Washington DC Maintains Bright Line Between Police and Wrongful Deportation Policies
June 05, 2012. Washington, DC
The Washington, DC Council was praised by a wide coalition of community, faith, and labor organizations for passing the Immigration Detainer Compliance Emergency Amendment Act in response to today’s federally imposed activation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s controversial "Secure Communities" deportation program.
The act, which was introduced by Councilmember Mendelson, will limit Immigration and Customs Enforcement's use of District facilities and equipment and also narrows S-Comm’s deportation dragnet by only responding to immigration detention requests for individuals who are over 18 and have been convicted of a dangerous crime. Last fall the permanent version of the act, the Immigration Detainer Compliance Amendment, was unanimously co-sponsored by all DC councilmembers. The act builds upon the Mayor’s Order 2011-174 (October 19, 2011) that prohibits all public safety agencies from inquiring about individuals’ immigration status or transmitting information about immigration status.
Sarahi Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network says, "We're proud to live in a city with a bright line guarding against unjust deportation policies that erode trust, divide our communities, and endanger our families. DC has joined a growing trend of local governments that care about protecting the safety and rights of their residents. When DHS Secretary Napolitano spread S-Comm throughout the country, it triggered a movement that is growing stronger by the day to resist and overcome the criminalization of immigrants.”
32BJ Capital Area Director Jaime Contreras adds: “Secure Communities only leaves us less secure as crimes go unreported and victims go unprotected when immigrants fear the police. City Council members are doing the right thing by passing legislation to preserve community trust and to reduce the number of unjust deportations. Enforcement-only tactics break up families, disrupt businesses, distract local law enforcement and drain local budgets. Congress must pass fair and balanced reform now to ensure immigrants are full participants in our economic recovery”
Jaime Farrant, Executive Director of AYUDA a legal services provider to the immigrant community including domestic violence victims, says: We salute the DC Council's approval of the Immigration Detainer Compliance Emergency Amendment Act. We believe that it is a positive step towards ensuring that DC maintains its reputation as a place where immigrants are welcomed and can have the opportunity to succeed in this country. Furthermore, we welcome the measure's desire to guarantee that immigrant crime victims can continue to trust their local authorities, and that they can turn to them for relief and assistance without fear of being punished when seeking help."
Nikki Daruwala, Executive Director, DC Jobs with Justice commented: "Today's passage of the Immigration Detainer Emergency Compliance Act is a major triumph for working people in the District. It speaks directly to the fundamental importance of keeping our city vibrant and diverse while protecting and advancing the rights of all its residents. Kudos to the DC Council for coming together in a timely manner to pass this vital piece of legislation."