More Secure Communities Kabuki

By Jessica M. Vaughan on July 11, 2011

Boston Mayor Tom Menino is the latest addition to the growing chorus of the nation’s liberal politicians who are making a show of wringing their hands over the Secure Communities program, which uses the existing federal fingerprint-sharing system to help ICE find foreign nationals who have been arrested and should be removed.

Former ICE Official Dan Cadman Explains
the Secure Communities Program:
View the Full Interview

The program has removed 115,000 aliens who were under arrest by local authorities from U.S. soil in the last two and one-half years, including 352 from Boston, which was one of the pilot sites. It is highly unlikely that Boston actually would drop out of the program, even if they could (they can’t; once you’re in, you’re in, unless you want to stop doing all criminal history checks with the FBI). It’s too important to public safety, and everyone in law enforcement knows it, including Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who has consistently supported Secure Communities during his tenure. The Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association reportedly is in the process of drafting a statement supporting Secure Communities, and at least five county sheriffs and several police chiefs in Massachusetts are begging ICE and the FBI to turn on Secure Communities in their jurisdictions because they want help with all the crime problems associated with illegal immigration.

The real problem now is ICE. The agency has the authority and the mandate to implement Secure Communities everywhere in the country—it’s a federal program, after all—but it doesn’t seem to want to. Instead, the Obama administration is tacitly encouraging all this trumped-up opposition. ICE consistently fails to offer even a mildly spirited defense of Secure Communities; instead they act embarrassed by how well it works. ICE headquarters has forbidden the local field office staff from commenting on the program in public. They will not allow individual police or sheriff departments to join if the state government prefers to be a sanctuary. The Secure Communities office refuses to release statistics or case histories (on foreign criminals, for goodness sake!) that would show everyone what kind of offenders are being identified and removed under the program. If a hostile newspaper reporter is critical of the statistics they do release, then they stop releasing those statistics altogether. They seem oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and members of the public are supportive of the program and the mission. If anything, the public wants more enforcement, not the pseudo-enforcement we get now.

John Morton, director of ICE, might as well put a “Kick Me” sign on every ICE employee’s back. His recent announcement of “reforms” to Secure Communities sent the clear signal that he agrees with the program’s critics, further cultivating the image that innocent and harmless individuals are getting caught up in a haphazard dragnet. Morton is insisting that ICE agents go through more training so that they can better understand ICE’s new priorities (i.e. See No Illegals) and so that they can avoid, civil rights violations, even though there haven’t been any complaints. Because there have been no complaints filed, ICE has changed its procedure to allow the ACLU, I mean the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, to launch investigations of civil rights violations on the basis of complaints from advocacy groups or news media reports.

He also has formed an advisory committee to figure out how to avoid removing those encountered on traffic stops (like the illegal alien profiled in this sob story, who blew through a stop sign at 40 mph and is working illegally, but who likely will escape removal, since she is a potential DREAM Act amnesty beneficiary).

All I want to know is, where do the victims of the crimes committed by illegal aliens go to complain about the degradation of their lives and neighborhoods that results when federal law enforcement agencies run away from their responsibilities?