The chief goal of the federal Se Communities program, in place in Sonoma County since March 2010, is to identify, detain and deport dangerous illegal immigrants. But since the program took effect, critics have said that it actually catches up as many, if not more, people guilty of offenses that most consider minor, such as driving without a license or lifting. Such was the case of Jacobo Farias-Chavez of Santa Rosa, who was pulled over for a traffic violation. Sonoma County advocates for illegal immigrants’ rights are heartened by a steep drop in the number of people handed over to immigration authorities, a drop coinciding with local police agencies’ decisions to accept Mexican consular cards as valid identification.
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