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 ...
Effective Latino outreach crucial to success of ACA
A briefing held this week by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) addressed the opportunities and challenges that Latinos face nationwide in enrolling in or renewing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). NCLR experts reported that bilingual materials, the availability of ...
Immigrant veterans honored for their choices
By President Barack Obama
Each of you has traveled a long journey to this moment -- journeys that began in places like Jamaica and Germany, China and Guatemala. And yet somehow -- either because your parents brought you here as children, or because you made the choice yourselves as adults -- you ended up here, in ...
Mile High City celebrates Muertos tradition
Denver celebrates Día de los Muertos with family-friendly, spooky fun throughout the city. “Día de los Muertos”, or the “Day of the Dead”, is celebrated around the world and particularly in Mexico, where it is a national holiday. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November ...
Álvarez believed that words have power
Every year on October 2 thousands of Mexican students pour into the streets of México City, marching from Tlatelolco (the Plaza of Three Cultures) through the historic city center downtown, to the main plaza, the Zócalo. They're remembering the hundreds of students who were gunned down by their ...