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Records Show ICE Still Targets Non-Criminal Immigrants

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Aired 10/4/13

A new study shows that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have ignored orders to only target people living here illegally who pose a public risk. It's a policy that ICE has faced criticism for before and announced it would put a stop to.

The issue is over what ICE agents call detainers. Those are people living here illegally whom agents ask local law enforcement to hold. Many police agencies have said they won't participate. Last December, ICE officials said they would only issue detainers on people who committed crimes or pose a risk.

The data shows that only about a third of people, 38 percent, whom ICE requested detainers on had any kind of conviction.

Susan Long is with Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse which analyzed the data.

"When you look at the detainers that are issued, there hasn't been that focus on the most serious criminals," Long said.

The report shows more people without prior convictions were targeted after the new guidelines were released, than before.

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