Federal Immigration/Law Enforcement Program Criticized
Jun 11, 2009
A federal program designed to turn state and local police officials into immigration agents that has long been opposed by domestic violence experts was sharply criticized in a recent government report. Under the program, first implemented in 2002, state and local law enforcement agencies are trained to perform certain immigration officer duties to identify undocumented persons and deport serious criminals.
But the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the program is “not operating as intended” because it lacks key internal controls such as an official set of clearly stated objectives, adequate data collection methods, and a consistent set of supervisory guidelines, according to the report which was released in March.
As a result, state and local officials have deported an untold number of undocumented persons for minor crimes such as violations of traffic and open container laws. Deportations exacerbate already difficult living situations for immigrant women and families, many of whom live in poverty and have little access to public services that provide aid in the areas such as health care, housing and child care.
Domestic and sexual violence experts also charge that the program deters calls to police when domestic violence or sexual assaults occur, and cooperation with law enforcement and the justice system afterward.
To read Immigration Enforcement: Controls Over Program Authorizing State and Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws Should Be Strengthened click here.