U.S. Law Center

Data gathered about the Priority Enforcement Program

As an immigrant in Orange County and Riverside County areas of California, the topic of detainment and deportation may be one that draws your interest for personal reasons. If you are in the country without the proper documentation, you may even be concerned about whether you could be the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. We at the U.S. Law Center understand the laws and policies that may offer some protection to people under threat of apprehension, detainment and deportation.

According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, the Priority Enforcement Program replaced the Secure Communities program in November of 2014. Since that time, ICE officials have been directed to focus their efforts on the apprehension of undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of certain illegal activities.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, and you have been arrested by California or Los Angeles law enforcement, you should not necessarily be automatically reported to ICE. TRAC reports, though, that ICE officials have not adapted their role to take new policies into account, but have continued to target people without criminal records.

In addition, ICE field officers are supposed to request notification of a pending release from custody rather than asking the state or local law enforcement to detain you beyond the normal amount of time. But, public records indicate that the percentage of detentions has not changed significantly. A person who believes that ICE may have validated his or her rights may benefit from the advice of an immigration attorney who is familiar with the local, state and federal laws that apply to the situation. 

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