Congressman Joe Baca hosted an immigration forum Jan. 21 at the University of La Verne College of Law.

Representatives from U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) discussed the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement priorities.  Approximately 100 people attended the forum to listen to ICE representatives explain the proper protocol for handling immigration cases.

“We are here today to understand what we need to do as a community to help those immigrants in need and clarify any misconceptions about federal law enforcement’s priorities,” said Baca, D-Rialto.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in August that it would make changes to how it prioritizes individuals for deportation.  Individuals who have committed no crimes and have strong ties to the United States will be less likely to be deported.  Those individuals who are determined to be “low priority” will have their deportations stopped and will get a notice from DHS that their case has been administratively closed.

“As we have learned today, ICE officials are not here to deport every undocumented individual in our district,” Baca told the audience.  “You can rest assured knowing that ICE does not conduct raids or sweeps in our cities.  They will not apprehend individuals at community gatherings or churches.”

“They are looking for criminal activity and high priority individuals who threaten the safety of our communities,” Baca continued. “”This includes recent border entries and re-entries that violated their first offense.  We want to keep our people safe and families together, and we will continue to do so by working with ICE and local law enforcement.”

Baca told the audience that Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, keeps our nation safe, upholds the rule of law, protects our workers and economy, unites families, and provides a pathway to legalization.

“As a nation, we are faced with difficult decisions and nearly 11.2 million immigrants who feel that they are at a loss,” Baca stated.  “They are here, and it is time to come up with a feasible piece of comprehensive immigration legislation.

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