Many people in the Los Angeles area are concerned about the constitutionality of a program known as Secure Communities, or S-Comm. The program involves local authorities turning over arrestees to immigration authorities. Many worry not only about whether the program goes against the constitution, but also the financial impact it has on taxpayers in Los Angeles.

Although immigration authorities are responsible for footing the bill after they take a detainee into custody, local jurisdictions are stuck with the expense of housing him or her until they do so. It has been conservatively estimated that in Los Angeles, the cost of housing detainees each year is over $26 million. This all comes out of Los Angeles taxpayers’ pockets.

S-Comm is so controversial because many believe that a large majority of those being detained are people who are low level offenders, meaning those who have committed non-violent or petty crimes. In fact, according to government data, more than half of all detainees in Los Angeles County were those who had committed a trivial offense such as shoplifting or other non-violent crimes.

Los Angeles County leads the country in the number of arrestees who have been handed over to immigration authorities under S-Comm. Under the program, the number of immigration detainers in L.A. County has been 30,093, making up almost 11 percent of the number of people who have been handed over to the agency for deportation.

If you or a family member are one of these who is facing deportation, you may benefit from speaking with an immigration attorney. In these type of cases, the sooner you do so, the better.

Source: Color Lines, “LA County Sheriff Helps Deport Record Numbers of Immigrants,” Aura Bogado, Sep. 12, 2013