ICE Announces Changes to Secure Communities

June 17, 2011 - 3:41 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal immigration authorities say they're changing the way they enforce immigration policies in an effort to focus on the most serious criminals.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Friday many of the changes were prompted by concerns from local law enforcement agencies and communities.

Some changes will be made to the Secure Communities program, which enables law enforcement to check arrestee fingerprint information against federal immigration records.

Morton says he's creating an advisory committee to come up with ideas on changing Secure Communities to focus on serious criminals.

New policies announced would urge officers to avoid putting victims and witnesses of crimes into immigration proceedings that can lead to their deportation.

Critics have said Secure Communities discourages immigrants from reporting crimes. Several states have declined to participate.