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Criminal Alien Removals Increased, but Technology Planning Improvements Needed

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2012
59 pages
This assessment of the Secure Communities program - an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) program designed to identify potentially removable aliens, particularly those with criminal convictions - focused on enforcement trends, adherence to best practices, and safeguards against civil rights abuses.
ICE data indicate that the percentage of its removals attributable to Secure Communities increased from approximately 4 percent in fiscal year (FY) 2009 to approximately 20 percent in FY 2011. Of the estimated 183,000 aliens removed under the program from October 2008 through March 2012, approximately 74 percent had a criminal conviction. The evaluators were unable to determine the most frequent arrest charges under the program. ICE is taking steps to improve the collection of arrest-charge data, but it is too early to assess the effectiveness of its efforts. The assessment determined that ICE has not consistently followed best practices in acquiring technology to assist in determining the immigration status of aliens identified in the Secure Communities program. ICE awarded contracts to modernize its technology without fully defining requirements or developing an integrated master schedule, which are two best practices for managing capital programs. Consequently, ICE has experienced delays, cost increases, and products that did not meet ICE's needs. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Office of Civil Rights and ICE identified four safeguards to help protect aliens' civil rights under Secure Communities, including providing detainees with a revised detainer form with telephone numbers to call when they have a civil rights complaint. Officials are also developing briefing materials on how to protect aliens' civil rights, statistically analyzing arrest and other information to identify potential civil rights abuses, and using an existing DHS complaint process for addressing Secure Communities concerns. Recommendations are offered. 6 tables, 6 figures, and appended alien criminal response information management modernization contracts and comments from DHS