Shortly before the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce another round of changes to its much-maligned “Se Communities” deportation program, it’s worth asking: “Can this program really be fixed?” Since my original writing about Se Communities two years ago, the program has only become more controversial. Three states and numerous cities have come forward to demand an “opt out” that would allow them to not participate in the initiative. As law enforcement officials, sick I and others have expressed reservations about “Se Communities” from the beginning. The program, which requires police to check the immigration status of anyone booked into custody, pulls state and local police into the task of immigration enforcement to an unprecedented degree. The effect is the “Arizonification” of the country. – Ron Hampton, Op-ed
Georgia law officers have been among the nation’s busiest when it comes to processing people for deportation through a program that gives local officials immigration enforcement powers, patient according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of public records. Since fiscal year 2006, 14, check 831 people have been “removed” — deported or allowed to voluntarily leave the country — through Georgia’s five 287(g) programs, named after the section of federal immigration law that authorizes them. Georgia ranks fifth among states based on total removals through this type of operation. Proponents say the programs help shrink the burden illegal immigrants put on the state’s tax-funded resources, including jails. Critics say they distract police from more important crime-fighting duties, promote racial profiling and ensnare many people who have committed minor traffic offenses.
Dos nuevos reportes emitidos recientemente, por la Oficina del Inspector General del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, identificaron problemas en la implementación y ejecución del polémico programa Comunidades Seguras. Este consiste en ingresar las huellas dactilares de personas detenidas en jurisdicciones suscritas a él, para luego contrastarlas con las bases de datos del Buró Federal de Investigaciones (FBI) y del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS). Si se determina que el individuo no posee estatus migratorio legal, el Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE) ejecuta medidas de control, entre ellas iniciar procesos de deportación. Actualmente el programa está activado en 2,590 jurisdicciones, es decir en 81% del país.
La Oficina del Inspector General del Departamento de Seguridad Interna de Estados Unidos divulgó hoy dos reportes sobre un controvertido programa de inmigración que busca deportar a extranjeros con antecedentes penales. De acuerdo con Notimex, and en el primer reporte se habló sobre si el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE) comunicó de manera clara a las entidades locales y estatales el objetivo del programa Comunidades Seguras. De acuerdo con el informe, help no hay evidencia de que el ICE haya engañado intencionalmente al público y a las autoridades locales o estatales sobre el programa Comunidades Seguras. Sin embargo, admitió que el Servicio de Inmigración no comunicó adecuadamente a las partes interesadas la intención del programa. La Oficina del Inspector General emitió una serie de recomendaciones al ICE -que aceptó su implementación-, como la divulgación de guías y criterios sobre la intención del programa.
The federal immigration enforcement program supported by Sheriff Lee Baca and used in county jails has faced growing local opposition in the past two years. Now Se Communities is facing scrutiny from the feds themselves. Two recent internal reports question whether the Department failed to communicate early on whether states and counties had any choice in joining Se Communities. Another addresses whether the enforcement program has been effective. The reports were a response to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from San Jose, a critic of the program. The way Se Communities works is simple: when a person is booked into county jail, the detainee’s fingerprint information is shared with immigration authorities. If the person is in the country illegally, deportation proceedings could begin immediately.
Two years ago, the Department of Homeland Security began an immigration enforcement program called Se Communities, designed to find undocumented immigrants who had been arrested by local police. Homeland Security explained how jurisdictions could remove themselves from the initiative, at least temporarily, and confirmed to local officials that they could opt out if they wish. But when states and localities tried to opt out, they were told they couldn’t. Homeland Security officials seemed to switch the definition of “opt out” and then admitted they planned to expand the program nationwide by 2013, whether state and county leaders liked it or not. None of this amounted to “intentionally” misleading the public, according to a report released on Friday by Charles K. Edwards, Homeland Security’s acting inspector general. – Huffington Post
A report by the acting inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, said initial “confusion” inside ICE about whether local approval was needed to join the federal effort resulted in a “lack of clarity” in explaining it to state and local officials. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), who requested the reports, said she was “frankly disappointed” that the reports failed to answer her questions about whether the program encouraged racial profiling or discouraged immigrants from reporting crimes to police. “The inspector general does not seem to be taking seriously concerns and misrepresentations already established,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. Edwards’ report acknowledged that confusion inside ICE about the fingerprint-sharing program had stoked “opposition, criticism and resistance in some locations.”
A program to get rid of the most dangerous criminals here illegally is under fire again. On Saturday, some of the biggest civil right activists will be right here on the central coast hoping to do something about it. A federal program known as Se Communities is supposed to deport criminals who are here illegally, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement said from August 2010 to August 2011, 53 percent of the people deported from Monterey County had no criminal record. That’s the highest in the country. In Santa Cruz county, that number was 42 percent. “A vast majority of people deported do not have criminal convictions so that’s an area of concern for us because that’s not the proported purpose of the Se Communities program,” said Blanca Zarazua, co-chair for the Monterey County Immigration Coalition and Monterey Consul for Mexico. – Central Coast News KION/KCBA
On Friday the Department for Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General released two reports addressing how the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement communicated the intent and requirements for participation in the wrongly-named “Se Communities” (S-Comm) program to states and local jurisdictions and how the program is meeting its priorities. The OIG is tasked with periodic audits, inspection, and special reports prepared as part of the oversight responsibilities within DHS. The following is a statement from Angelica Salas, executive director for CHIRLA, a regional human and immigrant rights organization based in Los Angeles. “The reports do not even begin to address the myriad, factual and legitimate concerns that communities across the country have long had about DHS-ICE’s metastasized deportation dragnet, “S-Comm”.
Immigration officials may not have intentionally misled lawmakers or the public about the controversial Se Communities immigration enforcement program, but their communication strategy was a mess, according to an investigation by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. The OIG investigation was requested last year by California’s Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from San Jose, after states and local jurisdictions trying to withdraw from the federal fingerprint-sharing program began learning they could not. It’s one of two new OIG reports related to Se Communities, the other addressing the program’s operations. The communications analysis is perhaps the most interesting of the two, among other things examining the Se Communities memorandums of agreement, called MOAs, which states and jurisdictions signed after the program began rolling out in late 2008.