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
In light of Justice Department investigations of civil rights violations at some local police departments in the last few months, view a coalition of immigration rights groups has asked an FBI policy advisory board to eliminate the controversial Se Communities biometric identification program. The March 8 letter was sent by groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON), Muslim Legal Fund of America, and more than 75 other groups, to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The groups said the FBI’s APB Working Groups meetings coming up in August as should consider the Arizona and Connecticut investigations in deciding how to proceed with the program. – Government Security News 03.10.2012
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Thursday that the agency has no plans to suspend a controversial program that gives police authority to detect undocumented immigrants, even in jurisdictions under investigation for racial profiling. “From our perspective that is a fairly draconian step, and we’re very concerned about the public safety implications of not identifying serious offenders who would otherwise be released to the streets,” Morton told a House of Representatives subcommittee on homeland security. ICE has remained staunchly committed to the Se Communities program, despite opposition from many immigrant-rights groups, lawmakers and law enforcement offices. And even though the agency, partnered with the Department of Justice, is investigating whether local police are engaged in racial profiling, the administration of President Obama plans to move ahead at the same rate to implement the program nationwide. – Huffington Post 03.09.2012
Two weeks after the mayor pushed back on a new federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement program to crack down on illegal immigration, view New Haven’s Board of Aldermen has officially joined the resistance. In a unanimous vote Monday night, check the aldermen called upon Gov. Dannel Malloy to refuse to participate in “Se Communities.” That’s the new ICE program under which the FBI shares fingerprint information of new arrestees with the immigration enforcement agency, which can then request the arrested people be held for possible investigation for immigration violations. The Board of Aldermen’s official resolution calls on Gov. Malloy to deny any such requests, unless the person is “identified as a confirmed match in the FBI’s terrorist screening database or convicted of a serious violent criminal offense.” On Feb. 20, Mayor John DeStefano issued a similar plea to Malloy. “This program undermines everything we have tried to build in our community,” – New Haven Independent 03.06.2012
Criticizing the Department of Homeland Security’s Se Communities program, Auxiliary Bi Mitchell Rozanski of Baltimore said that an illegal immigrant should “not be detained until he/she has been convicted of a crime that poses a threat to public safety of immigrant communities and families, rather than at the time of arrest.” Bi Rozanski added: The Church acknowledges the right of governments to control and protect its borders however the human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be respected. Programs like Se Communities as well as overly-aggressive laws such as those passed in states like Alabama and Arizona underscore the need for comprehensive and just immigration reform. Enforcement-only immigration policies will not humanely or effectively fix our nation’s broken immigration system. – Catholic Culture 03.02.2012