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 ...
New standards, more tech, fewer resources
Education in the United States is vaulting into the digital era. Students today can use Facebook to create book report-related author pages, while teachers can Skype in experts for in-class science lessons.
But with disparities in funding and allocation of resources, the rush to inject more ...
No help for elderly prisoners released after decades
After devoting over 20 years as a prison social worker, Fordham University researcher Tina Maschi, PhD, declared, “There’s something wrong with society when in some ways staying in prison is better than getting out. The people who are older have a much greater struggle, because they have special ...
César Chávez: Documenting a legend, a cause
Labor leader César E. Chávez passed away in 1993 after a life's work of fighting for farmworkers' rights. Not only is César Chávez Day commemorated in several states and the César E. Chávez National Monument stands in his honor, now there comes a film about this legendary activist, 2engCésar ...
‘Dead or in prison before we allow KXL pipeline’
Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement activists joined in a four-directions walk to commemorate Liberation Day on February 27th, an event to mark the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. As they do each year, four groups gather to the north, south, east and west and then walk eight miles until ...