Despite Opposition, NY Joins Fed’s Secure Communities Program

Monday, May 14, 2012

Immigration advocates protest the activation of Secure Communities. (Mirela Iverac/WNYC)

Politicians and immigration advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall Monday to demand that the Department of Homeland Security halt the activation of a contentious immigration program known as Secure Communities, which goes into effect in New York City on Tuesday.

“Secure Communities takes a dragnet approach,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Its implementation leads to the deportation of too many immigrants who pose no public safety threat to the City or State of New York or to our country at all.”

The program has already been in effect in 31 counties, including Nassau, Dutchess and Westchester. On Tuesday, the rest of the state, including New York City, will become a part of the program.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday that the city would follow federal law on this issue.

"We are a country of laws. You can’t just decide which laws you’re going to enforce and which ones you’re not. If the federal government has a law and you don’t like it, change the law,” Bloomberg said. “We will provide any data in the form required by the law. We are not above the law.”

Under Secure Communities, when local law enforcement agencies submit fingerprints to the FBI for routine criminal history checks, the prints will be shared with DHS, so that the Immigration and Customs Agency, ICE, can determine if an arrested individual is subject to deportation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo attempted to withdraw the state from the Secure Communities program last June, noting that it failed to meet its stated goal to “deport serious felons.”

But FBI and ICE, officials immediately said that New York counties, which had become a part of the Secure Communities program, could not terminate their participation, because it is essentially an information-sharing program between two federal agencies: the FBI and DHS.

“Secure Communities has proven to be the single most valuable tool in allowing the agency to eliminate the ad hoc approach of the past and focus on criminal aliens and repeat immigration law violators,” an ICE spokesman said in a statement issued last week.

Responding to criticism of the program, ICE has introduced changes to Secure Communities, including taking into custody individuals arrested solely for minor traffic violations if they are convicted and a new policy designed to protect witnesses or victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes.

According to ICE, Secure Communities has helped remove over 135,000 convicted criminal aliens, including more than 49,000 convicted of major violent offenses like murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children. 

From January 2011 through March 2012, ICE said it deported 816 people from New York’s 31 counties, including 475 criminal aliens. About 17 percent of those removed were what the agency classifies as Level 1 offenders ― that means they were convicted of aggravated felonies such as murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children.

Speaker Quinn said on Monday that the numbers for the most serious convictions were too low, and that individuals with no criminal record and low-level offenders were getting caught up in the program. Advocates also argue the program can lead to ethnic and racial profiling and erode the relationship between the police and immigrant communities.

According to Quinn, the City Council would be “drafting legislation to establish parameters on the NYPD’s interaction with ICE.”

A spokesman for the Governor’s office said they were monitoring the developments around the program.

Secure Communities has been activated in 2,792 jurisdictions in 49 states and territories so far.


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Comments [6]

me from 11221

You sound like the typical american racist.
I Bet you are the type of people ,
That get food stamps, wellfare and all the benefices from the city.
For the record, you should know that most of those benefits you get fron gouverment
comes from the taxpayer, and ilegal immigrants' pocket
I AGREE WITH deporting all convited ciminals, but not deporting
inocent people that comes here to work.

May. 15 2012 03:32 PM

Something is seriously wrong for anyone of the Democratic or Republican party to oppose Secure Communities. It has been wholly implemented in most states and has wide acceptance.

Remember to vote agaisnt the politicians that support ILLEGAL residents, over LEGAL residents.

May. 15 2012 03:04 PM

When a person is arrested by the police, the police are entirely within their rights to see if there is a warrant out for the person's arrest, if they are driving a stolen vehicle, or if they jumped a bail bond. There is no legitimate reason to object to the police submitting fingerprints to a national database to determine whether the person is wanted in other states, or internationally.

The only reason people object to this is because if the person is an unauthorized migrant, they might be deported. Which they should be. "Unauthorized" migrants are people who have no legal right to be present in this country. That means they should be deported if apprehended.

There is a bizarre attitude at work which assumes that as long as a person is not a felon, they should be allowed to live in the U.S. despite the fact that they are not legally authorized to even be here. We all know that if somebody is living here contrary to the law, they also are working contrary to the law and taking jobs from Americans.

What I don't understand is why so many people ignore the basic economic truth that when businesses are allowed to deport jobs or to import foreign labor, wages and benefits are driven down causing widespread unemployment and poverty in the region. What is confusing about that simple fact?

It is not liberal to give away your neighbor's job. Anybody who is here without authorization should be deported. We don't have some off-the-books rule that we only deport rapists and murderers, but everybody else gets to stay. People from other countries are only allowed to come here by invitation of the American people. They have no right to come here, no right to work here or live here. If they were not properly admitted, lawfully authorized to stay, they should be deported.

People should go read the Chamber of Commerce's website. Their position on immigration is they want to privatize it, turn complete control over to the business community. Businesses will import as many people as they want, then deport them when they are done.

Flood a community or state with desperate, poor people willing to work for next to nothing, you know what happens to the state? Go take a look at Tijuana for your answer. It is not liberal, not decent, not nice to agree to allow millions of poor people to flood into certain states in this country, and leave the residents of those states to deal with the burden.

Immigration should be limited, restricted, regulated, stopped altogether until we have full employment. It is not a coincidence that wages have been frozen at the same time that jobs have been exported and foreign labor brought in by the truckload to take American jobs in construction, manufacturing, and service sectors. As an aside, only 3-4% of unauthorized migrants work in agriculture. They take our jobs, they leave our neighbors unemployed. We need to stop this, and deport anyone who is here illegally.

May. 15 2012 01:19 PM

How about ending stop and frisk first? Am I supposed to be upset that an immigrant felon gets deported by this program? I'm a lot more concerned about American citizens being stopped and searched for no reason other than being in a public space.

May. 15 2012 12:32 PM

I really don't get what the fuzz is all about, a person get's arrested their info is sent to ICE, what is problem with that ?, should we just ignore people that continue to break the law by being in this country illegally, yes illegally. regardless of what "roots" they wrongly have planted here, in liberal/social western Europe that is law of the land, has been for years, while i don't believe that we should fallow all EU examples, we sure like to point to out how universal health care is widely available there.

May. 15 2012 10:16 AM
BaghdadBoots from BRONX

‎'Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”- Benjamin Franklin think about communities, nypd stop and frisk and overly zealous mosque focusing, over the top TSA, the relinquishing of Second Amendment and like freedoms. can dismiss it but any history class will let you know not to.
well, guess whos not going to talk to police now? latinos. guess who messed up the good solid work the nypd has done building a relationship with immigrant communities? the government. NYC WAS THE MODEL OF WHAT AMERICA SHOULD BE, guarded by amazing people , the NYPD, now the connection to the people is flawed, because other systems are flawed (immigration)
im confused,
- record number of deportations
- not executive ordering the dream act
- border build up/drones/
- CCA private prisons
- nazi secure community programs ( which is worse than AZ law)
- didnt even try to pass the dream act when the democrats held majority
so obama is for working with people and families who just want to add to america? how so? cause im for obama, but now..... IDK , so what now?!!

May. 15 2012 03:21 AM

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