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Monday, March 29, 2010

ICE implements ‘Secure Communities’ program.

 ICE Secure Communities Program

Terrorizes Immigrant Community

One of the reasons people show up for court is they believe they will be treated fairly once they get there.  ICE has put a big dent in the ‘treated fairly’ tag with their ‘secure communities’ program.

20080502_immigration_march_33 stop raids

Under ‘Secure Communities’:

A single submission of fingerprints as part of the normal criminal arrest / booking process will automatically

ENDRAIDScheck both the Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) of the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT Program.

A person who comes up positive in the computer data base isn’t getting released into the community.  Rather, if he or she is an undocumented worker then it likely means he will get the midnight express ride home to Mexico.

For example, according to a March 03 article by Julie Johnson with the Press Democrat, Sonoma County will be the first county in the Bay area to check immigration status of every single person who finds themselves the guest of the local cross-bar motel.  ICE figures the local police already have the cat in custody, all they need to do is send immigration to pick him up and their job becomes a lot easier.

The problem with the secure communities action plan is, it puts an ‘all or nothing’ mentality into those who are in the process of apprehension.  While most undocumented workers will blissfully pull over to the side of the road in a traffic stop, for example, a few will make a run for it.  They know if they get arrested they may not be going home to take care of their children.  The ICE policy makes road side stops dangerous both for the police officer and for others in traffic.

"It places a huge burden on the courts because many clients who would plea their case must now go to trial"

Attorneys, too, have some ethical issues with this radical ICE program.  How can an attorney advise his client to go to court for a traffic charge, for example, when he knows a short jail sentence really means his client will be deported?  It turns a mild misdemeanor in which the client might have a week-end to do in jail, or even get work release, into a serious immigration case.  It changes the entire defense strategy because now, the attorney will be forced to agree to anything the prosecution demands just to keep his client out of jail.  In the alternative, it places a huge burden on the courts because many clients who would plea their case must now go to trial.

Tim Paynter, an Attorney in Denver, Colorado, says it is important for all immigrants to know your rights, conoce tus derechos!

ICE presumes anyone who is incarcerated is a criminal.  Under their thinking, all you have to do to be guilty is be sent to jail.  While the police do their job well, once in awhile they make mistakes.  Innocent people are arrested.  The ICE program makes a mockery of the presumption of innocence and due process built into our constitution.

The program also obscures the line between the responsibilities of local police to protect the public, including undocumented workers and the responsibilities of the federal police to apprehend criminal illegal aliens.  Local police have traditionally avoided immigration enforcement which is the responsibility of the federal government.  This policy encourages immigrants who are victims of crime to report the crime.  It also let's local law enforcement use their valuable man power and financial resources putting bad guys in jail, not doing federal policing activities for the federal police on the county dime.

As a result of a loose immigration and border control system dating back decades, there are an estimated 13,000,000 undocumented workers in the U.S.  The solution to bring these people into the main stream of society is not advanced the ICE "Secure Communities" program, or by aggressive police tactics from local sheriff and police departments on the eve of sweeping immigration change.  

One must wonder if the leaders of the Department of Homeland Security, including Immigration, Customs and Border Enforcement, secretly oppose passage of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).  They seem to be making a concerted effort to embarrass President Barak Obama, who supports an end to the witch hunts and promised legislation to integrate undocumented workers into society.

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