Less than week after fearmongering that if states stop participating in Secured Communities -- a federal deportation program begun under the Bush administration that may result in serial killers being on the loose -- Fox News was back at it, attacking states for not participating in the program.
On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse claimed that states opting out of the Secure Communities program is “mutiny” and is “undermining” current federal policy “and the rule of law” at the behest of “the Latino lobby.” La Jeunesse's report then got really muddled. While showing a graphic, he falsely asserted that immigrants identified by the Secured Communities program either “had existing criminal convictions” or were “typically arrested for misdemeanors.”
LA JEUNESSE: Secured Communities -- the program is a cornerstone of the president's immigration policy, which says, for illegals here, you work hard, you keep your nose clean, you get to stay. You break the law, you go home. But now the Latino lobby is pushing back. And this mutiny by states like Illinois, New York, Massachusetts are undermining that policy and the rule of law.
Now under the program, a criminal's fingerprints are run, not just with the FBI, but also DHS. DHS ran about 8 million fingerprints. Some 500,000 of those were immigrants, mostly illegals. About 200,000 were scheduled to be deported. About three-quarters had existing criminal convictions from murder to shoplifting. The rest arrested for misdemeanors like driving without a license. Now it is this group, the final group that some are -- some states that is -- are refusing to turn over to the feds even though supporters say even non-felons can be dangerous.
In fact, as La Jeunesse himself acknowledged later in the report, 70 percent of undocumented immigrants processed through the Secure Communities program had been convicted of a crime -- whether a misdemeanor or a felony, meaning that 30 percent were not convicted of any crime.
Furthermore, when the Bush administration set up Secured Communities in 2008 it stated that the program would target those with "serious criminal offenses."
But based on ICE statistics, over 55 percent of immigrants that are booked into custody carried only misdemeanors or had no criminal convictions, and 74 percent of immigrants who were ultimately deported fell into those categories as well.
In addition, contrary to La Jeunesse's suggestion, pro-immigrant rights groups are not the only ones upset by how the Secured Communities program is functioning, so are law enforcement officials.
La Jeunesse shows a clip of Sheriff Adam Christianson of Stanislaus County saying he will use the federal program to “protect our communities,” but La Jeunesse failed to point out that other law enforcement officers, such as San Francisco's Sheriff Michael Hennessey, say the system " interferes with the trust that [local police] have with the immigrant communities that they serve" and “it leads to people not reporting crimes” and “people refusing to be witnesses.”
Moreover, La Jeunesse gives no explanation for why we should fear people who haven't been convicted of any crime. Statistics do not show that undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit crime than others. Even the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which describes itself as “low-immigrant, pro-immigrant” has stated that claims of high crime rates among undocumented immigrants are not “well supported.” CIS also states that there is “no clear evidence that immigrants commit crimes at higher or lower rates than others.”
And recall, Fox News packed all this misinformation into a supposedly straight news report on undocumented immigrants.