NDLON Press Releases

Latest updates on our news, events & campaigns

ICE’s Newest Report: Se Communities Dragnet Includes US Citizens

Reading Guide to Report Available Here

New York, NY – The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) welcome the publication of a new report by the Warren Institute at UC Berkeley School of Law that exposes the violations of the rights of both citizens and non-citizens alike by the Se Communities program. Released on the heels of the hard-hitting PBS expose, Lost in Detention, the new report, “SeCommunities by the Numbers: An Analysis of Demographics and Due Process,” is the first in a series to analyze federal government data related to Se Communities obtained through the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, NDLON v. ICE, brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, NDLON and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. It exposes serious due process concerns with the continued implementation and expansion of the program.

“The Warren Institute study demonstrates how deeply U.S. citizens’ own rights have been eroded in the name of immigration enforcement. The Obama administration should treat this study as the final nail in the coffin of a program that should have been buried long ago,” explains Sarahi Uribe, Organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

The report reveals that over 3,600 U.S. citizens have been apprehended through the Se Communities program and more than one-third of the individuals identified for deportation have a spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen, thus extending the impact of the program to over 88,000 families with citizens. Furthermore, once funneled through the system, only 52 percent of detainees have a hearing before an immigration judge; and 83% of people arrested through Se Communities are placed in immigration detention.

Said CCR attorney Sunita Patel, “This new report further confirms what we know from the damning records released through our lawsuit and the experience of immigrant communities. Se Communities has been and will always be a dangerously flawed program. The Obama Administration must disconnect immigration enforcement from law enforcement. The results of merging the two systems are erosion of public safety and civil rights.”

For a short reading guide to the report, compiled by the Center for Constitutional Rights and NDLON, go to: http://uncoverthetruth.org/resources/warren-report/
To learn more about advocacy to end the Se Communities program, go to http://www.uncoverthetruth.org.

To read the full report, go to: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Se_Communities_by_the_Numbers.pdf


The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.

The mission of the National Day Laborer Organization Network is to improve the lives of day laborers in the U.S. by unifying and strengthening its member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. Visit www.ndlon.org….

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Organizations “Come Out” Against ICE’s “Se Communities” Deportation Program

October 11, 2011. SAN FRANCISCO, CA. Dozens of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations across the country are adding their voices to the growing national movement to end ICE’s controversial fingerprint-sharing “Se Communities” (S-Comm) program. By forcing local law enforcement to share fingerprint data for every person arrested – no matter how valid or minor the charge – with federal immigration authorities, S-Comm has contributed to skyrocketing numbers of detentions and deportations.
Prompted by ICE’s unilateral move to make the highly debated program mandatory, national, regional, and local LGBTQ organizations—including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) — felt compelled to mark National Coming Out Day by adding their voices to the national upsurge of opposition to S-Comm today.
“NCAVP is concerned by the impact of police/ICE collaboration on LGBTQ survivors of violence. It is not uncommon for LGBTQ survivors of violence to be arrested when they call police for help. NCAVP member programs know that many LGBTQ survivors do not access police for safety when they experience violence, and the Se Communities program may increase fear, barriers to safety, and risk of detention and deportation for LGBTQ immigrant communities,” said Chai Jindasurat, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “In honor of this year’s National Coming Out Day, NCAVP calls for an end to a program that has severe consequences for LGBTQ people.”
In a statement released on National Coming Out Day, over sixty LGBTQ groups call on President Obama to take immediate action to eliminate this destructive program. California Assemblymember and longtime LGBTQ rights activist Tom Ammiano echoed this call: “Every day LGBTQ Californians are being unfairly deported leading to tragic consequences for communities both here and across the country. I am urging the Obama Administration to end the deception around S-Comm and suspend this damaging program.”
“The LGBTQ movement has often been an example of how to hold your head high with pride in the face of discrimination. As migrants, we’re inspired by National Coming Out Day and strengthened by this show of solidarity,” said Sarahi Uribe, Organizer of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
“We hear regular reports of LGBTQ people who find themselves in deportation proceedings after being profiled by their race, class, sexuality, and gender as they go about their daily lives or even as they navigate domestic violence,” said Morgan Bassichis of the San Francisco-based Community United Against Violence (CUAV), the country’s oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization. “Rather than making anyone more ‘se’, S-Comm endangers all communities by tearing at the fabric of family and support networks and creating a culture of fear.”
The statement marks a historic confluence of movements for LGBTQ rights and migrant rights, and increased attention to migrant issues within LGBTQ communities. “On this National Coming Out Day, we recognize that LGBT immigrants need more than acceptance from family, schools, and neighbors to be “out”: they need to be free from profiling, detention, and deportation,” said Mónica Enriquez-Enriquez of Streetwise and Safe, an organization working with LGBTQ youth of color in New York City and signatory to the statement.
For background information on the Se Communities program, read “Restoring Community” at http://altopolimigra.com/s-comm-shadow-report/
Founded in 1979, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) works to build the power of LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.
National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) works to unify and strengthens is member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize, and organize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights.
Streetwise and Safe (SAS) is a New York City-based organization working to create opportunities for LGBTQQ youth of color who experience homelessness, policing, and criminalization to claim a seat at policy discussion tables as full participants, speak out on their own behalf, act collectively to protect and advance their rights, and demand choices that allow them to maximize their safety, self-sufficiency, and self-determination.
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Day Laborers Respond to Secretary Napolitano’s Immigration Speech

Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, responded to Secretary Napolitano’s speech today at American University with the following statement:
“We are happy to hear Secretary Napolitano mention S-Comm and ‘termination’ in the same sentence. Despite the political spin and marketing campaign to defend a failed program, S-Comm has proven to be a disastrous policy for our nation and for our communities. It should be ended before it leads to the further Arizonification of the country.
Facts do matter, and the fact remains that New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have all rejected S-Comm while Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia embrace it wholeheartedly. The program has undermined public safety, imperiled civil rights, and moved the immigration debate in the wrong direction. Rather than bring us closer to immigration reform with legalization for millions of Americans-in-Waiting, S-Comm has been used to defend the false premise that the country needs enforcement quotas to maintain unprecedented rates of deportation. This insidious premise is resulting in the criminalization of an entire generation of our society.
Secretary Napolitano is correct that ‘two opposites cannot simultaneously be true.’ The Administration cannot set its sights on deporting more hardworking individuals than President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback” and at the same time authentically claim it is advancing immigration reform. It cannot criminalize and legalize people at the same time. Deportation rates must decline, S-Comm must be ended, and in places like Maricopa County in Arizona, human rights must be vigorously defended and prioritized by the Administration.
We acknowledge the Administration inherited broken immigration laws and a poisonous political environment, but S-Comm has made matters worse. We will continue to work with a growing chorus of voices calling for its complete termination.”
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Arturo Venegas Sets Example for Failed DHS Taskforce. Resignation Makes Former Sacramento Chief Hero in Immigrant Communities

Washington DC.
See Complete Report Here: http://altopolimigra.com/s-comm-shadow-report/
After a firestorm of controversy over the Se Communities deportation program (or “SCOMM”), a committee charged with providing recommendations to the Department of Homeland Security has failed to reach consensus with taskforce members beginning to resign.
Sarahi Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network praised the first to resign, “”Arturo Venegas is setting the example and leading the way for taskforce members to match the courage of those who stood up at taskforce hearings calling for an end of the program. His resignation today makes him a hero in the immigrant community.”
The Se Communities Task Force was widely viewed as an effort by DHS to dampen growing criticism of the discredited program rather than an earnest attempt to seek input from the program’s detractors. In contrast to the DHS task force, a broad coalition of experts achieved complete consensus in a shadow report recommending the complete termination of SCOMM.
Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following statement:
“Rather than sweep SCOMM’s catastrophic flaws under a rug, the administration should end the program. DHS has used unprecedented deception to sell a dangerous program to the American public, and its use of this task force is no different. It is clear DHS set the task force up as a ruse to cover up its colossal failure, but it didn’t work.
“The task force report will only lead to more controversy over SCOMM as questions are raised about why it couldn’t achieve consensus, and as everyone now watches to see whether the White House will finally hold DHS accountable.
“S-Comm is leading to the ‘Arizonification’ of the United States. Immediate suspension pending a genuine review by the Inspector General will be required to regain public trust in DHS. An end to the program will be required to advance the goal of immigration reform.”
Background on Parallel Report:
“The Se Communities program should be ended,” is the central recommendation of a report authored by broad coalition of prominent local and national immigrant rights group and endorsed by over 150 organizations. The report, which features the voices of law enforcement, judges, academics, and directly impacted individuals, chronicles the deception of Immigration and Customs Enforcement uncovered through FOIA litigation, local organizing, and advocacy. The report clearly lays out demonstrable negative impacts SCOMM has had on community safety and civil rights.
For example, Ron Hampton president of Black Law Enforcement in America writes in the report, “Opposition to Se Communities “is rooted in common sense: counties and states across the country rely on the relationships of the communities they serve to combat and solve crime. It is foolish to sever this tie in order to enforce civil immigration law.”
Echoing the concerns of other law enforcement officials and experts, Robert Morgenthau, former New York City District Attorney, wrote in the report, “When immigrants perceive the local police force as merely an arm of the federal immigration authority, they become reluctant to report criminal activity for fear of being turned over to federal officials.”
The report also included the testimony of Joaquin, a resident of Homestead, Florida who was wrongfully arrested and assaulted by police and now faces deportation because of the Se Communities program. He wrote, “I never committed a crime but now I am facing going back to my country. My plans, my dreams, everything was changed.
Background on the Se Communities Task Force:
The task force has been discredited by the immigrant rights movement since its inception. Shortly after its creation 200 organizations, including civil rights groups, labor, faith as well as some law enforcement leaders sent a letter to John Morton, ICE’s director, on July 20th raising concern about the scope of the task force, its lack of transparency, and its inadequate process to review the program in light of the pending Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General audit. Groups urged ICE to immediately suspend the program.
A second letter with over 160 groups was sent to the task force asking them to resign following the August 5th, announcement by ICE that the agency would unilaterally terminate all agreements and impose the program on all cities and states despite objections that the program damages public safety and the decisions of Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts to not participation in the program. (attached) The agency’s shift to make the program an unfunded mandate after two years of operation and over 43 Memorandums of Agreements signed with states (they included termination clauses), defied basic democratic principles and further exposed the agency as rogue and lacking any regard for the “nation’s courts, local and state law-makers, law enforcement, and communities—much less this task force.”
At community hearings held this summer by the task force in Dallas, Los Angeles, Illinois, and Arlington, Virginia the members were met with massive protests, walk outs, acts of civil disobedience, and calls to resign from the “sham” task force and to end the program.
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Nationwide Actions Condemn E-Verify Program as Direct Attack on Immigrants, Workers and the Economy

New York, NY: Community leaders, small business owners, and workers are participating in a nationwide day of action to speak out against H.R. 2164, legislation presented by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, which would make the E-Verify program mandatory for nearly every employer in the United States. This legislation is expected to be taken up by the House Judiciary committee for markup at the end of this week.

Mandatory E-Verify is a jobs killer. It is bad for working people, bad for business and bad for the economy. If Congress mandates the use of E-Verify, forcing every business in the country to screen every employee with an error-ridden Department of Homeland Security computer database, over one million workers will likely lose their jobs. Industries like agriculture that rely on immigrant workers will be devastated, while small businesses will be taxed by having to shoulder the significant costs necessary to implement the computer system.
Anti-immigrant extremist politicians in Washington champion E-Verify and the bill has been a key component of notorious anti-immigrant hate legislation at the state level, like HB 56 in Alabama. While the United States has historically been a nation of immigrants, E-Verify panders to a vocal anti-immigrant minority that has dominated the immigration discussion.
Local actions point out that E-Verify will hurt all businesses and the fragile economy, and will leave workers more vulnerable to abuse on the job by giving unscrupulous employers yet another tool to use against workers who try to stand up for their rights.
“The truth is that E-Verify is a jobs killer and that the system needs to be fixed. We need comprehensive solutions to raise wages for our workers, make sure they work in good conditions, and ensure that everyone is on a level playing field,” said Jaime Contreras, SEIU 32BJ District Chair.
Small business owners are joining local actions because E-Verify will place a significant burden on small businesses, raising their costs even as they are struggling in this economy. Almost every business—no matter how small—will be forced to implement this complicated system. For many small businesses, many of which can’t afford a human resources department, this could be disastrous. The estimated cost to small businesses is $2.6 billion, according to Bloomberg News. More than 770,000 citizen and legal workers will wrongly be marked as ineligible for work due to errors in government databases.
“This E-Verify proposal is bad for small businesses, bad for our workforce, and bad for the country’s bottom line,” said small business owner David Borris. “We need the U.S. Chamber to listen to small business, and withdraw its support for this flawed proposal. Why is the Chamber nibbling around the margins and accepting a piecemeal non-solution that will have a serious negative impact on small businesses?”

Participating localities include: Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Washington DC; and Long Island, New York.
Coordinated by National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Immigration Law Center, Jobs with Justice, National Employment Law Project and the Service Employees International Union.

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Se Communities Scrutiny Expands to FBI

Washington, DC. Yesterday, on the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 70 civil rights, immigrants’ rights, and privacy rights groups sent a letter calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the FBI’s role in the controversial Se Communities deportation program (S-Comm) and the Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiative. The letter urged an immediate Inspector General audit of both programs.

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic revealed that S-Comm is the first step in NGI, an unprecedented, billion dollar initiative to create the world’s largest biometric database. NGI will expand on S-Comm by forcing greater collection and dissemination of personal information between federal agencies, without the consent of the states that provide the information. NGI will also expand the types of information collected to include iris scans, palm prints, and facial recognition scans, along with the traditional fingerprints. Both NGI and S-Comm have their roots in the post-September 11th expansion of domestic surveillance and corresponding weakening of privacy protections.
Chris Newman, Legal Programs Director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said: “An unfortunate legacy of 9/11 is the onset of a culture of suspicion that conflated fear of terrorists with fear of immigrants. Secretive and misguided programs like S-Comm contributed to this pernicious fear of newcomers. Ten years after 9/11, there is now a vibrant national discussion about how to preserve security without jettisoning core constitutional values. While many may disagree about how to strike an appropriate balance, we can all agree transparency from the very agencies charged with keeping us safe is absolutely essential. The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General must immediately audit the FBI’s role in S-Comm and the so-called Next Generation Identification Initiative.”
Jessica Karp, Staff Attorney with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said: “S-Comm has been plagued with problems since it began. ICE is now under investigation for lying to Congress, states, and localities about the program’s scope and the role of state and local partners. Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and many of the nation’s largest cities have said they want no part of S-Comm. They are concerned that it undermines public safety while encouraging pretextual arrests and racial profiling. An investigation of the FBI’s role in this controversial program is urgently needed. The Inspector General must also investigate the extent to which the problems associated with S-Comm are common to the Next Generation Identification initiative as a whole.”
Letter to DOJ available for download at http://ndlon.org/pdf/dojletterfinal.pdf
Appendix available for download at http://ndlon.org/pdf/dojletterappendix.pdf
More information available at http://uncoverthetruth.org
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