Category Archives: Featured

Federal and State Elected Officials Join Immigrants and Advocates in Protesting Activation of Mass Deportation Program in New York (Press Release)

For Release at 12pm, May 14, 2012

Contact:

Michelle Fei: [email protected]; 484.466.6334

Michael Cummings: [email protected], 212.607.3368

Thanu Yakupitiyage: [email protected] 212 627 2227 x 235

Federal and State Elected Officials Join Immigrants and Advocates in Protesting Activation of Mass Deportation Program in New York

New York, NY (May 14, 2012): A broad coalition of New York advocates, joined by federal and state elected officials, today held a rally to condemn the activation of the mass deportation program known as “Secure Communities” in New York and other states. The groups renewed calls for immediate nationwide termination of the program, which is set to go live tomorrow.

U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano stated, “As we see ‘Secure Communities’ expand to the whole state of New York against our citizens’ and elected officials’ wishes, we continue to call for a immediate suspension of this flawed deportation program. Time and again we see this program splitting up families, deporting immigrants for traffic offenses, and generally making our communities less secure. I join with the groups protesting today in saying that this program must end and must end now.”

“When Governor Cuomo suspended ‘Secure Communities’ in New York, police and local leaders hoped that our communities’ safety could begin to be restored,” said New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “If individuals are afraid to approach law enforcement, our communities become less safe and we all suffer. This dangerous program once again threatens to violate the rights of all immigrants. ‘Secure Communities’ has no place in New York State and should be seen as a threat to the safety of all New Yorkers.”

“We are appalled that ICE now plans to steamroll through New York with ‘Secure Communities.’ New York has delivered the message loud and clear that this mass deportation program has no place anywhere in our country, much less our state,” said Michelle Fei, Co-Director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “Especially when policing practices are drawing increasing complaints and scrutiny, we cannot give police more power to funnel immigrants into an unjust immigration system. President Obama needs to terminate ‘Secure Communities’ right now.”

“Immigrants like me who have arrests or convictions still don’t deserve deportation, especially through a program as fundamentally flawed as “‘Secure Communities,’” said Ravi Ragbir, an organizer with the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. “This program tears apart families and devastates our communities.”

“‘Secure Communities’ tears families apart, invites racial profiling, and makes us less safe by eroding community-police relations,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Advocacy Director Udi Ofer.  “‘Secure Communities’ is wrong for America, and it is wrong for New York.”

Advocates at the rally included domestic violence, immigrant rights, family services, labor, faith-based, civil rights, and community-based organizations, who have all decried the program for jeopardizing community safety and encouraging racial profiling. Moreover, advocates say, “Secure Communities” funnels immigrants into an unjust deportation system that compounds the problems of the criminal justice system.

“Over 75 national, state, and local LGBT organizations have come out against the role of ‘Secure Communities’ in ICE’s deportation dragnet,” said Andrea Ritchie, Coordinator of Streetwise and Safe (SAS). “The implementation of Secure Communities, joined with the New York Police Department’s astronomical rates of profiling and its practice of making dual arrests for LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence, is a devastating combination for New Yorkers.”

No S-Comm in New York! Come Protest Next Monday, May 14, 2012!

STOP S-COMM NOW
Keep New York Safe from ICE’s Deportation Machine! No S-Comm in New York! Join Us to Protest ICE’s May 15 Activation of its Mass Deportation Program in NY

WHEN: Monday May 14, 2012, 12pm-2pm

WHERE: 26 Federal Plaza New York, NY

Under S-Comm, local law enforcement send fingerprints of arrestees to the Department of Homeland Security database. This program will push even more immigrants into the unjust detention and deportation system, On June 1, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended S-Comm in New York. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) just announced that it would be activating its fundamentally flawed S-Comm program throughout the state on May 15. Join us in our call for an end to S-Comm!

Initial Sponsors: Immigrant Defense Project, Make the Road New York, New Sanctuary Coalition, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York State Working Group Against Deportation, New York Immigration Coalition

For more information, contact Michelle Fei at 484-466-6334 or [email protected]

Download flyer: English (PDF) / Spanish (PDF)

ALTO a Las Comunidades Seguras Ahora!

No más deportaciones. La policia no debe cooperar con los agentes de inmigración

Protesta en contra de la implementación del “Comunidades Seguras” en Nueva York

Cuando:  Lunes, 14 Mayo 2012 12pm-2pm

Donde:  26 Federal Plaza New York, NY

Bajo el programa de “Comunidades Seguras,” la policía local envía las huellas digitales a bancos de información de las personas arrestadas. Este programa empujará a más inmigrantes dentro del sistema injusto de detención y deportación. En el 1 junio del 2011, el Gobernador Cuomo suspendió el programa de “Comunidades Seguras.” Pero la Migra anunció que el fallido programa se implementará a través del estado el 15 de mayo. Los invitamos a que se unan a parar este programa.

Auspiciado por (lista en formación): El Proyecto de Defensa al Inmigrante, Se Hace Camino NY, Grupo de Trabajo del Estado en Contra de las Deportaciones, Coalición de Inmigración en Nueva York, La Unión De Libertades Civiles de Nueva York.

Para más información: llame Michelle Fei al 484-466-6334 o [email protected]

DHS Inspector General Report Provides Further Proof ICE Cannot Reform Itself (PR)

For immediate release
Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668
Dorothee Benz, CCR, 212-614-6480 [email protected]
Sonia Lin, Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic, [email protected]

DHS Inspector General Report Provides Further Proof ICE Cannot Reform Itself
OIG Report on Secure Communities Deportation Program Heightens Controversy over Failed Program. Advocates Decry report as “window dressing,” and renew calls: “End SCOMM. Don’t Mend it.”

04.06.2012. Washington, DC.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General issued two reports on the much-maligned “Secure Communities” deportation program. The reports, which come after two years of mounting opposition to Secure Communities from state and local officials, congressional representatives, advocates, and faith groups, were quickly dismissed by advocates as inadequate to address the program’s failings.

Instead, the groups conclude that the reports are proof that ICE cannot reform itself and that there is no suitable solution for the program other than its termination.

“In an attempt to justify the program, the reports inadvertently admit that ICE has mutated S-Comm into an overreaching dragnet. Secure Communities was sold as a public safety program but has since proven the opposite. The OIG reports confirm that when it became clear that over 50% of deportations fell outside the program’s original scope, ICE changed its categories and is now trumping minor offenses as its new priority,” explains Sarahí Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “These reports only strengthen calls for the program’s complete termination.  DHS refuses to take responsibility for the program’s failues. DHS cannot continue to stick it’s head in the sand while spreading the program’s dangerous consequences.”

Sunita Patel of the Center for Constitutional Rights says “The Inspector General reports are wholly insufficient. The reports ignore the enormous body of evidence that Secure Communities is a failure. Instead, the IG offers window dressing for a program that can’t be dressed up. The only suitable solution is to terminate Secure Communities and shift priorities to repair the harm it has caused.”

Sonia Lin of the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic adds, “The fact that DHS expects the public to accept this report as reform is an outrage. It does little to address the real-life impact of Secure Communities on immigrant communities. Not only does Secure Communities undermine community policing efforts in jurisdictions seeking to work with immigrant communities, it also facilitates racial profiling in jurisdictions such as Maricopa County to violate the rights of non-citizens and drive immigrants out.  After so much pain has been caused by Secure Communities, its victims deserve to see the program terminated.”

More than two years ago, CCR, NDLON, and the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic began still-on-going FOIA litigation to uncover the truth about the rapidly expanding deportation program.

Since that time, the program has been mired in controversy for deliberately misleading the public and for devastating trust in law enforcement due to its wide-reach that has been known to ensnare even victims of crimes. The program’s implementation created such a chilling effect on law enforcement relations that parents in the sexual abuse tragedy at Miramonte school in Los Angeles cited the Sheriff’s participation in Secure Communities as a primary reason they did not seek law enforcement help to protect their children.

Last August, in an attempt to quell the growing criticism of the program, including the governors of Illinois, New York and Massachusetts who attempted to opt-out of Secure Communities, DHS established a taskforce whose members eventually resigned in response of recommendations similar to the IG report they found to be completely insufficient.

Evidence chronicled in two national reports; Restoring Community published by a national coalition and Secure Communities by the Numbers published by the Warren Institute have led to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus calling for a moratorium program and a broader chorus calling for its termination.

Background:
“Restoring Trust” A National Report on Secure Communities
Secure Communities By the Numbers – Warren Institute Report
The DHS Inspector General Report can be found here

###

New Release of "ICE Hold" (detainer) Documents

On March 19, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network released 22 documents obtained though Freedom of Information Act litigation as part of the Uncover the Truth campaign.

The documents, which reveal communications between ICE, Congressional representatives, and state and local law enforcement officials about immigration detainers (also known as “ICE holds”), confirm that ICE views  immigration holds as voluntary.  The documents also detail two cases of ICE holds placed on US citizens–an issue that has garnered increasing attention following findings by researchers at by UC Berkeley that over 3600 US citizens have been detained through S-Comm. Finally, the documents call into question the Obama Administration’s commitment to “prioritized enforcement” by showing that ICE holds are regularly placed on all individuals suspected of being deportable, regardless of the seriousness of their offense or the disposition of their charges.

ICE holds have become the subject of increasing attention in recent months, with several of the nation’s largest cities and counties passing legislation restricting compliance with the requests for local police assistance in the detention of suspected immigrants.  (For a list of local ordinances and accompanying text, visit http://altopolimigra.com/detainers/) Litigation challenging the constitutionality of ICE holds –which purport to authorize detention upon the “initiation of an investigation” into an individual’s immigration status–is also pending in federal district courts in Connecticut and Illinois.

Advocates hope that the documents released today will shed further light on abuses associated with ICE holds, and bring further momentum to state and local efforts to limit compliance with the ICE requests.

OVER 80 CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON FBI TO END FACILITATION OF ICE’S “SECURE COMMUNITIES” DEPORTATION PROGRAM (PR)

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2012

CONTACT:
B. Loewe, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), (773) 791-4668; [email protected]
Jen Nessel, Center for Constitutional Rights, 212-614-6449, [email protected]
Sonia Lin, Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic, 212-790-0213, [email protected]

OVER 80 CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON FBI TO END FACILITATION OF ICE’S “SECURE COMMUNITIES” DEPORTATION PROGRAM

Groups Demand FBI Address Concerns from Governors and Other High Level State and Local Officials that Program Undermines Public Safety

Today, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and over 80 other civil and immigrant rights organizations sent a letter to the FBI demanding that it end its facilitation of ICE’s Secure Communities deportation program (S-Comm).

The letter charges that S-Comm threatens public safety, encourages racial profiling and undermines community policing by turning local police departments into gateways to deportation. Under S-Comm, the FBI takes all fingerprints submitted by local police for criminal background checks and automatically forwards the prints to federal immigration officials, regardless of whether individual has been convicted of a crime or of the severity of the charge.

Last summer, the governors of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts requested that S-Comm be delayed or deactivated in their states. The FBI, as the agency that manages the federal criminal fingerprint database, has the ability to grant the Governors’ request, but thus far has not provided an official response.

Today’s letter calls upon the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board to recommend that the FBI not forward fingerprints to S-Comm without the consent of local and state officials.  The Committee will consider requests from the public at its biannual meeting this summer.

Jessica Karp, Staff Attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said, “The FBI represents itself as a partner to state and local agencies.  True partnership requires that the FBI address the serious concerns raised by state and local officials who have been forced to participate in ICE’s Secure Communities deportation program without their consent and despite serious risks to public safety.”

Sunita Patel, Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “the FBI has deliberately veiled its involvement in Secure Communities to avoid public scrutiny. Now we ask that the agency to be held accountable by its stakeholders and the numerous communities around the country that simply ask for this law enforcement program—the cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement efforts—to be voluntary.”

Sonia Lin, Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, said, “The DOJ’s recent findings of discriminatory policing in places like Maricopa AZ and East Haven CT make it even more important for the FBI to limit its involvement in S-Comm.”

The letter is available at this link:
http://uncoverthetruth.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2012-03-08_FBI-Letter_Final.pdf

The proposal that the groups are submitting for the FBI advisory panel’s consideration is here:
http://uncoverthetruth.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/FBI-Proposal.pdf

For more information:

New Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes FBI Role in Controversial Secure Communities Deportation Program, at http://uncoverthetruth.org/featured/new-documents-reveal-behind-the-scenes-fbi-role-in-controversial-secure-communities-deportation-program-pr/

RESTORING COMMUNITY: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE’s Failed “Secure Communities” Program, at http://altopolimigra.com/s-comm-shadow-report/

###