AFL-CIO Calls for Immediate Suspension of S-Comm Program
The AFL-CIO and the National Immigration Forum (NIF) sent a joint letter yesterday to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stressing the urgent need to change the Secure Communities program.
The Secure Communities program, implemented a few years ago by Homeland Security, was created to empower local law enforcement agencies to report undocumented immigrants with criminal records to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. But rather than making America’s communities safer, a recent investigation by the Justice Department confirmed the program has in many instances led to racial profiling.
The letter expresses serious concern with the Department of Justice findings of racial profiling of Latinos and other civil rights violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It also notes that the Justice Department findings demonstrate abuse can happen when Homeland Security is actively collaborating with enforcement agencies through the Secure Communities program as well as informally with local law enforcement agencies.
The Justice Department’s findings are only the most recent evidence of the need for immediate and significant reforms to the Secure Communities program, according to the letter.
To prohibit DHS from becoming a vehicle for unlawful and discriminatory policing and to reinforce community policing principles, the AFL-CIO and NIF recommend the following measures:
- Immediately terminate the operation of Secure Communities in states, such as Alabama, where immigration enforcement laws that have been challenged as unconstitutional by the Department of Justice are in effect.
- Immediately terminate the operation of Secure Communities and prevent the activation of Secure Communities in jurisdictions where the Department of Justice has found discriminatory policing.
- Suspend the Secure Communities program nationally until the reforms and safeguards recommended in the Task Force’s report are fully implemented.
- Honor localities’ decisions about whether and how to participate in collaborative immigration enforcement programs with DHS.
The AFL-CIO and NIF are former members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, Task Force on Secure Communities. Recently, the task force submitted a set of recommendations on Secure Communities. But the AFLCIO and NIF were unable to ultimately endorse those recommendations because they did not remedy fundamental flaws in the program’s design and implementation.
Originally Published on AFL-CIO Blog by Brenda Loya in AFL-CIO Media Affairs at http://blog.aflcio.org/2012/01/05/afl-cio-national-immigration-forum-urge-reform-of-secure-communities-program/