The Secure Communities Program
Is It Living Up To Its Name?
Washington D.C. - As the Department of Homeland Security marks the one-year anniversary of its Secure Communities Program - the latest partnership between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local jails to identify and deport "criminal aliens"- the Immigration Policy Center is releasing a Special Report, The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns. The report asks key questions, raises serious concerns about the program, and provides recommendations for its improvement.
The Secure Communities program - currently active in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - seeks to remove dangerous criminals from the U.S. However, early evidence from Secure Communities, and experience with other ICE programs, suggests that there is reason to be concerned about whether Secure Communities is meeting that goal, and what impact the program has on local communities. There are questions concerning who is being targeted by the program and how ICE defines and prioritizes criminal immigrants. There are additional concerns regarding the role of local law-enforcement officers, and the potential for racial profiling and pretextual arrests. Finally, the new report raises questions about the management, data collection, and evaluation of the program.
The questions and concerns around Secure Communities provide yet more evidence that enforcement-only policies do not work, and that we need a comprehensive solution to our immigration problems. Attempts to enforce our way out of this problem alone have failed. In a well-functioning legal immigration system, our federal and local law-enforcement agencies could focus their scarce resources on dangerous criminals - immigrant and citizen alike - rather than chasing millions of unauthorized workers who pose no public safety threat.
To read the report in its entirety see: