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Priority Enforcement Program – How DHS is Focusing on Deporting Felons

That is why, as part of the executive actions the President announced last November, we ended the controversial Secure Communities program. This was a program by which our immigration personnel lodged orders known as “detainers” to hold individuals in local jails, so that they could be handed directly over to federal authorities for enforcement purposes after their time in local custody. The goal of the program was to make it easier to identify and remove convicted criminals. But, in many instances the program led to the transfer of those who had been in this country for years, and had simply been picked up and charged with a minor offense, without a conviction. As a result, the Secure Communities program became embroiled in political and legal controversy. And, in reaction, a rapidly expanding list of city, county and state governments enacted laws and directives that limit or outright prohibit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement personnel. The consequences nationwide have, regrettably, included notorious cases in which dangerous individuals on whom we placed detainers were released to the streets, and committed more serious crimes.

Statement By Secretary Jeh C. Johnson On The Migration Policy Institute Report

I am pleased that the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute has taken note of our initiative to “substantially transform the U.S. deportation system.” In November 2014, I announced our new enforcement priorities which focus our resources on public safety and border security, while deprioritizing those undocumented who have been here for years, committed no serious crimes, and have in effect become integrated members of society.

Written testimony of ICE Director for a Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing titled “Oversight of the Administration’s Misdirected Immigration Enforcement Policies: Examining the Impact of Public Safety and Honoring the Victims”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldaña outlines the role the dedicated men and women of ICE play in the apprehension, detention, and removal of individuals unlawfully present in the United States and the critical work ICE investigators perform to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations operating in and affecting American communities.

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