Since President Barack Obama took office in 2008, he has been an outspoken proponent of immigration reform, using various tactics to dismantle some of the existing American immigration policies. In November 2014, Obama announced the most comprehensive reform to immigration in over a decade, suggesting that parents of American citizens without serious criminal convictions that paid taxes in the United States should not be immediately deported for being undocumented. However, this policy runs counter to the Secure Communities program.
What is Secure Communities?
Secure Communities Program connected local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with one another in order to identify and deport those in the country without proper paperwork. Anytime someone was placed into police custody, whether convicted of a crime or not, their fingerprints were run through the national immigration database. If it revealed that the person in question was not legally allowed to be in the country, deportation proceedings were brought against this person.
A majority of the 2.3 million deportations under the Obama administration were the result of Secure Communities. In his November speech, President Obama announced an end to the program, seeking to devote resources to discovering felons, terrorists, and gang members who threaten national security.
Will President Obama's reforms be safe?
Republican lawmakers do not agree with the removal of Secure Communities. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that gave funding to the Department of Homeland Security only if the programs enacted by the President concerning immigration were reversed. This includes reinstating and increasing the funding for Secure Communities program.
President Obama has threatened to veto bills overturning his reforms, stating that Secure Communities:
- Separates immigrant families that have been in the United States for years
- Damages the relationships between the community and police departments
- Creates legal challenges and hurdles for immigrants and citizens alike
- Is a symbol of hostility concerning immigration laws
For many that live and work in the United States, their documentation is lost in the backlog of applications. In addition, businesses have been started and supported by many undocumented workers, demonstrating their great contribution to the American economy. Deporting those that have been stopped for low-level criminal offenses or have been acquitted of an accused crime may only serve to tear American families apart.
If you have been accused of a crime in Florida and do not have the proper immigration paperwork, you will need to take extra steps to protect your rights. Contact Herman Law, P.A. for legal representation you can trust.