A federal initiative called Secure Communities aimed to deport immigrants not legally living in the country if they were picked up for committing a crime. Many worried that this would deter immigrant communities from reporting dangerous crimes. Accordingly, the Mayor of Washington D.C. wanted to ease fears in immigrant communities by maintaining police would not question immigration status if an individual reported a crime. The mayor said, “… we have conducted outreach to the communities we serve in order to provide them with vital information and help allay concerns.”
In Washington D.C. specifically, many officials aimed to limit the effects of this mandated policy. Since the program began, only 30 immigrants have been deported from Washington D.C. under this initiative, which means that only 1 in 599 at risk for deportation was actually deported. This is one of the lowest deportation rates emerging after implementation of Secure Communities.
This low level of deportation from the Secure Communities program in Washington D.C. is often attributed to the District not allowing the Department of Corrections to detain inmates for immigration authorities. According to some estimates, there are around 25,000 immigrants living in Washington D.C. without legal permission. This is translates to around 4.5 percent of the District’s population living in fear of possibly being deported from the country one day.
Deportation can destroy a family, scattering it across many miles and different countries. If an immigrant is facing deportation proceedings it is critical to speak to an attorney that can advise the individual about solutions for avoiding such a fate. If a judge rules against the individual, an attorney can assist the immigrant in pursuing an appeal.
Source: The Washington Times, “D.C. lags Virginia, Maryland in immigrant deportations for Secure Communities,” Andrea Noble, May 9, 2013