Homeland Security considering two major changes to ease deportations

Immigration reform activists argued their point in Washington this week.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Homeland Security officials are considering at least two major policy changes to scale back deportations of immigrants in the country illegally to comply with President Obama’s order for “more humane” enforcement efforts, officials said Friday.

The first change would ease or stop deportations of foreigners who have no criminal convictions other than immigration violations. If approved, deportation efforts would chiefly target people who have been charged or convicted in court and pose a potential threat to public safety.

Thousands of people are deported every year who have overstayed their visas or entered the country illegally, including parents of children who are U.S. citizens, but who have broken no other laws.

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Another change under consideration would scale back a controversial program known as Secure Communities. It allows immigration authorities to request that immigrants in the country illegally be held in local jails until they can be transferred to federal facilities for deportation.


The proposed change would limit those local detentions and focus only on people with criminal records.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the policy changes are still under review, spoke a day after the White House said that Obama had ordered Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, to review his administration’s deportation efforts.