PR: Arlington, Santa Clara, and San Francisco: The Fight to Opt Out of S-Comm Rages On

Press Release for:
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Contacts:
Angela Chan — Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco)
Tel:  (415) 848-7719 / E-mail:  [email protected]
Lucero Beebe-Giudice — Tenants and Workers United (Arlington)
Tel: (703) 684-5697, Ext. 313 / E-mail:  [email protected]
Jazmin Segura — Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (Santa Clara)
Tel: (323) 271-5015 / E-mail:  [email protected]

Arlington, Santa Clara, and San Francisco:  The Fight to Opt Out of S-Comm Rages On

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Arlington, San Francisco, and Santa Clara – Two months ago, ICE repeatedly outlined a path to opt out of a biometric data sharing program known as “Secure Communities” or “S-Comm.”  Since then, ICE has flip-flopped.  Civil rights groups are confident that Arlington’s meeting with ICE last Friday and San Francisco and Santa Clara’s meetings with ICE today are not the last word on whether counties can opt out of this deeply flawed program.  If our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. can refuse to participate in the police/ICE entangling program, these protesting counties can as well.  Civil rights organizations will continue to fight the criminalization of immigrant communities, especially in light of the absence of imminent just and humane immigration reform.  Our opposition to S-Comm is not going away.

Still more questions than answers.  The  National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic have sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court to demand answers to basic questions about a program that has been shrouded in secrecy and has no accountability.  They are now seeking a preliminary injunction requiring ICE to release documents that shed light on how counties can opt out of S-Comm.  A hearing on the motion is scheduled in federal court on December 6, 2010 in New York.  Unless and until the federal government stops withholding basic information about the program, S-Comm should be suspended.

No legal authority to support S-Comm being mandatory.  ICE has not provided any specific legal authority that allows forced participation of counties in S-Comm, especially in light of the fact that this program interferes with community policing and burdens local resources.  ICE is fueling fear in immigrant communities, thereby compromising public safety for all residents, by compelling local police to conduct immigration enforcement through data sharing at the point of arrest.  Immigrant victims and witnesses to crime are afraid of coming forward to help solve crimes. The program also cannot be mandatory because counties are not wholly reimbursed for the mounting costs of using more jail space to hold increasing numbers of individuals purely for civil immigration enforcement purposes under S-Comm.

No more Arizonas.  Arizona’s SB 1070 underscores the human rights crisis and brazen racial profiling caused by the criminalization of immigrants and people of color through the entanglement between police and ICE.  Especially with the recent news of domestic violence victims being targeted by “inSecure Communities,” we are more determined than ever to keep families together by keeping police and ICE separate.

Broken immigration laws should not be multiplied.  Secretary Napolitano has consistently acknowledged the failure of status quo immigration laws.  However, at the same time, she also has praised S-Comm as a “force multiplier” of these laws.  Our police should not be used to compound the problems caused by an admittedly broken immigration system.

For more information and the latest updates on the fight against S-Comm, visit http://uncoverthetruth.org.

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