Deportation programs like the Department of Homeland Security’s misnamed “Secure Communities” program are set to be in every U.S jail by 2013 without the public, elected officials, and sometimes police chiefs themselves knowing. Indeed, the program has been advanced in secrecy despite significant public attention paid to the devastating consequences to communities where police enforcement of immigration law has been piloted.

The “Uncovering the Truth” website is intended to be a resource for local groups asking questions about police and ICE collaboration in their communities, and to get lawmakers in Congress focused on holding the Department of Homeland Security accountable.

Together, we will gather the information necessary to make informed decisions about policies affecting our communities and the country and to take further action before it’s too late.

Freedom of Information Act Request on Secure Communities

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (FOIA), for information pertaining to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE)  new Secure Communities program. In the Fall of 2010, the firm Mayer Brown LLP joined the legal team.

The program, launched in March 2008, further involves state and local entities in the enforcement of federal immigration law. Secure Communities institutes a mechanism to run fingerprints through various databases when individuals are arrested – even for minor charges or if charges are dismissed. These checks are performed on presumptively innocent arrestees prior to conviction, raising serious doubts as to the program’s true objectives. Although ICE presents Secure Communities as an innocuous information sharing program, it seems designed to function as a dragnet to funnel even more people into the already mismanaged ICE detention and removal system. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Securities Communities has been implemented in at least 2,782 jurisdictions and at least 48 states as of May 1, 2012. However, no regulations have been promulgated and little information is available about the program in the public domain. The limited information that has been released is vague and seems to indicate that ICE is not executing its stated enforcement priorities.

See full details and status of the legal case at CCR’s page on the Secure Communities FOIA.

Organizational Partners

ACLU of Georgia

Asian Law Caucus

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)

Detention Watch Network

National Immigration Project

New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Pomona Economic Opportunity Center

Rights Working Group

Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Thank you Ford Foundation

We would like to thank the Ford Foundation for their generous support.