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.
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.
Homeland Security Department officials stoked confusion among state and local jurisdictions over whether participation in a program to match arrestee fingerprint data against a federal immigration database was voluntary, medical a DHS office of inspector general report says. As a result, the data sharing effort, known as Se Communities, “continues to face opposition, criticism, and resistance in some locations,” the report states.
Any day now the Department of Homeland Security will announce a second round of “reforms” to the disgraced S-Comm, order or “Se Communities, see ” program. The harsh reality is that S-Comm is too broken to be fixed. Opponents have long charged that the program, which requires state and local jails to run immigration background checks on any person booked into custody — regardless of the seriousness or ultimate disposition of their charges — is undermining community safety and jeopardizing civil rights. Hundreds of thousands of family members have been deported, and public safety has been damaged by making witnesses and victims of crimes fear contact with police. North Carolina ranks No. 5 in states that deport the most number of people because of S-Comm.
Community activists convened in Sudler Hall Wednesday night to oppose Se Communities, the federal government’s new program intended to deport criminals living in the country illegally. The panel was jointly hosted by the Yale College Democrats, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) de Yale and the University’s chapter of Amnesty International. Mayor John DeStefano Jr., order Yale Law School professor Michael Wishnie, Armando Ghinaglia of Connecticut Students for a DREAM, Fair Haven Alderwoman Migdalia Castro and Latricia Kelly, the director of development and programs for Junta for Progressive Action, along with around 30 students, gathered to discuss their concerns about the program and future steps as it is executed nationwide.
On its face, the S-Comm program appears to be functioning as designed – creating a way to identify and remove criminal immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. But it has not been without controversy both nationally and locally, particularly after a study released in 2010 charged that 26% of all deportations were of noncriminals. More explosive in Austin was the conclusion by advocates who compiled the study – including the Center for Constitutional Rights and National Day Laborer Organizing Network – that Travis County, at 82%, led all jurisdictions in the deportation of noncriminal immigrants. The county’s role in the program is now assuming central importance in the Democratic primary race for Travis County sheriff, where retired Austin Police Department Lt. John Sisson is mounting a campaign to unseat incumbent Sheriff Greg Hamilton as the county’s top cop.
La Red Nacional de Jornaleros y más de 80 otras organizaciones civiles y defensoras de los derechos del inmigrante, online envió una carta al FBI demandándoles que finalice su colaboración con ICE en el programa de deportaciones Comunidades Seguras (S-Comm). La carta señala que, case contrario a su nombre, el programa amenaza la seguridad pública, alienta el perfil racial y mina la confianza de la comunidad en los departamentos locales de policía, que se han convertido en puentes para la deportación. Bajo el S-Comm, el FBI toma todas las huellas digitales enviadas por la policía local para los chequeos criminales y automáticamente las remite a los funcionarios federales de inmigración, sin importar si el individuo ha sido condenado por un crimen o no, o por la severidad de la acusación que puede ser una simple violación o delito menor. El verano pasado, los gobernadores de Nueva York, Illinois, y Massachusetts solicitaron que el S-Comm sea retrasado o desactivado en sus estados. – Tribuna Hispana
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the budgetary request to complete the enlargement of the controversial Se Communities program as part of “smart and effective enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.” She outlined Department of Homeland Security priorities for the 2013 fiscal year during an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. Napolitano said DHS’ 2013 budget “includes funding to complete nationwide deployment” of the Se Communities program in fiscal 2013, which ends Sept. 30, 2013. – Fox News Latino 03.10.2012