Julia Preston of the New York Times reports that the Obama administration is detaining an increasing number of United States citizens as "illegal immigrants" as a result of "flawed information" from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases. The databases instruct local police to hold the individual for investigation for possible deportation.
The article gives examples of citizens that are being caught up in the Secure Communities deportation program that requires the fingerprinting of every individual booked at local jails. The fingerprints are then cross-checked against DHS immigration databases. If a check returns positive an immigration hold is placed on the individual, enabling local law enforcement to detain the individual for up to 48 hours. A false positive can be triggered in a Secure Communities fingerprint check because of "flukes" in the databases.
It is unknow how many American citizens have been erroneously detained because, conveneintly, the Obama administration does not keep statistics on false positives. One study has been conducted, however, that reveals that 82 citizens were held in Arizona immigration detention centers for as long as a year before an immigration ultimately determined that they were United States citizens.
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