WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., has asked for an investigation into a Homeland Security department critics say is guilty of racial profiling.
Lofgren asked the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector-General to conduct an investigation into the Secure Communities deportation program to make sure it is properly doing its job and not simply using its authority to round up illegal aliens, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The program purportedly targets "serious convicted felons," but critics complain it often snares illegal aliens who were arrested but not convicted of crimes.
Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency launched the program in 2008 and plans for mandatory nationwide participation by 2013.
Acting Inspector-General Charles K. Edwards responded to Lofgren's request with a letter in which he said an investigation is already underway.
Edwards said the review would "determine the extent to which ICE used the program to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens from the United States."
Supporters of the program, including Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, say it successfully targets serious threats to public safety.
ICE said about 28,000, or 35 percent, of those deported so far were convicted of felonies including murder and rape.