s expired inspection sticker and pulled him over, then checked to see whether his driver’s license was also expired. It was. Recent changes in Texas law make it impossible for undocumented immigrants to renew their once valid licenses. So instead of getting a ticket, Licea was arrested and booked into a McLennan County jail that participates in Secure Communities. His fingerprints were automatically shared with federal immigration agents and he was marked eligible for deportation.
“What crime did I commit?” Licea asks. “I was just doing my thing, just trying to get to work.” He says he often felt nervous when he saw a police officer while driving, even when he had a valid license. “Is he going to stop me for breaking the law?” Licea says he would ask himself. “Or is he just going to stop me for the color of my skin?” (more…)
Filed under: immigrant community, Law, Law Enforcement | Tagged: American Immigration Lawyers Association, Andrew Cuomo, Center for Constitutional Rights, David Leopold, Deval Patrick, End Racial Profiling Act, Illinois, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, Margaret Huang, Massachusetts, New York, Pat Quinn, Rights Working Group, Secure Communities, Sunita Patel | Leave a Comment »