Security

Local and national immigration experts spoke on a call with reporters to relate stories and highlight concerns that Secure Communities and other police-immigration collaboration efforts are destroying the relationship between police and immigrants and making communities across the country less safe. The federal Secure Communities (S-Comm) program has come under fire from law enforcement, elected officials, and immigrant advocates from across the country for its lack of focus and dangerous impacts on community security.

This report uses examples from across the country to document the “chilling effect” that police-DHS collaboration has on immigrant crime victims and witnesses, and describes how programs like Secure Communities (S-Comm) actually make all of us less safe.

Criticism of the Obama Administration’s Secure Communities deportation program has reached a new apex, as elected officials and law enforcement leaders offer serious rebukes of the program and immigrant communities and newspaper editorial boards call for it to be scrapped altogether. Among the recent developments...

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security unilaterally cancelled its Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) on Secure Communities (S-COMM), an immigration enforcement program of the Obama administration that was sold to state governments as a way to identify and deport serious criminals. Over the past several months, Governor Patrick Quinn (IL), Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Governor Deval Patrick (MA) suspended their involvement with S-COMM, citing data that the program is deporting large numbers of non-criminals and thus negatively impacting public safety.

Responding to growing criticism from law enforcement and elected officials across the country, who say DHS’ Secure Communities program is hurting the relationship between local police and the community that is essential to fighting crime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton announced minor changes last month. Morton also announced the creation of a task force to recommend further reforms needed to the program; the task force is scheduled to issue recommendations in early August.

Today, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that it is establishing an advisory board to review the Secure Communities deportation program, and implementing new guidance throughout the field on prosecutorial discretion. ICE Director John Morton has repeatedly said that he believes federal immigration enforcement should focus on the ‘worst of the worst,’ yet the policies and practices of his agency have repeatedly failed to meet that standard.

Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) suspended his state’s participation in the ineffective Secure Communities deportation program, due to concerns over its impact on community policing and public safety. In his letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Cuomo said that “The heart of concern is that the program, conceived of as a method of targeting those who pose the greatest threat to our communities, is in fact having the opposite effect and compromising public safety by deterring witnesses to crime and others from working with law enforcement.”