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