Report on Deportations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

The number of noncitizens deported after being convicted of serious crimes dropped substantially over the last four years despite a massive government surveillance program aimed at removing them from the country. This is the key finding from the study, “Secure Communities and ICE Deportation: A Failed Program?” released by Carnegie Corporation grantee the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), at Syracuse University.

Researchers examined 2.3 million deportation records collected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) between 2008 and 2013 through the Secure Communities initiative. They found that this continuing effort has not increased the removal of its primary announced targets: non-citizens who have committed crimes other than a minor immigration violation or traffic offense. In fact, the number of such individuals deported by ICE has actually declined over the last four years.

The study was cited in an editorial by The New York Times, which notes that in 2013, “only 12 percent of all deportees had been found to have committed a serious or ‘Level 1’ offense based on the agency’s own definitions.” According to The Dallas Morning News, “Many others have looked at Secure Communities through the years. But this report appears to be one of the most comprehensive by the nonprofit–experts in the use of the Freedom of Information Act.” The newspaper also carried a response from ICE.