Tag Archives: NDLON v ICE Released Docs

InSecure Communities (States without Nations)

InSecure Communities

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

According to today’s Los Angeles Times, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be increasing its use of the IDENT database, even though this database has produced false positives leading to the arrest of legal residents and U.S. citizens. (“Secure Communities” is the Orwellian name of the program for rolling out its use by local law enforcement agencies.)

On Sunday Colorado public radio station KDNK’s Matt Katz and I discussed a specific case of an IDENT screw-up that he’s been covering in Carbondale, where, on July 20, 2010, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents stormed into the home of U.S. citizen Marco Guevara with the intent of deporting him.

The conversation is about 15 minutes and you can listen here.

Posted by jacqueline stevens at 06:58

Secure Communities under scrutiny (Florida Independent)

Secure Communities under scrutiny

By Marcos Restrepo 8/11/10 8:44 AM


Immigration rights advocate Jonathan Fried — executive director of We Count from Homestead, Fla. — spoke during a press conference Tuesday about recently released documents about Secure Communities, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fingerprint-sharing immigration enforcement program.

ICE data shows that in Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties 66 percent of Secure Communities deportations are of non-criminals. In St. Lucie County that number goes up to 79 percent. All 67 Florida counties became party to Secure Communities as of June 2010.

The National Day Laborers Organizers Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law obtained ICE data after they filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year. When the FOIA was filed, S.C. was being used in 116 jurisdictions in 16 states; today, 494 jurisdictions in 27 sates are implementing S.C.

“What our communities see are loved ones being deported after a traffic violation,” explained Fried. “We have the case of a mother of two U.S.-born children who was deported because of S.C. She was not a dangerous criminal.

Fried explained that

the human impact of the Secure Communities goes beyond separation of families; it has increased community distrust in local law enforcement.

In Miami Secure Communities was never discussed by local authorities, it was implemented in an antidemocratic way. What we see is separation of families, years of community policing wasted, a poisoning of police-community relations, presumption of innocence has been thrown out, and it also has negative fiscal implications.”

According to Sunita Patel, a staff lawyer with the CCR, “after scrutiny to 287(g) ICE shifted to Secure Communities.”

Bridget Kessler of the Immigration Justice Clinic said “ICE released only a small portion of the request.” She indicated that ICE misrepresented the program, highlighting the detention of more dangerous criminals.

“But 28 targeted for deportation by ICE are non-criminals and 79 percent of the deported are low-level 2 and 3 crimes.”

Sheriff Mike Hennessey of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department addressed the difficulty in opting out of Secure Communities:

I have been sheriff for 30 years and worked with INS, now ICE, to remove about 100 people a month with felony charges. We wanted to opt out of Secure Communities. We were told by ICE to do so through the state Attorney General. They told us we had to opt out through ICE.

ICE told us San Francisco could not opt out and Secure Communities is in place since June 2010.

There is a great concern of linking law enforcement with ICE because victims and witnesses will not report crime. It has a chilling effect between law enforcement and the immigrant community.

I know non-criminals are being swept up and presumably deported, San Francisco authorities do not want this.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the chairperson of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, wrote to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

I am aware that some local law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that participating in Secure Communities will present a barrier to their community policing efforts. There appears to be confusion about how local law enforcement agencies may opt out. Staff from the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law were informed that localities could opt out by making such a request to ICE. Subsequent conversations with ICE and FBI have added to the confusion by adding that this might not be so.

When asked what immigrant advocates say about people who are here illegally and would be deported under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, Kessler responded, “Law enforcement has to keep communities safe and ICE has to enforce federal immigration law. When those two mix we all become less safe.”

A Quarter of Those Deported Under Secure Communities Program Had No Criminal Record (Long Island WINS)

A Quarter of Those Deported Under Secure Communities Program Had No Criminal Record

Posted August 10, 2010 by Ted Hesson
Categories: Federal Immigration Policy
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From October 2008 until June of this year, 46,929 immigrants were deported through the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statistics that will be released to the public today by several advocacy organizations.

Of those deported, roughly 25 percent did not have a criminal record—evidence that the program is overstepping its own enforcement parameters.

A few weeks ago, we broke the news that Secure Communities, often criticized by advocates for straying from its purported focus on serious criminals, would be coming to New York State, and today’s news reinforces fears about how the program will be used.

The AP reports:

WASHINGTON — Records show that about 47,000 people were removed or deported from the U.S. after the Homeland Security Department sifted through 3 million sets of fingerprints taken from bookings at local jails.
About one-quarter of those kicked out of the country did not have criminal records, according to government data obtained by immigration advocacy groups that filed a lawsuit. The groups plan to release the data Tuesday and provided early copies to The Associated Press.
At issue is a fingerprint-sharing program known as Secure Communities that the government says is focused on getting rid of the “worst of the worst” criminal immigrants from the U.S.
Immigration advocates say that the government instead spends too much time on lower-level criminals or non-criminals.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement divides crimes into three categories, with Level 1 being the most serious. Level 1 crimes include actions that threaten or compromise national security, murder, rape, drug crimes punishable by more than one year and even resisting arrest.
Most of those deported committed Level 2 or 3 crimes or were non-criminals, a monthly report of Secure Communities statistics shows.
“ICE has pulled a bait and switch, with local law enforcement spending more time and resources facilitating the deportations of bus boys and gardeners than murderers and rapists and at considerable cost to local community policing strategies, making us all less safe,” said Peter Markowitz, director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.

The immigration enforcement statistic were obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request by the National Day Laborer’s Organizers Network, the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

At 1pm today, those groups will hold a teleconference to discuss the findings.

ICE Races to Expand Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement Despite Concerns (Huffington Post)

ICE Races to Expand Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement Despite Concerns

Renee Feltz
Multimedia investigative reporter based in New York City
Posted: August 10, 2010 03:23 PM

Despite concern that police involvement in immigration enforcement hurts public safety, the Obama administration announced today it has expanded a program that relies on such collaboration to all 25 counties on the Southwest border.

Some compare the program, called “Secure Communities,” to Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law. The entire states of Florida, Delaware and Virginia signed up in July. It is now in effect in 494 jurisdictions in 27 states, and is set to be implemented nationwide by 2013 by the Immigration and Customs Agency (ICE).

“ICE is racing forward imposing its Secure Communities program on new states and localities every day, without any meaningful dialog or public debate,” said Bridget Kessler, Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Counties that participate in Secure Communities automatically forward arrest data – such as fingerprints – to a database connected to ICE. Agents check the data for matches and can issue a “detainer” or request to hold the person who has been arrested for 48 hours so that ICE can take them into custody.

Kessler helped several advocacy organizations file an open records request to find out more about the program. ICE released about a thousand pages of documents this week. They confirm Kessler’s concern that Secure Communities may lead police to arrest people who have not committed a crime in order to check their immigration status, a form of racial profiling.

For example, a review of the total cases submitted to the Secure Communities database from around the country found that a quarter of those who were later deported had no criminal record. But in specific counties, such as Travis County, Texas, 82 percent of the deportations resulting from the program involved non-criminals.

“This indicates police officers are picking up people on pretext, the criminal charges are getting dropped or dismissed, and they’re getting shuttled into deportation,” said Kessler during a conference call with reporters about the newly released data.

For those immigrants who believe they were unlawfully arrested, the options to avoid deportation can be slim.

“When someone is unlawfully arrested, there is the ability to contest the arrest when you’re in front of a criminal court judge,” noted Sunita Patel, a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. “But detainers prevent the criminal proceedings from happeneing, or hide the unlawful conduct.”

ICE promotes Secure Communities as a way for police to help the agency target immigrants with serious criminal records. But their own data indicates that 79 percent of those deported due to the program are non-criminals or were picked up for offenses listed as Level 2 or 3, instead of the most serious Level 1.

“These are day laborers, street vendors, domestic violence victims,” said Sarahi Uribe, from the National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network.

Lower level offenses could include driving without a license or petty juvenile mischief – hardly the bad guys Congress likely had in mind when it allocated more than $1 billion in funding for Secure Communities.

In San Francisco County, Sheriff Michael Hennessey tried to opt-out of the program because he already had a program to notify ICE when his department had immigrants in custody who were charged or convicted of felonies. He estimated ICE picked up about 100 people a month. But he said ICE told him there was no possibility of opting out.

“At this point it appears it is a program that is forced upon individual law enforcement agencies no matter what the community wants or cares about,” said Sheriff Hennessey.

A fact sheet of some of the main findings from documents about Secure Communities that were released in response to the open records request is at UncovertheTruth.org.

You can read the documents in their entirety – and help highlight and make notes on their contents via an interactive PDF reader – on DeportationNation.org.

26% of Plan's Deportees Not Convicted of Crime (San Francisco Chronicle)

26% of plan’s deportees not convicted of crime

Drew Joseph, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More than one-fourth of illegal immigrants deported from the United States under a federal program that supporters touted as a way to identify and deport dangerous criminals were not convicted of crimes, according to government reports released Tuesday.

In California, 26 percent – 3,875 out of 14,823 – of those deported as part of the program from May 2009 to the end of June were not criminals, while 4,128 were convicted of the most serious crimes, the reports from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed.

Critics of the program said the numbers demonstrate that it has failed to reach the most serious criminal immigrants, while at the same time instilling fear of local law enforcement officers among immigrant communities.

Secure Communities requires states to forward the fingerprints of people who are booked into jails to federal immigration officials so that agents can check the prints against their databases. If there is a match, local authorities must hold the person until federal authorities come for him or her.

The program has been rolled out to almost half of California’s communities and was implemented in San Francisco on June 8.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who along with the Board of Supervisors opposed the program, said in a conference call Tuesday that federal agents have picked up people in San Francisco whose charges were dropped after their arrest. Those people, he said, were “presumably deported.”

The federal agency known as ICE “sweeps up all the little people along with what they say is their intention, which is to deport serious and violent criminals,” Hennessey said.

An ICE official said that Secure Communities is responsible for the removal of 34,600 convicted criminals and that someone identified as a noncriminal may still be an immigration fugitive or may have been previously deported.

Hennessey said he had thought San Francisco could opt out of the program, but that request was denied by state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, the chair of an immigration subcommittee, wrote in a letter last month to two members of President Obama’s Cabinet that “there appears to be significant confusion about how local law enforcement agencies may ‘opt out’ ” of the program.

Subcommittee staff members “were briefed on this program by ICE and were informed that localities could opt out simply by making such a request to ICE,” Lofgren wrote. “Subsequent conversations with ICE and (the FBI) have added to the confusion by suggesting that this might not be so.”

An official in Lofgren’s office said she has not heard back from the Cabinet members, but one of them, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, announced Tuesday that Secure Communities had been deployed in all 25 U.S. counties on the Mexican border.

E-mail Drew Joseph at [email protected].

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/11/BA0L1ERU3T.DTL

This article appeared on page C – 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle