Immigration Program Faces Protests

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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Hundreds of protesters gathered in Los Angeles Monday to protest a controversial immigration enforcement program, authorities said.

The demonstrators came to address a federal task force considering changes to the Secure Communities program, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security procedure that distributes fingerprints collected by state and local police agencies to help immigration authorities identify and deport tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I’m here asking the government to end this Secure Communities program,” said Blanca Perez, an undocumented worker arrested for selling ice cream from a street cart who is facing deportation proceedings.

“I am not a criminal, nor am I a bad person. I am simply a person who wants to work.”

The task force will recommend changes to the program, often criticized for targeting minor offenders, to “focus on individuals who pose a threat to public safety, national security or to the integrity of the immigration system,” the Department of Homeland Security said.

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