More Responses to Secure Communities Officially Becoming a Mandatory Deportation Program

It’s been exactly a week since the Department of Homeland Security asserted the mandatory nature of the Secure Communities deportation program and voided it’s agreements with states across the country. Since then there have been numerous responses from politicians and organizations alike.

There have been “community” task force meetings in some parts of the country. There is now a push by some sectors asking for members of the task force to resign, given how DHS’s announcement shows that there is no interest on the part of the government in hearing from members of any community regarding the impact of S-Comm. For example, this afternoon in Tuscon, there will be a rally demanding that Tucson Police Chief, Roberto Villaseñor, who has been named as a member of this Taskforce, resign and not legitimize a program that will result in the most massive deportation process we have ever seen.

Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) on Thursday filed a federal class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for unlawfully detaining immigrants and U.S. citizens identified through local law enforcement agencies. Under the Secure Communities program, when local police make an arrest, they must send fingerprint information to a federal immigration database, which frequently triggers detainer requests. DHS issued about 271,000 immigration detainers in fiscal year 2009 and more than 201,000 detainers through the first 11 months of fiscal year 2010.

To my knowledge, only two government officials have responded to the DHS S-Comm announcement. Earlier this week, Congressman José E. Serrano wrote a letter to Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, to register his objections to new policy changes. Serrano doesn’t ask for a complete moratorium, rather asks to stop further implementation of Secure Communities, while awaiting a report from the Office of the Inspector General, currently conducting an evaluation of the program.
Yesterday, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez also sent a letter to Morton (PDF version of letter here). The demand is also a suspension of the expansion of the program.

Next Tuesday, NDLON will be publishing a report on Secure Communities. There will be a complete post on that report as well as events surrounding the release next week.

While all of the responses above are important in terms of following a nice orderly process of dissent. None come close to the outrage that the program has deserved since it’s inception under Bush and since it’s expansion under Obama.

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