Blog Archive

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Secure Communities Expands Across State

By Elena Shore
New America Media
March 8, 2011

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that all counties in California are now participating in the Secure Communities program, which shares the fingerprints of anyone who gets arrested with federal immigration authorities.

El Mensajero’s María Mejía wrote an editorial about the program, which she titled “Insecure Community.” Although San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey opposed the program, and the San Jose City Council voted against it, she writes, it's clear that counties don't have a choice in the matter. A California Watch report found that the program is also bad news for domestic violence victims, who are often arrested along with the alleged perpetrator, and can find themselves in deportation proceedings.

California is the ninth state in the nation to have all counties participating in the program, reports Pilar Marrero for La Opinión. Among the other states are Texas, Arizona and Florida. As of March 1, ICE reported that the program had been implemented in 1,074 jurisdictions in 39 states. ICE plans to implement Secure Communities in all counties in the nation by the year 2013.

Since it began in October 2008, the program has led to the deportation of “more than 62,500 foreigners convicted of a crime,” according to ICE.

La Opinión reports that although ICE claims it goes after violent and dangerous criminals, studies show that these are in fact the minority of people arrested. A study released last year analyzing the deportations in the previous fiscal year found that only 15 percent of deportees had been convicted of a class 1 felony, the most serious kind.

Twenty-seven percent of immigrants deported from California had no criminal record, La Opinión reports, and some were sent into deportation proceedings as a result of minor offenses.