secure communities

Secure Communities

Under the Secure Communities program (aka "SCOMM" or "S-COMM"), those booked into local jails are checked to see if they're here illegally or have other immigration-related issues. Local jails already send information to the FBI on those they arrest; under SCOMM, the Department of Homeland Security accesses the same data.

If the DHS learns that an inmate is an illegal alien, they may go to the jail to pick the inmate up. Or, they might decide not to do so.

Both Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano generally support the program (even if they have tried to weaken it), but some do not. The latter group includes many on the far-left, corrupt politicians, and ethnocentric advocates.

SCOMM is a weak form of immigration enforcement - it doesn't involve levying huge fines or conducting large-scale raids. When someone opposes it, that's a very good sign that they don't have much use for immigration enforcement to begin with.

Here's the DHS description (ice . gov/secure_communities):

For decades, local jurisdictions have shared the fingerprints of individuals who are booked into jails with the FBI to see if they have a criminal record. Under Secure Communities, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints to ICE to check against its immigration databases. If these checks reveal that an individual is unlawfully present in the United States or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction, ICE takes enforcement action – prioritizing the removal of individuals who present the most significant threats to public safety as determined by the severity of their crime, their criminal history, and other factors – as well as those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws... Secure Communities imposes no new or additional requirements on state and local law enforcement, and the federal government, not the state or local law enforcement agency, determines what immigration enforcement action, if any, is appropriate... Only federal DHS officers make immigration enforcement decisions, and they do so only after an individual is arrested for a criminal violation of state law, separate and apart from any violations of immigration law.

Last modified Jul 26, 2012
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

Is Elizabeth Warren fake? (opposes Secure Communities immigration enforcement) - 09/20/11

Elizabeth Warren is a minor leftwing idol who's vying for Scott Brown's Massachusetts senate seat. She's presented by her supporters (in and out of the media) as the great protector of the middle class.

If so, why is she taking a corrupt position that would harm the middle class while helping the rich?

DHS makes Secure Communities nationwide, no opt-out (so far). Lofgren, ACLU, NAKASEC, FIRM, CHIRLA, ICIRR, MIRA, Frank Sharry, NIF outraged. - 08/08/11

From this comes some good news for a change:

The Department of Homeland Security notified 39 governors Friday that the fingerprint-sharing program did not need their approval to operate in their states, and said it had voided agreements they had signed to authorize their states' participation, according to a copy of the letter.

Yolo Sheriff Ed Prieto consults with Mexican government and opposes Secure Communities; "our people" - 06/19/11

In May 2011, Yolo (California) County Sheriff Ed Prieto held a press conference with others [1] expressing his opposition to the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.

Deval Patrick refuses to join Secure Communities (federal immigration enforcement program, Massachusetts) - 06/06/11

Massachusetts joins the growing list of localities who don't want to get involved in Secure Communities, a program from the Department of Homeland Security that checks the immigration status of those arrested.

Andrew Cuomo suspends Secure Communities in New York state (Serrano, Velazquez, NYIC) - 06/01/11

From an official statement [1]:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will suspend participation in the federal Secure Communities Program to review the mounting evidence that the program is not meeting its stated goal and has serious consequences for witnesses, victims of crime and law enforcement.

DHS claims to have set record for deportations, fines; Secure Communities - 10/11/10

From a Department of Homeland Security press release [1]:

In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed - more than 195,000 - were convicted criminals. The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008 - a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration.

DHS has also expanded the Secure Communities initiative - which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails - from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 660 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border. DHS is on track to expand this program to all law enforcement jurisdictions nationwide by 2013. This year alone, Secure Communities has resulted in the arrest of more than 59,000 convicted criminal aliens, including more than 21,000 convicted of major violent offenses like murder, rape, and the sexual abuse of children.

Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions - more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.

The last isn't much of a surprise, but it should also be pointed out that some of the fines date back to Bush-era cases.


Secure Communities is mandatory, over objections of San Francisco and others - 10/01/10

The Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program collects the fingerprints of those charged with crimes by localities and checks them for immigration violations. Now, a few illegal immigration-supporting communities are finding out that, despite a previous statement from DHS implying otherwise, there's no opt-out. Localities already send such fingerprints to the FBI and the DHS gets them from the latter source and not from the former.

From this:

A senior ICE official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the involuntary nature of the program, said: "Secure Communities is not based on state or local cooperation in federal law enforcement. The program's foundation is information sharing between FBI and ICE. State and local law enforcement agencies are going to continue to fingerprint people and those fingerprints are forwarded to FBI for criminal checks. ICE will take immigration action appropriately."

The only way a local jurisdiction could opt out of the program is if a state refused to send fingerprints to the FBI. Since police and prosecutors need to know the criminal histories of people they arrest, it is not realistic for states to withhold fingerprints from the FBI - which means it is impossible to withhold them from ICE.

Those who wanted to opt-out are: Santa Clara County, Arlington County, Washington DC, and, of course, San Francisco. The article also quotes Walter Tejada of Arlington County as being upset, which is a good thing. And, this will one of the few positive steps Janet Napolitano has taken, just as long as it is actually mandatory in practice.

FIRM wants civil disobedience to get amnesty? (CCC, Casa de Maryland, NYIC, OneAmerica) - 05/20/10

Per this unconfirmed report, a conference call was held on the 18th in which various pro-illegal immigration groups called for civil disobedience in an attempt to get comprehensive immigration reform (aka amnesty).

The groups named are: Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Center for Community Change, New York Immigration Coalition, Casa de Maryland, Churches United to Save and Heal, and OneAmerica:

On the call they said:

"We've marched, called and faxed. We've shown time and again that there's no bigger movement than ours. Still, our elected officials haven't delivered satisfactory progress on immigration reform. We won't be appeased with token gestures. We're stepping up the pressure. On this call we're going to go over the next steps, including civil disobedience, non-compliance and other acts of non-violent resistance in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Milwaukee, Washington, Baltimore and many more cities."

They specifically want a moratorium on the Secure Communities program.

Far-left working to block Napolitano's "Secure Communities" program - 04/28/10

The "Secure Communities" program from the Department of Homeland Security is Janet Napolitano's kinder, gentler alternative to the 287g program. That's not good enough for the far-left (link). Yesterday they released the following:

[T]he National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (of Yeshiva University) filed a lawsuit demanding records related to the little-known United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) "Secure Communities" program that further involves local and state police in federal immigration enforcement. The filing also marks the launch of "Uncovering the Truth," a weeklong national campaign of coordinated actions and advocacy in more than ten cities to end ICE-police collaboration.

"The passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona should be proof enough of the dangerous and disastrous nature of ICE-police collaboration programs like the so-called Secure Communities program," said Pablo Alvarado, NDLON Executive Director. "The President should heed his own advice and act responsibly by reclaiming the federal government's exclusive authority over the nation's immigration laws. By terminating all police and ICE partnerships, the President can help restore community safety and protect civil rights and due process for all."

At the same time as the far-left opposes almost any form of immigration enforcement, they also push comprehensive immigration reform. The latter is sold as having... increased enforcement, and the far-left promotes it in completely bad faith: if it passes, they'll oppose its enforcement provisions just as they oppose enforcement now.

New York Times opposes Secure Communities - 11/27/09

Channeling their inner ACLU, the New York Times offers "Immigrants, Criminalized" ( in which they come out against the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program that chec

American Civil Liberties Union opposes both 287g and Secure Communities - 11/19/09

The following is from congressional testimony offered by the American Civil Liberties Union (more on them and questions for them at the link) on April 2, 2008 [1]:

Recommendations: The ACLU urges that ICE:
* Halt entering into future (287g) agreements with states and localities;
* Cease recognition and compliance with 287(g) agreements currently in operation.
* Halt implementation of the Secure Communities plan which seeks to expand state and local law enforcement powers to enforce federal immigration laws.

Philadelphia cops now won't ask about immigrations status (pro-criminal Mayor Nutter) - 11/10/09

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia - yes, "Mayor Nutter" - recently signed an executive order that will make it easier for criminal illegal aliens to live and work in his city; he's clearly putting his own political interests ahead of the interests of his city. From this:

Perhaps stealing the thunder of his own announcement of a 2010 census push, the mayor told a standing-room-only crowd that he's been hearing that what he calls undocumented individuals worry they may be turned over to Immigration if they talk to police or access city services.

So he's looking for ways to "narrow the scope" of the Federal Secure Communities anti-criminal alien program. He says, for the last six years, it's been a guideline that police not ask about immigration status:

"To emphatically underscore that policy though, I will in a few minutes sign a new executive order directing that no city employee -- including all members of the Philadelphia Police Department -- may ask any person any questions about their immigration status."

The mayor says he hopes the new policy generates trust in police, city services and the census.

The "Secure Communities" initiative is along the same lines as the 287g program and described at
It's designed to "improve[] public safety by implementing a comprehensive, integrated approach to identify and remove criminal aliens from the United States" and that's what Nutter is coming out against.