Mike Kueber's Blog

July 11, 2012

Secure Communities

Filed under: Culture,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:53 pm
Tags: , , ,

“Secure Communities” is a federal program under the ICE umbrella that attempts to identify and then deport arrested individuals who are illegal immigrants.  The program works by having local law enforcement forward the fingerprints of all arrested individuals to ICE, and if ICE determines that an individual is here illegally, ICE picks up the person for deportation.  

Most of the Secure Communities news came out of Washington, D.C., where the program’s director, John Morton, testified before Congress on problems that the program is facing.  Although the program has grown from a 2008 pilot to 5% participation in 2009 to 97% participation in 2011, it is threatened by a movement in some liberal jurisdictions to back off their support.  According to an article in the Texas Tribune, opponents of Secure Communities believe it is a form of racial profiling.  Huh?  Unfortunately, neither the opponents nor Texas Tribune expound on that incredible assertion. 

The NY Times, however, had a related article with news coming out of Chicago, where its mayor, Obama surrogate Rahm Emmanuel, declared at a press conference that his city was planning to make Chicago the “most immigrant-friendly city in the country” by refusing to forward to ICE the fingerprints of arrested individuals unless they were arrested for serious crimes.   

Conservative legislators in Washington pressed ICE’s Morton on whether the Obama administration has a double standard regarding the cooperation of local law enforcement in enforcement of America’s immigration laws – i.e., Arizona attempts to aggressively cooperate in and is sued by the Obama administration, while Chicago brazenly refuses to cooperate yet continues to receive Secure Communities money.  The NY Times described the double standard as follows:

  • While Arizona sought to authorize the state and local police to enforce immigration laws more strictly than federal policy, officials in Chicago and surrounding Cook County want to ease the impact of enforcement on immigrant neighborhoods by restraining the local police and restricting the action of federal agents. The Supreme Court ruled on the Arizona law on June 25, striking down most of the controversial parts.”  (That last sentence reveals the NY Times bias because the Supreme Court tentatively approved the most controversial part of the AZ law.)

The Times article goes on to say:

  • That law generally bars county police and jails from detaining illegal immigrants to turn them over to federal agents, unless the agents have a specific warrant. It is the strongest of the ‘sanctuary’ ordinances adopted by a handful of cities and counties nationwide, which have spared illegal immigrants from being held for deportation if they have committed only minor civil immigration violations.

Secure Communities director Morton concedes that the Cook County’s ordinance is “inconsistent with the terms of federal law.”  And the chairwoman, Candace Miller, R-MI, of the House subcommittee investigating the problem warns, “Sending a message that we are not going to bother with you unless you commit a serious crime is dangerous.”

It seems America has a problem akin to a Mexican standoff.  Liberals will continue to encourage illegal immigration by providing sanctuary status and conservatives will continue to discourage it by making life difficult for illegal immigrants.  Americans will all get on the same page only if our politicians are able to fashion a compromise that improves the status quo for both sides, and that will not happen until conservatives begin talking about the status of our 11 million illegal immigrants.

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