Insecure communities

Federal deportation program breaks families apart while leaving residents in fear.

When it comes to policing neighborhoods, the top priority should be protecting residents — not deporting them.

When the Santa Ana Police Department signed their contract with Secure Communities, they may have gained millions of federal dollars for holding detainees, but they lost the trust of their community.

Santa Ana residents who did not enter the country legally might feel less safe reporting a crime committed against them to local law enforcement.

If local law enforcement agencies are going to act as federal Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents, then they need to be trained for it.

The Secure Communities program, while it has good intentions, is flawed.

The net cast is too large, and needs to be scaled down to detaining actual criminals — not people with broken taillights.

The TRUST Act is a better alternative. Introduced in California, it limits the scope and scale of Secure Communities. If passed, it will require local authorities to comply with detainer requests only if the individual in question has been convicted of a felony.

This is the direction California needs to take, and Santa Ana, a city comprised of almost 90 percent Latinos, should help set the pace for the rest of the state. Local police need to stop detaining minor offenders and focus on the real criminals.