html Immigration issues on the burner

Immigration issues on the burner

Pro-immigrant organizations reacted with astonishment and rage after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the Secure Communities program will be mandatory for the entire country starting in 2013.

Last week, DHS published a statement where it specified that all 50 states, whether they like it or not, will have to implement the program.

"This is an arbitrary," said Angélica Salas, president of The Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Ángeles (CHIRLA). "This would be disastrous for our community which has been suffering the worst part of this with the separation of their families."

Salas has emphasized on several occasions that the main problem with the implementation of this program is that the DHS database is not accurate and thus many people who are U.S. citizens could be deported by mistake.

"The biggest problem is that due to the number of errors of the database many citizens have been deported by mistake," Salas said. "Also, thousands of illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime have been deported."

According to the DHS, 397,000 immigrants were deported in 2011 due to the Secure Communities program.

California has been one of the states that has resisted further implementation of the program. In fact, a few weeks ago the Los Ángeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown suggesting him to stop any state involvement in this program.

"If police agencies make immigration work, the most vulnerable residents of the community, undocumented immigrants, will fear when approaching police because they could be arrested. This would lead to increased criminal activity on the streets," Villaraigosa said.

On a similar note, the Obama administration recently announced a change to immigration politics -- a change that could benefit the undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

According to ICE, those immigrants who are currenlty in the process of becoing legal residents, they would no longer have to go back to their native country during the process.

About 100,000 undocumented immigrants would benefit from this change.

"This would be a great thriumph for the country's immigrant community," said Ali Noorani, executive director of National Immigration Forum. "With this, many families would avoid being separated."

For Sacramento's political analyst, Arnoldo Torres, this announcement is good, yet it's too early to determine if it will work or not.

"Family unity is what this new politic is all about, but the problem is that we still don't know when or how it will be implemented, the details are still missing," said Torres.