Tags: Homeland Security | Immigration | immigration | deportation | crime | secure communities

Study: Secure Communities Program Has Little Impact on Crime

By    |   Thursday, 04 September 2014 03:33 PM

The first comprehensive study of the controversial, 6-year-old Secure Communities program has concluded that it does little to reduce the overall crime rate in the United States. However, the report did find that many highly dangerous illegal immigrant criminals have been deported under the program.

In a massive analysis of the results of the program, Adam B. Cox of New York University's School of Law and Thomas J. Miles of the University of Chicago Law School contend that the program has had "no observable effect on the overall crime rate," The New York Times reports.

The program was enacted in 2008 under the Bush administration to allow local law enforcement to send fingerprints of suspected illegal immigrants booked into local jails for offenses to the Department of Homeland Security. Should that arrested individual prove to be an illegal immigrant, the DHS could request that local law enforcement hold that person until deportation proceedings could begin.

Since the program began, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tells the Times, over 288,000 convicted illegal immigrants have been deported, including 113,000 criminals convicted of major violent offenses such as child sexual abuse, murder, and rape.

"Our results show that Secure Communities led to no meaningful reductions in the FBI index crime rate. Nor has it reduced rates of violent crime — homicides, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault," the authors of the study write. "This evidence shows that the program has not served its central objective of making communities safer."

But ICE strongly disagrees.

"Secure Communities, by leaps and bounds, has allowed us to get the most egregious violators of our local statutes out of our communities and remove them from the country," an ICE senior official told the Times. "I don’t know how you can say that does not have an impact on community safety."

Since the inception of Secure Communities, many cities and states have bucked at the high cost of detaining illegal immigrants identified by ICE under the program and refused to participate. In 2012, the Huffington Post reported, Los Angeles County was spending $26 million each year on holding immigrants for ICE who otherwise would be released.

Lawmakers in the Hispanic Caucus have urged that the program be dropped, claiming that many have been deported after arrest for minor traffic violations, rather than for serious crimes, Huffington Post reported.

However, Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee queried Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on whether criminal immigrants have been allowed to go free. Johnson has commented in a May PBS interview that the program needs a "fresh start" and is under review.

"Secure Communities should be an efficient way to work with state and local law enforcement to reach the removal priorities that we have — those who are convicted of something," Johnson told PBS, admitting, "The program has become very controversial."

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The first comprehensive study of the controversial, 6-year-old Secure Communities program has concluded that it does little to reduce the overall crime rate in the United States.
immigration, deportation, crime, secure communities
Thursday, 04 September 2014 03:33 PM
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