program -- which checks the immigration status of everyone booked into county jails -- are non-criminals, with the rate climbing as high as 82
percent in some jurisdictions.
San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who unsuccessfully attempted to
opt San Francisco out of the program, participated in a conference
call about the statistics today. Immigration and Customs Enforcement "is throwing a gill net
over the concept of immigration reform," Hennessey said. "It sweeps up
all the little people with their intention of deporting serious violent
criminals." Under the program, which launched in San Francisco in June, the fingerprints of anyone booked in county jail are checked against the Department of Homeland Security's database, automatically identifying anyone who's had previous contact with immigration authorities.
The statistics were requested in an April
lawsuit filed by the Center For Constitutional Rights, the Cardozo
School of Law at Yeshiva University, and the National Day Laborer's
Among the findings released today:
non-criminals or were picked up for crimes punishable by less than one
year in jail.
non-criminals, that number differs greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This raises civil liberty advocates' suspicions that law enforcement may
be using the program to racially profile Hispanics for arrests on charges
that are later dropped. Law enforcement officers are aware that merely
booking someone into jail means the arrestee's fingerprints will be run against the ICE
database and expose them to potential deportation.
percent in Travis, Texas; to 63 percent in San Diego; 58 percent
in Santa Barbara; and 54 percent in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's
stomping grounds of Maricopa County, Ariz.
"It has a chilling effect on cooperation between local law enforcement
and the minority community and in San Francisco, especially the Hispanic
community," Hennessey said. "Witnesses won't come forward, victims,
particularly of domestic violence, won't report crime because of fear of
ICE responded today with a blanket statement: "To date, the program has identified more than 262,900 aliens in jails and prisons who have been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, including more than 39,000 charged with or convicted of major violent or drug offenses, and led to the removal of over 34,600 convicted criminal aliens, including more than 9,800 convicted of major violent or drug offenses. DHS continues to monitor the program's
effectiveness and is committed to identifying and removing serious criminals."
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF