Fingerprint sharing led to deportation of 47,000 – Yahoo! News.

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer Suzanne Gamboa, Associated Press Writer ā€“ Tue Aug 10, 7:17 am ET

WASHINGTON ā€“ Records show that about 47,000 people have been removed or deported from the U.S. after the Homeland Security Department sifted through 3 million sets of fingerprints taken from bookings at local jails.

About one-quarter of those kicked out of the country did not have criminal records, according to government data obtained by immigration advocacy groups that have filed a lawsuit. The groups plan to release the data Tuesday and provided early copies to The Associated Press.

As issue is a fingerprint-sharing program known as Secure Communities that the government says is focused on getting rid of the “worst of the worst” criminal immigrants from the U.S.

Immigration advocates say that the government instead spends too much time on lower-level criminals or non-criminals.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement divides crimes into three categories, with Level 1 being the most serious. Most of those deported committed Level 2 or 3 crimes or were non-criminals, a monthly report of Secure Communities statistics shows.

“ICE has pulled a bait and switch, with local law enforcement spending more time and resources facilitating the deportations of bus boys and gardeners than murderers and rapists and at considerable cost to local community policing strategies, making us all less safe,” said Peter Markowitz, director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.

Markowitz’s clinic, the National Day Laborer Organizers Network and the Center for Constitutional Rights had requested and sued for the statistics. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released some of the documents late Monday.

Richard Rocha, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said non-criminals still may be people who have failed to show up for deportation hearings, who recently crossed the border illegally or who re-entered the country after deportation. He also said it’s important to remember that more people commit crimes that are considered Level 2 and 3.

Secure Communities is “a beneficial partnership tool for ICE and state and local law enforcement agencies helping to identify, prioritize and remove convicted criminal aliens not only from the communities, but also from the country,” Rocha said.

The Obama administration wants Secure Communities operating nationwide by 2013.

As of Aug. 3, 494 counties and local and state agencies in 27 states were sharing fingerprints from jail bookings through the program.

From October 2008 through June of this year, 46,929 people identified through Secure Communities were removed from the U.S., the documents show. Of those, 12,293 were considered non-criminals.

IllegalInAmerica:

Wow, a whopping 12,293 people deported without criminal records.  Of course, these were people that had ‘re-entered’ the country illegally, or ‘recently’ came over.

We need a better system than one that is going to oust over 24% of its deportees only because they are of illegal status, and have not done any criminal activity.  The problem is that I know there are many more criminals out there, in every community both ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ that we should be focusing our attention on.

Peter Markowitz, thank you for everything you did to get those statistics released from ICE and Secure Communities… it really will show how horrible an immigration filtering system can be, especially when starting out with deporting over a quarter of its deportees for no apparent reason whatsoever… there is way to much hate going on in this country, and I am willing to bet that most of the 12,000 people deported for no reason were only deported because that is all that Secure Communities could capture.

OBAMA – is this true?  You and your administration are backing a system that has deported thousands just for re-entering the country, even though they had probably been here for their whole lives, and were going to visit their friends and family ‘illegally,’ but only because the system is so broken in America that they have to do it ‘illegally.’  When can we change the terms of this agreement with our politicians, and our culture.  It is obviously apparent that at least half of the U.S. agrees with me that something should be done about illegal immigration, and not an automatic deportation of 12,000,000 people.  Give us something to work with here, and quit wasting my time.

IIA

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