Congresspeople Call on Governor Brown to Suspend Discredited Se Communities Program in California as Pelosi Calls Program Waste of Money
Los Angeles, CA. – Today Members of Congress held a press conference in Los Angeles to call for a suspension to the federal “Se Communities” jail deportation program that entangles local law enforcement in immigration issues. The program is considered widely discredited as a wave of cities and states including Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and most recently Los Angeles have either ended their participation, refused to join, or have sought a way out of the program. The opposition stems from numerous reports of the program resulting in a chilling effect on community-police relations as people presumed innocent and even domestic violence survivors are caught in its dragnet. In addition to its community-level impact, Congresspeople and state officials are balking at systemic lying and dishonesty in the agency exposed by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The Congresspeople’s call for Governor Brown to suspend the program as other Democratic governors have done reflects the urgency of stemming its negative impact. California is already considering a bill, the TRUST Act, which passed its assembly and is awaiting a vote in the Senate which would regulate the program and reinforce its voluntary nature for localities.
Rep. Judy Chu stated, “The program as implemented has undermined our police department’s mission of protecting the public… I sincerely hope we suspend our state’s participation in the program.
“The fact there are so many unanswered questions is the reason why we need an inspector general report.” added Rep. Allard
Pablo Alvarado, Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, commented, “What started as an effort to uncover the truth about S-Comm has evolved into a consensus view that the program should be scrapped all together. S-Comm has come to symbolize the President’s broken promises on immigration reform. The fact is that it has not yet been frozen is now being viewed as a betrayal and places the urgent need to end the program on the desk of our local officials.
Our local officials were misled into the program and now is the time to lead us out. The tide is turning on the dangerous and dishonest ‘se communities’ program. ICE has gotten into the snake oil business. It sold S-COMM to the American public under false pretenses. It makes communities less safe, it imperils civil rights, and it is poisoning political efforts to reform unjust immigration laws.
Today, Rep. Becerra and the other Congresspeople said very clearly that this program has no place in California or anywhere in our democracy. We must prevent the Arizonification of our community whether it comes in the form of SB 1070 or s-comm. There is an urgent need for California to do better for its residents and to suspend s-comm immediately.”
Timeline of Recent S-Comm Activity:
* 06-10-2011 Rep Becerra and others hold Press Conference calling on Governor Jerry Brown to suspend S-Comm in California
* 06-10-2011 Nancy Pelosi critiques S-Comm as “waste of taxpayer dollars” http://bit.ly/scommpelosi
* 06-06-2011 Congressional Progressive Caucus sends letter to President Obama calling for moratorium on the program
* 06-06-2011 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick refuses to join the program
* 06-01-2011 New York Governor Cuomo Suspends S-Comm in his state
* 05-05-2011 Congressional Hispanic Caucus sends letter to President Obama calling for moratorium on the program
* 05-03-2011 Illinois Governor Quinn terminates S-Comm Memorandum of Agreement with ICE in his state
* 04-25-2011 Rep. Lofgren calls for Inspector General Investigation into S-Comm
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is a plaintiff in an on-going FOIA lawsuit against DHS/ICE for access to documents related to the Se Communities Program. NDLON plays a central role in California advocacy for the TRUST Act and coordinates the Turning the Tide campaign….