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Immigration eases up on minor traffic cases

Immigration officials will only detain those convicted of minor traffic offenses By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Immigration officials say they will longer immediately detain suspected illegal immigrants who are arrested only on minor traffic violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said Friday that immigration agents will now consider detaining people arrested on minor traffic offenses ' provided they have no criminal history ' only if they are convicted of these offenses.

The change responds to recommendations made by a task force that reviewed a federal program that checks the fingerprints of arrestees against immigration records.

Immigrant advocates say the modifications are too minor to revamp a program they say leads to racial profiling and lands too many people without criminal records in detention.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, criticized the government's decision to weaken the so-called Secure Communities program.

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