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
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.
Read more http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/apr/30/ice-announces-change-se-communities-deportatio/
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.
Read more http://www.ajc.com/news/fewer-people-stopped-for-1427768.html
So the so-called Se Communities program, which we prefer to call S-COM – because really it doesn’t make anyone any safer – is a federal deportation program. It’s tremendously controversial, and it is undermining public safety. It is putting victims and witnesses of crimes at risk of being deported, s and also burdening our local governments. The program operates through the sending of fingerprints. Whenever someone is arrested for any reason at all, their fingerprints are now sent off not just to the FBI, as they always were, but also to immigration officials. So from that fingerprint, what can come back almost instantly is what is called a detainer, or hold request. And that is a cruel request to trap a community member in our local jails when they would otherwise be let go. So we’ve seen victims, survivors of domestic violence, who may be arrested along with their abuser. And then they’re about to be let go as they should be, and suddenly they have this hold and it’s this…
The Orwellian-named “Se” Communities deportation program was rolled out under a cloud of deception so thick that last year, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of San Jose declared that immigration officialslied to her and local governments about the program. Lofgren rightfully asked the Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog, Office of Inspector General (OIG), to investigate. But last Friday, it became painfully clear that this “watchdog” no longer has any teeth, and that solutions like California’s TRUST Act are more urgent than ever. Hours after OIG issued two tepid reports this morning whose recommendations paper over the program’s serious safety and civil rights violations, news broke that the so-called watchdog itself isunder investigation by the FBI and US Dept. of Justice.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says the federal Se Communities law should be improved before it is fully implemented by the end of next year. Warren said today that the law as it currently stands does not focus on violent offenders and would create barriers between immigrant communities and local police. The Harvard Law School professor spoke to reporters after appearing at a Statehouse event held by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition. Under Se Communities, look fingerprints taken from a crime suspect by local police would be turned over to federal authorities, who could bring deportation proceedings if the person was in the U.S. illegally. – Boston Herald
Decenas de personas protestaron hoy en Maryland contra el programa Comunidades Seguras, view que faculta a policías locales a cooperar con el Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE) para la deportación de extranjeros con antecedentes penales. El activista comunitario de la organización Casa de Maryland, Lindolfo Carballo, dijo que varios dirigentes reunieron 600 firmas para pedir a las autoridades y la policía del condado de Montgomery que eviten la discriminación en la aplicación de la ley. “Es hora de decir basta” a Comunidades Seguras, “que convierte a la policía en agente de inmigración”, señaló Carballo. El programa cuestionado fue iniciado por el anterior presidente George W. Bush, y ha continuado y expandido bajo el gobierno de Barack Obama.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner Phil Wowak on Tuesday found himself caught between an encroaching federal immigration program and resistance from local Latinos who want the county’s top law enforcement official to take a strong stand against it. Appearing before the county Board of Supervisors, Wowak outline his plans to layer his own local reviews into a Department of Homeland Security program known as Se Communities, which uses local jail bookings to help deport undocumented immigrants. It is aimed at those with a history of violence. But critics say the program sweeps up nonviolent offenders and even U.S. citizens, and local rights groups say Se Communities could impact public safety here by making illegal immigrants more reluctant to contact police. They want Wowak to resist the program. Wowak said he would implement assessments of jailed immigrants.