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Bloggings: SECURE COMMUNITIES SHUT DOWN OR A BIRD OF A DIFFERENT COLOR, By Danielle Beach

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Finally, the day has come where some common sense has been injected into 287(g)
Secure communities program that should never have been implemented to start with and
was doomed to failure from its inception. This program trained local officers to act as
immigration officers without the training or knowledge needed.


Close to 70 agencies had signed contracts with ICE and though the program began as a
voluntary one, it became increasingly clear that opting-out was just not an option. Those
counties or cities that refused to participate were put under pressure and criticized as
sanctuaries for the illegal immigrants. Clearly the program became under increasing
financial constraints under President Obama as it grew bigger and bigger and more and
more mistakes and problems were discovered.


This program had many enemies aside from the victims. Victims included those who
had petty offenses such as traffic lights, tags, speeding but also those who had witnessed
a crime but were too afraid of arrest to then report it or who were victims themselves of
abuse by citizens. A report by Migration Policy, stated that immigrants had " fear and
mistrust" of authorities as their police who was supposed to protect them became ICE
agents. Often police officers who felt that this was just not their job and that they were
at the risk of losing the confidence of their communities as well as of being at risk of
being sued for errors that they might make. Legislators also often opposed the program
as the cost burden became increasingly evident. Even the Homeland Security Inspector
General criticized the program in reports stating that it was leading to "racial profiling" as
well as mistakes due to lack of training.


Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum stated the "secure
communities program is surrounded by grave concerns about the impact to public safety,
community policing and civil right abuses."


Now Department of Homeland Security has stated that it will not sign new contracts
for 287 (g) officers working in the field and that it will terminate some of the "least
productive" agreements. Just this step alone is estimated to save our nation over $17
million.


In reality, though the Secure Communities program will be expanded and just the 287
(g) program will be phased out. This means that the fingerprints of all people booked
into local jails will be checked against federal immigration databases and ICE agents will
then lodge a detainer on them before they are released. So the only difference will be to
those who have not had their fingerprints taken in a federal database as they may be more
difficult to identify.


This is unlikely to mollify either side of the debate. For immigration advocates want both
programs to end rather to be curtailed.

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Comments

  1. Roger Algase's Avatar
    The purpose of "Secure Communities" has never been to make communities more secure - to the contrary, it has made minority communities, including minority US citizens and the families of minority immigrants, a good deal less secure. The real purpose of this program, as the White House sees it, is to make President Obama's re-election chances more secure by chasing after the votes of the same white bigots who form the base of the Republican party. The same is true for Section 287(g).

    One might be able to understand why the Republicans are using a racist immigration strategy - what else have they got to appeal to white middle class and working class voters who have so much to lose from the Republicans' economic policies? (Of course, the Republicans also have religious bigotry, hatred of gays, the gun lobby and assaults on women's rights - bigotry against immigrants is not the only "social issue" around.)

    But why is the White House doing it? How many bigoted white voters will support Obama's re-election, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of people he deports? According to what I have read, one in five American voters still think that the president is a Muslim. Many others think that he is the "Illegal Alien" in chief who should be deported himself, no matter how many Hawaiian birth certificates he may come up with.

    Obama's deportation mania is not only cruel and a betrayal of the minority US citizens who did so much to elect him. It is also senseless and idiotic. By encouraging millions of Latino voters to stay home in November (assuming that they would be able to vote anyway, despite the restrictive voter ID laws in at least 31 states), programs like "Secure Communities" and 287(g) could cost Barack Obama and his party the election.

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