Category Archives: Media

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.”

CCR Condemns Activation of Secure Communities in New York City (Press Release)

CCR Condemns Activation of Secure Communities in New York City
Federal Program Turns NYPD Officers into Immigration Agents

[email protected]

May 14, 2012- New York, NY – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement in response to news that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will activate the problematic “Secure Communities” program in a number of New York jurisdictions, including New York City. This action comes despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to withdraw the state from the immigration program following strong opposition from community groups and elected officials, part of a broad nationwide outcry against the program. Secure Communities requires local police to share with ICE the fingerprints of anyone they arrest regardless of how minor the charges are, or even if no charges are pressed at all.

“Although ICE presents Secure Communities as an innocuous information sharing program, documents CCR and our partners obtained through a FOIA lawsuit show it to be a mismanaged deportation dragnet, funneling people into the already flawed and dangerous ICE detention and removal system.

The merger of immigration enforcement and local police is not only a bad public policy decision; it will compound current abuses within New York’s criminal justice system as well as the systematic racial profiling that goes unchecked within Black and Brown communities in New York City.

Secure Communities is fundamentally flawed; it undermines public safety, invites racial profiling, jeopardizes civil rights, and destroys families. New York State got it right—this is a program the Obama administration should reject in every way.

CCR’s advocacy and litigation against the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) practice of racial profiling, police brutality and surveillance of activists and the Muslim community underscores the urgency of the state’s efforts to keep Secure Communities out of New York.

Data gathered from CCR’s lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk shows Latino and Black communities are already disproportionally affected by the NYPD’s practice of racial profiling and unconstitutional stops-and-frisks. The combination of racially discriminatory police practices like “stop-and-frisk” with faulty ICE programs like Secure Communities turns New York police into immigration agents. With Secure Communities, thousands of arrests and summons for minor offenses, which ultimately may not be prosecuted or were the result of unlawful racial profiling, will result in referral for deportation. The impact on communities of color whose families Secure Communities rips apart is devastating.

It is time for the Obama administration to acknowledge Secure Communities’ inadequacy and halt this controversial program, instead of compounding the systemic problems within both the immigration and criminal justice systems.”

CCR is a member of the New York State Working Group Against Deportation which is holding a protest outside 26 Federal Plaza at noon on Monday May 14, 2012.

In 2010, the Center for Constitutional Rights, along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Cardozo Immigrant Justice Clinic, filed a civil lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Actseeking the disclosure of information on the federal government’s Secure Communities program. For more information visit: www.UncovertheTruth.org.

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.

Clergy and activists protest new immigration law (NJ Ledger)

Immigrant advocates protest fingerprint-sharing program they say will increase deportations with a “Jericho Walk” by religious leaders and community activists. Stuart Sydenstricker sounds a Caracol, a shell that is a symbol of justice in Latin America, before the group circled the Radino Federal building 7 times and said a prayer each time. (JENNIFER BROWN /The Star-Ledger)

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

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Petition: "End S-Comm! Don't Mend It"

End S-Comm, Don’t Mend it!

The Pledge:

I pledge to break ICE’s hold on my community and my country. I will continue to demand that the federal government end the in-Secure Communities program that has deported over 169,000 mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, and threatened the public safety of us all. I will demand that my local and state governments refuse to be deportation pipelines. I will urge my local and state officials to adopt policies to deny ICE access to individuals and deny voluntary ICE holds requests. I will ask them to rebuild trust. I will not stop.

Sign the petition here: http://chn.ge/end-scomm

Share flyer with your network and post as your profile picture on Facebook: Download

Call:

White House at 202-456-1111

Sample Script:

“My name is [insert name]. I am calling from [insert city, state]. I know that the Administration is announcing changes to the “Secure Communities” deportation program any day now. I want to ask the Administration to “end, not mend” this controversial program. S-Comm has damaged public safety, created fear in our communities, and deported thousands of our family members and friends. We urge the President to abandon his legacy of deportation and end the program immediately.”