LULAC Calls on ICE to End the Practice of Setting Deportation Targets for Immigrants Convicted of Minor Offenses

Disclosure of Numerical Deportation Targets for Minor Offenses Raises Serious Questions About the Agency’s Commitment to Fairness and Due Process

February 13, 2013

Contact: Paloma Zuleta
202-833-6130
PZuleta (at) LULAC.org

Washington DC - LULAC voiced its concern over the discovery of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation policies that establish minor offenses, such as traffic violations, as grounds for deportation, despite its stated policy of prioritizing criminals. Top government officials have approved the practice after struggling to meet deportation targets that were portrayed as being limited to dangerous felons.

“These performance measures put forward a bad precedent because they encourage ICE agents to scour communities for people to deport regardless of whether they are really a threat,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “We have been working with the Administration and Congress to achieve a complete overhaul of the current broken immigration system in a way that is fair, protects our borders, and provides an opportunity for undocumented children and workers to come out of the shadow. Yet, with the unveiling of this new practice, we worry not only of civil rights violations but also lament for the families that have been torn apart in the push to satisfy the targets.”

“We have long suspected that ICE was setting numerical targets and that the vast majority of immigrants being targeted for deportation were for minor offenses, not the type of serious felonies the agency touts in their talking points,” stated Brent Wilkes, LULAC National Executive Director. “The Obama Administration must direct ICE to end this practice immediately. If it turns out that the number of immigrants who commit serious crimes is too low to warrant the size of ICE’s enforcement budget, then the Agency should report those results to Congress rather than try to justify the expenditures by deporting hard working immigrants who have committed only minor offenses.” ICE officials accessed DMV records to search for those foreign-born to meet the high deportation targets. The practice increases deportations of people charged with minor offenses. In amplifying the eligibility for deportations to include the people at the low-priority levels, LULAC questions the measurement goals set internally by ICE top officials.

Ultimately it is practices like this one that uphold the need for comprehensive immigration reform. We urge ICE to end the practice of unnecessary targeting of individuals for deportation. Additionally we ask Congress to introduce a bill that would tackle our broken immigration system in a fair and sensible way.

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org

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