Last week, the Denver Post published a story addressing the Secure Communities program in relation to the Denver Mayoral race. The data released regarding the program showed an alarming pattern of disproportionate impact, which has led the State of Illinois to rescind its memorandum of agreement. The numbers in Colorado show that 62% of those deported under the program were not convicted of any crime whatsoever or were contacted for low-level offenses, such as driving without a license. In fact, the only success the program seems to be having is in creating fear in immigrant communities across the nation.
“The fact that Secure Communities has become a major issue in the Denver Mayoral election is no fluke or attempt to pander to the Latino vote. It is a genuine understanding of how destructive immigration enforcement policies adversely impact Latino and immigrant communities, undermine true community policing goals, and create de facto unfunded mandates for local and state government,” said Hans Meyer, Policy Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. “In Colorado, we have the opportunity to halt this flawed program before it is implemented statewide. CIRC believes Colorado should rescind the memorandum of agreement until the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General is complete. Thankfully, some of our elected officials are seeing the Secure Communities Program for what it is - an overbroad deportation dragnet program, pure and simple.”
The program has quickly become controversial as information has come out about the misleading ways that ICE has tried to sell it to localities; as well as the way it has been implemented in some communities. California is in the process of finalizing legislation to allow opt-out and local control provisions in their agreement with ICE, and Illinois has withdrawn from it completely once numbers came out showing that the majority of people deported from Illinois under Secure Communities committed no crime.
Representative Zoe Lofgren, the ranking Democrat on the US House Immigration Subcommittee, has requested a full investigation of the program after seeing that it is not being used according to the stated mandate. In addition, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has also called for a moratorium to the program. In light of these concerns, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General recently agreed to launch an internal investigation of the Secure Communities program, which is expected to begin in December.
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