Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Secure Communities Not So Helpful

There is much controversy over U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Secure Communities program. Secure Communities is the program where all fingerprints of arrestees are compared to the Department of Homeland Security's fingerprint database. Those who are revealed to be aliens are reviewed and placed in removal proceedings. The radical left is, of course, on the warpath against Secure Communities. To them it is an abomination to deport any alien, much less a criminal alien.

But the shock is contained in a recent article on Secure Communities and New York's withdrawal from the program:

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent decision to pull New York out of the federal Secure Communities program has been hailed by Democrats and immigration groups. But the praise isn't universal, and some police officers and lawmakers are criticizing the decision, saying it could hurt law enforcement efforts.

On June 1, New York followed Illinois as the second state to withdraw from the controversial program amid concerns that it is unfairly targeting immigrants who are accused of minor infractions. Massachusetts followed suit on Monday.

But the move has drawn criticism from some police agencies in New York and has prompted the head of the state Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, to hold a hearing Wednesday in Albany to scrutinize Cuomo's decision.

Ball said he was concerned that withdrawing from the program would hurt police efforts to identify potential criminals who are in the country illegally. He accused the Democratic governor of trying to appease his liberal base.

"He shouldn't be using fundamental tools for law enforcement to do that. I strongly ask that he reconsider," said Ball, who wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking that New York's participation be reinstated.

Still, the practical implications of Cuomo's decision appear to be minimal. The federal government plans to continue the program in New York as it conducts its own investigation.

"I don't think we're really upset about it because from a practical point of view, it's not going to make much of a difference," Peter Kehoe, executive director of the state Sheriffs' Association, said of Cuomo's decision.

The program, started in 2008 nationally, is aimed at better identifying criminals when they are apprehended by local law enforcement. Fingerprints of those arrested are shared with the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allowing the agencies to match any potential illegal immigrants.

Since it started, more than 151,000 convicted criminals who are illegal immigrants have been taken into federal custody, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Roughly 77,000 have been removed from the U.S.

That is quite shocking. That is only just over half of those arrested, not just those identified as aliens, have been removed. That means almost half of the aliens with arrest and criminal records are still wandering the streets of the U.S. Which should not so much a surprise given the case of Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Sandoval. He was another deportable criminal alien who was released as part of the Obama Regime administrative amnesty.

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