The secure communities program is a key part of a GOP strategy to mass-deport the 11 million mostly-innocent undocumented immigrants in the United States
By Mahwish Khan
On April 22, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-16) asked that federal immigration officials be investigated, claiming that they misled local officials about whether counties and states had the right to opt out of the Secure Communities program.
According to the LA Times, a number of local jurisdictions have sought to opt out of the program or asked that their fingerprint data not be sent to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Federal officials initially told them they could do so, an assertion repeated by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Weich in September letters to Lofgren.
But internal correspondence recently released to immigrant and civil rights groups in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation reveals that ICE officials had long known that the program was not voluntary.
A month after Lofgren received the letters, Napolitano held a news conference to clarify that local officials had no say in the program.
Lofgren, whose legal staff spent a week reviewing the internal documents, said she will seek a probe of whether Napolitano or ICE Director John Morton were aware of the strategy.
"It’s unacceptable and if she knew about it, something has to be done about her, and, if she didn’t, she has to do something about those who did," Lofgren said. "Clearly the people in the department were dissembling and deceiving."
Created in 2007, Secure Communities is an ICE-agency program designed to identify undocumented immigrants, prioritize them based on what kind of crime they’ve committed (if any), and process them for deportation. The program relies on local police officers to double as federal immigration enforcement, and utilizes fingerprint databases to identify potential criminals.
The problem? As the LA Times article said, “Recently released data show that half of the immigration holds issued since the inception of ...
CHIP important lifeline for children
President Obama recently signed into law H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), among other things. Since its creation in 1997, CHIP has played a critical role in ...
Family history, DNA link New Mexicans to México
It’s a typical Friday morning for Ernestino Tafoya as he gazes intently at a microfilm machine in the Haynes Family History Library in Albuquerque. He scrolls through an old church register from the 1800s, frame by frame, as he extracts vital information the record has concealed for decades. The ...
Families of Ayotzinapa make plea to UN
Ayotzinapa has come to the United States. Three groups of relatives of the Mexican university students who were attacked and forcibly disappeared last September by police in the state of Guerrero are currently crisscrossing El Norte as part of a campaign to raise public awareness of their ...
Denver unveils tribute to Cesár E. Chávez
“Cesár Chávez wasn’t a leader of Chicanos – he was a Chicano leader. Chávez didn’t care what color your skin was, he didn’t care what language you spoke, if you were a worker he cared about you and your rights as a human being,” explained Ramón Del Castillo, co-founder of the Cesár Chávez Peace ...