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WASHINGTON - In a surprise move, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would rescind all 39 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with states to implement “Secure Communities” (S-Comm.)

Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, EqualityThe letter from the Obama administration voided agreements they had signed with states to authorize the state's participation in the program in the belief that state participation was not voluntary anyway.

The move sparked outcry from Hispanic and immigration advocacy groups, The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and The National Immigration Forum.

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF, said "The federal government's decision to abrogate existing agreements with states on Secure Communities -- a fatally flawed program that has proven to accomplish little other than splitting apart families and undermining cooperation with law enforcement -- is a severe threat to civil rights in our nation."

Saenz added, "The government's unilateral action is suspiciously timed, a clear response to numerous state leaders who have openly expressed serious doubts about and strong opposition to continued involvement with Secure Communities based on experience with the program's disruption of community and economy. While the abrogation purports to restrict states' ability to avert some of the worst aspects of Secure Communities by modifying their agreements or ceasing to participate in the program, this unprecedented step simply further delegitimizes the Secure Communities program. The only suitable approach at this point is to end Secure Communities."

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization said, "We are deeply disturbed by the announcement in the wake of the recent actions by states and other jurisdictions to withdraw from the program. This unilateral decision contradicts the initially-stated intent to make this program optional for cities and states.

A statement released by the Forum voiced the group's concern with the Secure Communities program. The group feels ICE should amend the rules so that states and localities, and not the federal government, decide if Secure Communities is appropriate for them.

The statement goes on to say, "ICE must meaningfully address the erosion of public trust in law enforcement created by Secure Communities. Because Secure Communities lacks the internal safeguards to prevent profiling, ICE must address bias and discriminatory practices that are feeding people into the program. Rather than impose this controversial program on more jurisdictions, we believe that the Secure Communities program must be halted until these and other issues are addressed.” 

STORY TAGS: Hispanic News, Latino News, Mexican News, Minority News, Civil Rights, Discrimination, Racism, Diversity, Latina, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality


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