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Politics

ICE Secure Communities Program Targets Non-Violent Residents Found With Pot— Not Drug Traffickers

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According to a new study, mass deportations are a direct result of the drug war, which sends foreign residents home on minor, non-violent charges.

A just-released report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University analyzing the effects of the Secure Communities program, a surveillance initiative by the U.S. government meant to track violent non-citizens, finds that the program has overwhelmingly targeted non-violent drug offenders.

The report examines the reasons behind the 40,000 drug-related deportations that have taken place every year since 2008. A total of almost 250,000 people have been deported for nonviolent drug offenses in the past six years.

Nonviolent drug offenses accounted for 11 percent of total deportations in 2013, and 19 percent of criminal deportations, the analysis found.

Furthermore, marijuana possession specifically proved to be a major cause of deportation. It was the most common cause of drug-related deportations, and the fourth most common for any criminal deportation. 6,600 people were deported each year the last two years for possessing marijuana.

The focus of these deportations is not on violent drug traffickers, the report notes.

“Convictions for drug trafficking accounted for only one percent of deportees recorded as convicted of a crime,” the report’s authors write, “while marijuana possession was more than three times that level.”

A series of Huffington Post infographics shows that marijuana possessions leads cocaine possession, cocaine sale, and assault in the top ten serious criminal convictions of deportees in 2013. More than three times as many people were deported for marijuana possession as for drug trafficking.

The Supreme Court ruled in April of last year that immigrants could not be automatically deported because of minor drug offenses.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her opinion that possessing a small amount of marijuana wasn’t enough to automatically send someone out of the country, siding with defendant Adrian Moncrieffe, a long-time U.S. resident from Jamaica who wanted to contest his deportation after being found with a small amount of pot.

Sources: Drug Policy Alliance, Huffington Post, Associated Press

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