ICE change to Se Communities does little to thaw controversial program

The more things change the more they stay the same. At least, online that’s the way it has been with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its despised Se Communities deportation program. Despite a task force assembled last year and its recommendations to reform the dreaded program, no meaningful change has taken place. “ICE has failed to make any substantive changes to its fundamentally flawed Se Communities program, site refusing even to establish a review panel to examine specific cases,” said Michelle Fei, co-director of the Immigrant Defense Project, which led the effort to suspend the program in New York through a coalition known as the New York State Working Group Against Deportation. “The agency has already deported over one million immigrants under President Obama’s watch by funneling immigrants into an unfair immigration system that only compounds the injustices of the criminal justice system,” added Fei. – NY Daily News

New Immigration Reforms Basically Cite Months-Old Training Memos

The U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement agency has taken much criticism for its “Se Communities” initiative, where participating local police departments give immigration officials access to the fingerprints of people brought into its jails. In September, for instance, a Department of Homeland Security task force released a report listing its concerns with the policy, mainly that it undermined police efforts at community policing and that ICE agents must more efficiently focus resources on targeting serious criminals over minor offenders. So last week, after months of review, ICE unveiled a plan for reform, which primarily centers on training memos and videos, new complaint filing process, and more than 700 “in-person or telephone meetings and presentations” regarding Se Communities. Immigration advocates see the reforms as a cop-out — no significant policy changes, just a promise to apply the old policies better.

Immigration eases up on minor traffic cases – AP

Immigration officials say they will no longer immediately detain suspected illegal immigrants who are arrested only on minor traffic violations and have no criminal history. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said Friday that immigration agents will now consider detaining people arrested on minor traffic offenses — provided they have no criminal history — only if they are convicted of these offenses. The change responds to recommendations from a task force that reviewed a federal program that checks arrestees’ fingerprints against immigration records. Immigrant advocates say the modifications are too minor to revamp a program they say leads to racial profiling and lands too many people without criminal records in detention.

The Higher Stakes of SB1070 Debate – AZ Republic

When the Supreme Court hears the Department of Justice lawsuit challenging portions of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 today, what will be debated has much higher stakes than the limited constitutional questions of federal and state powers that will be before the court.

Perhaps those are the narrow arguments that will pass between lawyers, but SB 1070 isn’t about a battle between federal and state power. It isn’t even about immigration policy, nor is it about Arizona.

SB 1070 is about all of us. How we respond to crisis, how we treat each other and whether we will let the bill’s defenders stand in the doorway of history or whether we will refuse to have the hard-fought advances in our rights be turned back.