In recent news, Secure Communities – a federal immigration detention/deportation program that is now in effect in every county in the state – is currently under fire from both California legislators and immigration advocacy groups.
Started in 2008, Secure Communities is a computerized program that links participating local jails with a federal database. Specifically, anyone who is booked into the jail has their background/profile run through a database run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to uncover potential immigration violations.
Touted as a method of capturing violent, repeat criminals, Secure Communities is now in effect in more than 1,000 jurisdictions across the U.S.
“Secure Communities allows us to leverage technology to screen the intake of all inmates at all jails across the state and to prioritize, apprehend and deport the most egregious offenders,” said Robert Culley, acting field director of the ICE office in San Diego.
However, critics have argued that the program is nothing more than a dragnet for capturing and deporting undocumented and largely innocent immigrants.
In support of this argument, these critics point to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security indicating that through February 2011, roughly 226,000 sets of fingerprints have been submitted via Secure Communities and that 7,458 people were deported as a result.
However, they also point out that of these 7,458 people who have been deported, nearly 22 percent had no criminal convictions and nearly 38 percent had committed lesser offenses (i.e., driving without a valid license).
“We need to look at the big picture,” said Jon Rodney, a California Immigrant Policy Center spokesperson. “We have an immigration system that most would agree is broken. This is a dragnet that’s impacting innocent people.”
Interestingly, Rep. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has authored Assembly Bill 1081, which would enable counties to opt out of Secure Communities, and require those counties/jurisdictions that choose to remain in the program to adopt measures that would both protect victims of crime from deportation and prevent racial profiling.
If you are facing immigration detention or have already been detained on an immigration-related matter, an experienced pompano beach personal injury lawyer can help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.
Stay tuned for further updates from our Los Angeles County immigration law blog …
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice for immigration.