Is There Any Enforcement They Support?

By Mark Krikorian on July 27, 2010

The Secure Communities program is intended to make systematic and universal the identification of illegal aliens in police custody — not people pulled over for speeding or broken taillights but those actually booked and fingerprinted. The whole point of the program, politically, is to move away from deporting "ordinary" illegal aliens (i.e., those guilty only of tax crimes, identity-fraud crimes, employment crimes, etc.) and focus only on illegals who have committed "real" crimes. It doesn't even guarantee that all those found to be illegal aliens will actually be deported; as promotional material for the program says:

ICE prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens by focusing efforts on the most dangerous and violent offenders. This includes criminal aliens determined to be removable and charged with or convicted of crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses, or those involving threats to national security.

And yet the open-borders people still don't like the program:

DENVER — The federal government is rapidly expanding a program to identify illegal immigrants using fingerprints from arrests, drawing opposition from local authorities and advocates who argue the initiative amounts to an excessive dragnet.

The program has gotten less attention than Arizona's new immigration law, but it may end up having a bigger impact because of its potential to round up and deport so many immigrants nationwide.

The San Francisco sheriff wanted nothing to do with the program, and the City Council in Washington, D.C., blocked use of the fingerprint plan in the nation's capital. Colorado is the latest to debate the program, called Secure Communities, and immigrant groups have begun to speak up, telling the governor in a letter last week that the initiative will make crime victims reluctant to cooperate with police "due to fear of being drawn into the immigration regime." . . .

Since everyone arrested would be screened, the program could easily deport more people than Arizona's new law, said Sunita Patel, an attorney who filed a lawsuit in New York against the federal government on behalf of a group worried about the program. Patel said that because illegal immigrants could be referred to ICE at the point of arrest, even before a conviction, the program can create an incentive for profiling and create a pipeline to deport more people.

"It has the potential to revolutionize immigration enforcement," said Patel.

"Revolutionize" immigration enforcement by actually, you know, enforcing immigration law. But considering that San Francisco does allow checking immigration status for those booked for felonies, can't the same arguments be applied? Won't victims of felonies be "reluctant to cooperate with police" if felons are screened? And, anyway, is it right to deport someone who's put down roots here for having committed only one murder? Shouldn't we limit immigration checks only to multiple murderers?