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Cuomo Suspends Controversial Secure Communities Program Amid 'Concerns'

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that New York State will suspend participation in Secure Communities because of concerns over the controversial federal program through which the fingerprints of anyone arrested are shared with immigration authorities.

"There are concerns about the implementation of the program as well as its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York," Cuomo said in a statement, noting the program failed to meet its stated goal to "deport serious felons."

The program has come under criticism due the deportations of immigrants who had not been convicted of a crime or had committed a low-level offense.

In states where the Secure Communities program is in effect, the fingerprints of everyone arrested and booked are checked against FBI criminal history records and the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration records. ICE then decides if immigration enforcement action is required for a foreign-born individual.

In New York, 31 counties have been participating in the program since January. Forty-five aliens were removed in that period, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Eighty percent of those removed had not been convicted of a crime.

According to ICE, the Secure Communities program has been critical in focusing limited resources on people in the country illegally who have also broken criminal laws. Nationally, more than 77,000 criminal aliens have been removed since the programs began in October 2008.

More than 28,000 of those were convicted of aggravated felonies such as murder, rape, kidnapping and the sexual abuse of children, according to ICE’s spokeswoman Nicole Navas. She added that the agency is analyzing the effectiveness of the program and will share the results with New York.

A number of state and local politicians and immigration advocates have lobbied the governor to rescind the agreement that the Paterson administration signed in 2010, and argued that the sharing of the fingerprints with the immigration authorities would make immigrants fearful and unwilling to report crimes when they witness them or are victims themselves.

"We are completely thrilled," said Michelle Fei, co-director of Immigrant Defense Project, of the governor's decision. "This is the only right solution for New York. We are very relieved and really thankful."

New York is the second state to opt out of the program, following in the footsteps of Illinois, which made the same decision last month. Officials said this will have national ramifications.

"The federal government needs to go back to the drawing board," said state Senator Gustavo Rivera. "If it wants to create a program that seeks to identify and to deport dangerous criminals, then let's create a program that actually does that."

It remains unclear, though, what this decision will mean for counties that have already become a part of the program. According to ICE’s previous statements, Secure Communities will be activated in all jurisdictions by 2013 and there would be no opting out for those that became a part of the program.

Some officials expressed displeasure at the governor’s decision. Councilman Peter Vallone, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said he didn't see any reason for New York to leave the program.

"I think the public expects that illegal aliens who commit another crime are deported," he said. "I think they're probably surprised to know that there's even a debate about this."

Others, however, applauded the governor's decision.

"Governor Cuomo has shown great vision and courage," Congressman Jose Serrano said in an interview with WNYC. "For New York to still be saying that we don't go around bashing immigrants, that we don't go around deporting people who don't deserve to be deported, that still speaks not only about the issue but about who New York is, who we are as New Yorkers."

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Comments [4]

Brittanicus from Indianapolis, IN

Those legislators and elected officials who don't oppose illegal immigration will be vividly remembered by the growing TEA PARTY membership. If we used zero tolerance policies to remove illegal aliens from America, it would save us trillions of dollars in the years ahead. Each of the thousands of TEA PARTY cells will be looking to oust those who have pushed our country into this financial chaos. Governors such as Andrew Cuomo called the “architect or ruin”, which had much to do with the real estate collapse and low income and illegal immigrant mortgages. Such Mayors as Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, for evasion of implementing E-Verify and Secure Communities, in exposing foreign nations in the workplace and criminal aliens through a ICE fingerprinting. A new poll conducted by Rasmussen found that 82% of likely voters think businesses should be required to use E-Verify. Because of the incompetence of the major parties the border fence is incomplete (NOT COMPARABLE TO THE 2006 Secure Fence Act) and the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli immigration laws not enforced.

So many other States are going it alone, to protect their own residents from economic illegal aliens. While California and Sheriff Michael Hennessey, in the ultra-Liberal fortress of San Francisco who is illegally opting out of policing laws such as mandatory Secure Communities, that is a resonating signal for parasitic economic illegal aliens to quickly arrive there. Releasing any illegal aliens is incorrigible, and ICE being implicated shows that the Obama administration has a no intentions of enforcing laws. This is the same fiasco with highlighted States like Nevada and cities as Chicago and Denver named infamously as Sanctuary cities and states, which are ignoring federal law. ICE doesn’t seem to be reigning in these policies and apprehending the officials behind these illegal people havens. Cops and citizens-legal residents are dying, at the bloody hands of illegal migrants and immigrants that the city councils and managers have no interest in rescinding these anti-sovereignty laws and ordinances? When Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) represent illegal aliens as “Undocumented Immigrants” he and others who use this misnaming of these criminal people, will be ousted in his next re-election, compliments of the TEA PARTY.

Jun. 02 2011 08:23 PM
Brittanicus from Indianapolis, IN

The House of Representatives is debating and voting on amendments to the 2012 Homeland Security spending bill. Several immigration amendments will be offered and receive votes. It will be the first votes cast on immigration during the 112th Congress. An amendment that increases spending for the administration of the 287(g) program passed in the House of Representatives. In addition two border security amendments offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to the 2012 DHS spending bill were passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The two amendments would reallocate funds to provide funding towards removing mountain lookout posts along eh U.S.-Mexico border. These lookout posts are used to aid illegal aliens and drug smugglers in avoiding border patrol agents stationed in the desert. Funds to hire shadow wolves, who are an elite unit, that track smugglers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Attn: When we have 15 million people out of work nationally, why is the federal government giving contracts to foreign countries. watching C-Span today, Congress listened to Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) pleading that US contracts for US Coast Guard diesel engines, should be made in America and not Germany? Another Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) brought to attention of both House parties, that a company in San Francisco was given a contract to manufacture TSA uniforms, and turned around and outsourced the work to Mexico. All patriotic Americans should bombard Federal and State Representatives and demand that all government contracts should go to USA companies and not outsourced to foreign countries.

The People's power is invincible, but we must stand together against many entities who are only interested in profit and exploitation. We can join NumbersUSA and band together by demanding a--MANDATORY E-VERIFY--nationwide, from our federal, State representatives or call Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121.

Jun. 02 2011 08:22 PM
Matt

How is it an idiotic change? It's a voluntary program that contradicts everything the U.S. and especially New York stands for.

I'd like to mention Scott Stringer's article in L Magazine tuned me into this & I'm really glad to see such a quick change.

Jun. 02 2011 10:33 AM
Jihadisco from NYC

I suspect Cuomo has a few illegals employed in his household. What else could explain this idiotic change. Either that or he really doesn't care about the law or the safety of New Yorkers.

These politicians are soo stupid.

I can't wait for a murder case similar this (http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-06-30/bay-area/17210541_1_gang-member-ramos-attorney-death-penalty) to show up NY. Then, it's blood on him.

Jun. 02 2011 10:09 AM

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