ICE Eases Up on Minor Traffic Cases

Immigration officials no longer to immediately detain suspected illegal immigrants

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012  |  Updated 11:39 AM CDT
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ICE Eases Up on Minor Traffic Cases

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HIDALGO, TX - MAY 28: Special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Border Patrol, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) question a man while his vehicle is searched after he was stopped heading into Mexico.

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Immigration officials say they will no longer immediately detain suspected illegal immigrants who are arrested only on minor traffic violations and have no criminal history.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said Friday that immigration agents will now consider detaining people arrested on minor traffic offenses -- provided they have no criminal history -- only if they are convicted of these offenses.

The change responds to recommendations from a task force that reviewed a federal program that checks arrestees' fingerprints against immigration records.

Immigrant advocates say the modifications are too minor to revamp a program they say leads to racial profiling and lands too many people without criminal records in detention.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, criticized the government's decision to weaken the so-called Secure Communities program.

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