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Monday, August 23, 2010

What’s wrong with Secure Communities concept?

As I understand it, the Secure Communities program was established to identify illegal immigrants who have a criminal background. It is being phased into communities nationwide based on illegal immigrant population estimates combined with that area’s crime statistics. They are probably building a predictive computer model that will target a certain profile.

As an example, the fingerprints of those booked into jail for any crime are run against FBI and Homeland Security records to identify those in the country illegally or with previous arrests. So far so good.

Projections are the program could deport more individuals than Arizona’s new immigration law, SB1070. And there lies the rub. Those opposed to Secure Communities fear that it will sweep up even legal immigrants, and that those illegal with minor infractions like a traffic ticket.

Those for the program cite statistics as proof. Out of 2.6 million screened since October of 2008, 35,000 were identified as illegal immigrants arrested or convicted for crimes like murder or rape. Another 205,000 were identified for less serious crimes.

ICE spokesman, Carl Rusnok, says Secure Communities was created to improve the method for catching and deporting illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. San Francisco said no to the program because of the fear that it would cast too wide a net. It also goes against their sanctuary city policy that requires authorities to only report foreign-born suspects booked with felonies. California Attorney General Jerry Brown disagrees and thinks it does work.

ICE continues to maintain that the people reporting crimes need not worry; only those arrested will be screened for their illegal status. This could be either one answer to immigration reform, or another botched government program.

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