President Obama’s executive action will potentially have a number of ramifications as far as the nation’s immigration policy is concerned. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, one of the outcomes of the executive action is the end of the Secure Communities Program, which many immigrant advocates have said over the years is what is wrong with the nation’s immigration strategy. The program was meant to identify potentially deportable immigrants who had committed crimes. The program basically provided immigration agents with fingerprint records that had been collected in local jails.
In a number of cases, immigration holds were placed on inmates who were believed to be in the country illegally. The holds went beyond the inmate’s jail term. Activists said the program destroyed immigrants’ trust in law enforcement and resulted in the deportations of those who had committed no crimes or just minor infractions. President Obama announced that he putting an end to the Secure Communities Program.
The president has now made clear that federal agents should focus only on deporting felons and not separating people from their families. The new program, titled Priority Enforcement Program, will only focus on those who have been convicted of violent or serious crimes or those who pose a threat to national security. According to the Times, in the year 2013, 82 percent of all those who were deported from the United States had been convicted of a crime and many of them were likely identified through the Secure Communities Program.
It is still too early to tell what these new laws will mean to immigrant communities in Los Angeles. If you have questions or concerns about your immigration status or if you require defense against deportation, please contact The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. for more information.