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Over the last six years, which includes the last year of the Bush administration, this study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, (TRAC), indicates 2.3 million people were deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Secure Communities and ICE Deportation: A Failed Program? TRAC Series on ICE Deportation. During this period the "Secure Communities" program was launched and expanded to cover all jurisdictions in the U.S. which requires the ICE to maintain a centralized database of all fingerprints of immigrants and non-citizens, and requires local law enforcement agents to detain and submit the fingerprints of suspected undocumented non-citizens.

Analysis of ICE data covering these 2.3 million deportations obtained by TRAC show that while the agency was able to increase the number of non citizens it deported who had been convicted of a crime, this was largely a result of an increase in the deportations of individuals whose most serious conviction was an immigration or traffic violation.

As we see in Table 5, the top three most common charges among ICE deportees during FY 2013 were either immigration or traffic offenses. Conviction for illegal entry was first, driving while intoxicated (DWI) was second, and simple traffic violation was third.

In fourth place in FY 2013 was conviction for marijuana possession. This meant that out of all deportations where the most serious conviction involved drugs, the most common offense found was simple marijuana possession. The number of marijuana possession deportation cases had grown so that they exceeded convictions for cocaine possession, which had dropped to sixth place overall.  

This report supports the view we've been hearing from many leaders of the Hispanic and other immigrant communities who have been pleading with President Obama to review the escalation of deportations they say is ripping apart families who have been well established here, and often deporting parents to places they no longer have any family, ties, or support infrastructure.

Even Republican Jeb Bush has voiced a more sympathetic view towards immigration issues recently.  

An examination of millions of deportation records since the launch of Secure Communities — a massive government surveillance program — shows that this continuing effort has not increased the removal of its primary announced targets: non-citizens who have committed crimes other than minor violations. In fact, the number of such individuals deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has actually declined over the last four years.

Secure Communities is an ambitious national program under which millions of fingerprint records submitted to the FBI by local law enforcement agencies are passed along to ICE. At that point, the immigration agency issues "detainers" for those that ICE wants the local organizations to hold and then turn over to it. (According to ICE it has already reviewed 32 million fingerprint records through this program.) The broad failure of Secure Communities to achieve its stated goals has been masked by sharp increases in the deportation of those whose most serious conviction was for an immigration violation or traffic offense.

What becomes of these people? For the heart breaking story I jump ahead to the article by Daniel Robelo

What becomes of the people who are deported? The sad, simple truth is that they will first likely be disappeared within the (increasingly for-profit) U.S. prison and detention system; then sent back to their countries of origin, where they may no longer have any ties to family or community, may lack basic survival needs like food, housing and health services and may face serious threats to their security. Those who are removed from the country are usually barred from reentry, often for life -- no matter if they have family members who are U.S. citizens or decades-long ties to their communities of residence here in the states. ... The result, then, is thousands of families broken and communities torn apart every single year.

How incredibly sad and tragic.

Daniel Robelo, a Research Associate in the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of Legal Affairs in Berkeley, California, has written, The Drug War = Mass Deportation: 250,000 Deported for Drug Offenses in Last 6 Years

The drug war has increasingly become a war against migrant communities. It fuels racial profiling, border militarization, violence against immigrants, intrusive government surveillance and, especially, widespread detentions and deportations.

Media and politicians have tried to convince us that everyone who gets deported is a violent criminal, a terrorist or a drug kingpin. But a newly released, first-of-its-kind report shatters that notion, showing instead that the majority (some two-thirds) of those deported last year were guilty of minor, nonviolent offenses -- including thousands deported for nothing more than possessing small quantities of drugs, typically marijuana.

Daniel Robelo makes a very reasonable proposal which I do not believe he will mind me including in a small forth paragraph.

Central to our demands is that no one be arrested, incarcerated or deported for merely using or possessing drugs -- which necessarily entails two major drug law reforms: (1) legalize and regulate marijuana, and (2) stop arresting and criminalizing people for using or possessing everything else.

Such steps are critical for dismantling the war on drugs and ending the war on immigrants - a fight that is, in many ways, one and the same.

I agree with this common sense and compassionate proposal.

P.S.  Daniel Robelo is research coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance (  This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance  Blog:

7:36 PM PT: "The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights" to vote, says President Obama

U.S. MMJ and recreational cannabis sales to reach $8 billion by 2018

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Originally posted to HoundDog on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Protest Music, Team DFH, and Subversive Agitation Team Action Network.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Seriously (11+ / 0-)

    Traffic violations and marijuana. I know, Bob Dylan, a LONG time ago, sang "To live outside the law you must be honest" but I wonder how many of the traffic violations were something like expired tags or a broken tail light. I'd bet close to half, if not more.

    Thanks for this. It's a necessary diary.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:38:35 PM PDT

    •  Make me ill to think some of these people are (7+ / 0-)

      parents and sent to these "for-profit prisons" where they never see their families again.

      How can we let this happen in the U.S.?

      And, these communities are a critical part of our base, eight months before a critical election where we are going to be rallying every one to get and and vote?

      Have we lost our minds?

      Some of these families are going to be mad as heck, having expected we  would have, and should have treated them better than this.

      Where's the alarm or Red phone to our top Democratic leaders?

      President Obama should give up thinking he is going to win over any Republicans with appeasement and use his executive order powers to fix this problem PDQ!!!!

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 06:56:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  our painter (5+ / 0-)

    Our painter recently got picked up by immigration for deportation after getting a DUI.  He apparently, though we had no idea, had been here for 20 years illegally.  He was incorporated and seemed to have a healthy business and was living with his sister, but there was/is talk that he could be on a plane back to Trinidad in a week.  The speed of the whole process floored me.

    I did though think a DUI was more serious than a traffic violation.  You don't handle a DUI in front of a district judge like a moving violation.

  •  Your point? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    They are in the country illegally.   THAT is why they are being deported.   What part of that is so damn difficult to understand?

    •  I dunno, what part of you profiting from their (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, spacecadet1

      work don't you understand?

      By the way, "Truth Hurts", are you 100% Native American?  No?  Was your move to this nation approved by those who were here? Or did you just take what you wanted, killing those who got in your way?  You, your ancestors, whatever.

      Sins of the father, and all that.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:21:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Using the law to exclude a human being who (0+ / 0-)

      has done nothing offensive in deference to a territorial claim, for which there is no predicate in nature, is basically immoral. Moreover, using the law to perpetrate immoral acts, albeit there's a long history and slavery is a prime example, using the law to perpetrate immoral acts denigrates the law itself. It is not possible to recognize the law as an instrument of justice when it is employed unjustly.

      However, the law is formulated by our legislative bodies, by people whom we elect directly. If they abuse the law to justify the arbitrary exclusion of human beings, members of our own species, then they need to be removed from office.

      Let me suggest, in the interest of completeness, that neither prejudice nor segregation are inherently offensive. What is offensive in a community of social organisms, which is what the human species is, is the exclusion or expulsion of our own kind for arbitrary reasons -- i.e. not having the right papers or asked for permission to enter. That entry has to be permitted is a recent imposition on the global community. That entry is conditioned on monetary wealth makes it prima facie un-Constitutional because it involves un-equal treatment.

      by hannah on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 03:53:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For me, a DUI is a no go... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, IT Professional

    Many countries including Canada will not allow you to enter if you have a DUI conviction. I'm sorry, I want someone with that problem gone quickly. I can see some grace given for a single minor traffic violation of marijuana possession for personal use. Anything else should get you kicked out.

    I'll endorse the Bob Dylan quote referenced above...

    •  There's a huge difference between a one time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, spacecadet1

      DUI and repeat offending alcoholics.

      Practically anyone who drinks has "DUI'd" under today's strict standards.  If his blood alcohol was way way over 0.08, well, then that is a consideration.

      Frankly, we need to know more about the case and the actual facts involved, don't we?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:23:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That grip and grinner Jeb Bush got ink (6+ / 0-)

    because he called illegal immigration an act of love.

    Compassionate conservatism...he's running, I have said it and said it...

    Dems have two areas where they can have points shaved by the occasional republican spin: MJ prohibitions (very deserved too) and immigration.

    Puts me in mind of this great picture..

    there's a story in the paper today about a fella that works in a custom sawmill in Washington, friends and employers and neighbors trying to get him freed and sponsored.

    And what was the other goofy repub immigration quote.. 'immigrants come here to commit crimes americans won't commit.'


    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:53:16 PM PDT

    •  Yes, he's running. He'd never have made a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, KenBee, ladybug53

      statement like that if not. If he doesn't run, he's helping the Bush family big money backers set up his son, George Prescott Bush, for a run in 10 or so years.  Being half-latin will give him a big advantage and the ground-work is being laid in Texas now.  GPB is running for Texas Land Commissioner today.
      Ten, twelve years and they'll have raised his bona fides and gathered the money to seat another president.

      They'll step him up to the presidency just like they did with inveterately drunk, cocaine-using George W. Bush.  GPB will be a lot easier to 'set-up' than W.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 12:27:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More evidence that the automotive vehicle (0+ / 0-)

    is actually a cage with wheels, consistent with the desire to keep people in their place, where they are easy to control.
    First these immigrants violate that preference by walking across the border on their own two feet, then they drive the culture of obedience to distraction by being obedient voluntarily. Thus, the first minor infraction presents as an opportunity to impress that obedience is only meaningful when it is coerced.

    The primary characteristic of the culture of obedience is that all behavior, to be compliant, has to be coerced. The result, because obedience is actually a natural virtue (people follow directives to avoid mistakes, imitation is presumably good), coerced obedience has to depend on illogical demands. To demonstrate that one has been coerced into being obedient, one has to do something bad. That's sort of a corollary to the truth that for power to be felt, it has to hurt.

    If that's correct, then we might take the presence of illogical behavior as evidence of evil direction. So, for example, the torture of detainees that revealed nothing of value is evidence that torture was demanded and leads to the judgement that the people who demanded it must be removed and punished.

    by hannah on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 03:37:50 AM PDT

  •  democracy now did a feature recently... (0+ / 0-)

    about the 2 million deportations

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 09:25:33 AM PDT

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