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Federal deportation program creates more local outcry

June 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There's growing outcry over a federal program targeting illegal immigrants. Some local leaders are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to opt out of the program.

"In my case I'm not a criminal," said Magaly Dominguez. She wears an electronic bracelet on her ankle after being arrested by the LAPD for selling hot dogs on the street.

But since Dominguez is in the country illegally she could now be deported.

"My family has to go with me," said Dominguez. "Because I am the head of the family, I am the one who supports the family."

Dominguez was identified under a program called Secure Communities, which requires local law enforcement to send fingerprints of anyone arrested to federal immigration authorities.

The program is supposed to target immigrants who commit serious crimes, but some say people with minor offenses are also being deported.

"ICE's so-called Secure Communities program translates into less security, not more," said Representative Xavier Becerra from Los Angeles.

Several elected officials today are asking Brown to drop California from the program. Former LAPD chief and current City Councilmember Bernard Parks says the program will make people afraid of calling the police.

"This is about maintaining a 40 year history of the city of Los Angeles," said Parks. "And directing its energy with having great relationships with immigrant communities."

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released a statement: "Secure Communities enhances public safety by enabling ICE to identify and remove criminal aliens more efficiently and effectively from the United States. ICE has removed more than 77,000 criminal aliens- more than 28,000 of whom were convicted of aggravated felonies."

"The concept of secure communities is an excellent one," said Steve Whitmore from L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department says illegal immigrants in jail cost $100 million a year.

"The sheriff believes that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater," said XX. "If it can be better, which it can, let's make it better. But is it effective? Is it a step in the right direction? Absolutely."