Pro-immigrant center rejects deportation quotas

Chicago, Feb 15 (EFE).- Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center rejected Friday practices attributed to immigration authorities to increase the number of deportees.

The Chicago-based NIJC reacted to a story in USA Today citing internal memos and e-mails of Immigration and Customs Enforcement showing that agents were pressured into boosting their quotas of detentions and deportations.

The documents say that ICE agents are sent to review state driver's license records in order to gather information about foreign applicants, particularly in cases where they were refused.

At the same time, ICE agents are stationed at local police checkpoints to detect drivers without licenses, and those who are undocumented can be charged with minor crimes.

"The e-mails and memos published today show that the deportation and detention quotas that have driven this country's immigration policies for the past several years are ineffective and divert law enforcement resources from activities that would better protect public safety," the NIJC's Royce Bernstein Murray said in a statement.

"Furthermore, they have overwhelmed our country's justice system and put people on a fast-track to deportation without the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or even see a judge," he said.

The NIJC said that despite the government giving its word that it exercises procedural discretion and focuses on the most serious cases of public safety, "we now have documented evidence to the contrary."