CHICAGO (WBBM) — State lawmakers and advocates for immigrants’ rights are condemning a federal program, which they say is targeting families and not the worst criminals for which it was designed.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency reportedly told local governments the Secure Communities Program was designed to catch and deport the worst criminals among those who are in the U.S. illegally.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

But Joshua Hoyt, director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said that is not what has happened.

“Seventy-eight percent of the immigrants who are placed into deportation are either classified by Homeland Security themselves as non-criminals, or as people who have only committed the most minor of misdemeanor crimes,” Hoyt said.

Ald. Danny Solis (25th) is calling on President Barack Obama to halt deportations until the program is straightened out.

State lawmakers are also considering legislation allowing counties to opt out of the enforcement effort.

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