Despite opposition from the governors of New York and Massachusetts, federal immigration authorities are moving forward to implement Secure Communities in both states.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials e-mailed police and state leaders to inform them the controversial federal program that checks the immigration status of anyone booked in local and county jails would be activated “in all remaining jurisdictions” Tuesday.
Initially, ICE told localities and states that Secure Communities would be optional but then backpedaled and is now on track to implement finger print-based deportation program in every county in the country by next year.
“In many ways, tomorrow’s activation is just more of the same—Secure Communities has been expanding to new states for four years and the states are just the lastest additions. But the states, especially New York, have huge immigrant populations, and so large numbers of people are likely to be deported once the government flicks the on-switch tomorrow,” said Colorlines.com’s investigative reporter Seth Freed Wessler.
Wessler points out New York City already has a relationship with ICE when non-citizens are arrested, but by implementing the Secure Communities program, the path from booking to detention will be streamlined and more people with even lower level charges are likely to be deported as a result. “It’s well documented that the NYPD engaged in systemic practices of racial targeting in its stop and frisk program. The Secure Communities program will now feed on arrests from this profiling,” Wessler said.