Everyone should check out today’s Des Moines Register story, because it sheds a lot of light on problems that studies have shown re: arrests of immigrants who are not criminal. For instance, “67 percent of those detained — 84 of 125 people from February to May this year — had no previous criminal offenses.” The data is from Iowa, but it echoes the experience of immigrants across the country.
Of course ICE counters by saying that “Eighty percent of the fugitive population is noncriminal,” said Tim Counts, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “While we focus on the worst offenders, we are charged with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.”
We can expect to see more debate as ICE promotes its new “Secure Communities” program as one that hunts down “criminal aliens” and pro-immigrant advocates expose the program as sanctioned racial profiling.
Advocates point out that immigrants want to obtain legal status through official channels, but are often prevented from doing so because our immigration system is broken.
“If you are the adult child of a lawful permanent resident, you’re looking at around 17 years” of waiting, said Jason Finch, a lawyer for many immigrants in western Iowa.
“If you are the married child of U.S. citizens, the wait is about 18 years.”
How can this amount of time be acceptable? The fact is that is that the only reasonable course of action is reform.