Jennie Pasquarella: Detaining people by the droves without justification in some of the worst jails in America, like those in L.A. County, is bad enough. But it gets worse.
Secure Communities is an American deportation program that relies on cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the interior immigration enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security, manages the Secure Communities Program.
The program has came under attack for misrepresenting who is being picked up and what is expected of law enforcement partners. It was touted as a way to increase public safety by picking up dangerous criminals who were also undocumented immigrants but opponents argue that the program was never implemented in a manner that would achieve that.
Many state and local partners to the program have come to resent it, because of its detrimental effects on local social fabrics and law enforcement operations. The implementation of the program has been criticized for not sticking to its original goals of deporting criminals and using the program as a general deportation facilitation tool. The articles on the page below offer different perspectives on the controversial program.
Michele Waslin: Reports failed to address serious concerns including racial profiling, the impact on community/police relations, and the deportation of individuals with no criminal background.
Justin Chapman: In reality, Secure Communities has not only identified criminals, it has identified everyone who come through the criminal justice system, a lot of whom have done nothing wrong.
Michele Waslin: The problems with Secure Communities are so wide spread that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appointed a task force to recommend fixes for the program.
A Law Enforcement Threat to Immigrant Communities. WHAT: ACLU Pasadena-Foothills Chapter Public Forum WHEN: Tuesday, November 8th, 7 p.m. WHERE: Neighborhood Church, 301 No. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena.
Seth Hoy: ICE officials, however, claim that states have no choice but to participate in Secure Communities since “the data-sharing systems the program relies upon are already in place” and because governors have “no legal standing to block their use.”
Michele Waslin: Baca said that ICE has the ability to deport an immigrant, regardless of a criminal conviction, and he has no problem with people being deported after being charged with traffic violations.
Michele Waslin: The program, which shares the fingerprints of individuals booked into jails with federal immigration databases, has been widely criticized for failing to target serious criminals, for increasing the potential for racial profiling, and for failing to be transparent.
Michele Waslin: While ICE has said that the agency will eventually install Secure Communities in all state and local detention facilities nationwide (which makes it seem like a federal mandate), they have also indicated that the program is voluntary.
Michele Waslin: The Santa Clara and Arlington County votes come after questions and confusion regarding local jurisdictions’ ability to opt-out of the program.
Michele Waslin: 79% of the people deported through Secure Communities are non-criminals or were picked up for lower level offenses, such as traffic offenses.
Michele Waslin: Given ICE’s stated intention to eventually install the system in all state and local detention facilities nationwide, and given the fact that DHS signs MOAs with the states, it is unclear how those local jurisdictions that want to opt out will be able to do so. Thus Secure Communities raises serious questions about the relationship between federal and local law-enforcement agencies, and about a local community’s ability to weigh in on important decisions affecting the entire community.
A new IPC report, The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns, released today highlights early evidence from Secure Communities—and experience with other ICE programs—that suggests this new program may not be living up to its name and may not be effectively making our communities more safe.