Smith: President Ends Criminal Deportation Program
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in further response to immigration executive actions President Obama signed today:
Congressman Smith: “The president wants to rewrite our immigration laws and give amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. These actions put millions of illegal immigrants ahead of Americans and those who followed the rules in order to live in the United States lawfully. But the president also eliminated a highly successful program that takes criminal illegal immigrants off our streets and assists in removing them from the country.
“The Secure Communities program was put in place in 2008 as a partnership between local law enforcement and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Despite a lack of support from this administration, the program has been used to remove almost 400,000 convicted criminal aliens. Local officials, many in my home state of Texas, have used the Secure Communities program to protect Americans and keep our communities safe. Those identified under the program are often repeat offenders and have committed crimes such as theft, assault, drunk and drugged driving, and even murder.
“The president cannot claim that he will prioritize deportation of felons while scrapping a successful program designed to do just that.”
The Secure Communities program uses an already-existing federal-information sharing partnership between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that helps to identify criminal aliens so that ICE can take enforcement action. To date, over 375,000 convicted criminal aliens have been removed as a result of Secure Communities.
A White House memo released Thursday stated that the president’s actions would do away with the program but claims it would replace with a new ‘Priority Enforcement Program.’ Few details have been made available regarding and how it would differ from Secure Communities.