Category Archives: Press (Florida)

ICE Extends Reach (Letter to the Editor, Miami Herald)

ICE Extends Reach

Re John Morton’s April 28 Other Views article, ICE focuses on nabbing criminals: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has blasted Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, saying it diverts law-enforcement resources and undermines the mission of public safety.

It is ironic, then, that her assistant secretary, Morton, defends Secure Communities, an immigration-enforcement program with similar effects, which is metastasizing rapidly across the country.

By running the fingerprints of every arrestee against DHS databases, before any conviction, Secure Communities de facto turns any participating law-enforcement agency into an extended arm of ICE. In Miami-Dade County, 84 percent of those identified for deportation and 83 percent of those deported are not hardened criminals, but community members often charged with lower-level offenses.

Recently, three civil-rights groups filed a federal lawsuit requesting more information on Secure Communities. Morton should instruct his staff to expedite this request rather than writing misleading columns.

CARL BERGQUIST, policy advocate, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, Los Angeles

Central Florida jails join immigration-enforcement effort

Four Central Florida counties are joining a growing list of law enforcement jails on a federal push to identify and deport illegal immigrants already behind bars, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced Monday.

Orange, Osceola, Polk and Volusia counties will join Lake in the “Secure Communities Initiative,” which gives jails access to combined FBI and Homeland Security databases of criminal and immigration violations. The arrangement comes through an agreement between ICE and the state and allows jails to submit fingerprint data for their inmates to be checked against federal records.

Activists are complaining about the partnerships, saying they don’t want Florida to enforce immigration offenses like Arizona, where a controversial new law making illegal immigration a state crime has stirred fears of racial profiling and civil-rights violations.

Read the full article at the Orlando Sentinel’s website.