The White House has stressed that despite record deportations under its watch, the bulk of its efforts are spent going after hardcore criminals and not ordinary undocumented workers. But records obtained by USA Today suggest that immigration officials stepped up efforts to locate and deport people convicted of low-level offenses in order to hit annual quotas.
According to USA Today, internal e-mails showed officials "were trolling state driver's license records for information about foreign-born applicants, dispatching U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to traffic safety checkpoints conducted by police departments, and processing more illegal immigrants who had been booked into jails for low-level offenses."
Deportation policy has been a major focal point for immigration activists and Latino groups. A number of protestors were removed from Wednesday's Senate hearing on immigration after shouting anti-deportation slogans at Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano during her testimony.