The Obama administration announced last month plans to repair Se Communities, the program that compels state and local police to join its wide and expanding hunt for illegal immigrants. From now on, when illegal immigrants are stopped for traffic violations by local police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will consider detaining and deporting them only after they have been convicted, not before. In theory, this minor policy shift could reduce the number of people arrested on a pretext and held for deportation. But that’s unlikely. And it doesn’t fix the fundamental flaws in a discredited program. The administration has faced fierce criticism from law-enforcement officials and immigrant advocates for ensnaring far too many minor offenders and noncriminals as it has rapidly expanded Se Communities and ramped up deportations to a record pace of 400,000 a year. It contends that most are criminals, though that still includes many minor offenders.
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