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Secure Communities (S-Comm)—a federal immigration enforcement program being implemented by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—has become the subject of a nationwide controversy. In jurisdictions where S-Comm has been activated, any time an individual is arrested and booked into a local jail for any reason, his or her fingerprints are electronically run through ICE’s immigration database. This allows ICE to identify people who may be non-citizens—including lawful immigrants and permanent residents—and potentially to initiate deportation proceedings against them. Because it targets people at the time of arrest, not conviction, S-Comm captures people who will never be charged with a state crime—including crime victims (including domestic violence victims), witnesses, and individuals who were wrongly arrested. S-Comm has also caused the unlawful detention of U.S. citizens.
S-Comm has disastrous and widespread impacts on civil liberties. It drives a wedge between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, deterring victims and witnesses from reporting crimes and undermining community policing partnerships that keep everyone safe from crime. It causes widespread unlawful detention without criminal charges or a hearing. It invites racial profiling by state and local law enforcement. And, despite ICE’s statements that S-Comm should focus on people convicted of serious crimes, the federal government’s own statistics have shown that it ensnares huge numbers of low-level offenders and non-criminals in its dragnet, fueling mass deportations of productive community members and the destruction of U.S. families. The ACLU calls for an end to this fundamentally flawed program.
11/30/2011 End Secure Communities Now
7/26/11 Secure Communities Issue Brief
11/10/10 ACLU Statement on Secure Communities
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