Thursday, September 15, 2011

Secure Communities On The Block

The chopping block. The fix was in on the committee that John Morton appointed to look at the PR problem Secure Communities was having. Most in ICE management and the Obama Regime want an end to Secure Communities, limiting it to dealing with aliens with serious felony convictions rather than ferreting out other types of illegal aliens.

The long knives were out early for Secure Communities, as exposed by Chris Crane, President, National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council 118, of the American Federation of Govermnent Employees in testimony to Congress, who was the sole representative with any knowledge of ICE and legacy INS policy, proceedure, and practice in the identification, arrest, and removal of aliens.

A Homeland Security Advisory Committee on the ICE Secure Communities Program was formed with each member selected by ICE Director John Morton. Approximately 50% of the committee's members appear to be immigrant's advocates and/or attorneys representing immigrants at some level. In comparison, not one member of the committee is a public advocate for reforms through stronger immigration enforcement. Some of the other members, while not identified as advocates themselves, do not oppose the majority ofthe positions advanced by advocates on the committee, creating a committee with little diversity on significant issues. I amthe only member of the committee who is an immigration agent and has a technical understanding ofthe ICE programs under review; I am accompanied by a union representative who is an ICE attorney by profession. For the most part, our combined concerns are not heard within the committee...

While I have a deep respect for the committee's members, it appears that the process of selecting members by ICE and DHS has led to a lack of appropriate balance of viewpoints and knowledge of ICE operations also needed on the committee. It is my opinion, that the [mdings or recommendations made by the Homeland Security Committee on Secure Communities, of which I am a member, should not be considered for the purpose of modifYing any ICE law enforcement policy, practice or procedure. It is my opinion that immediate oversight ofthis committee is required to provide balance and integrity to the process.

The warning signs were evident, as exposed here by your bureaucratic Cassandra; ignored and prophetic, as the report has been written and Secure Communities is to be gelded.

New York Times September 15, 2011

A task force advising an Obama administration deportation program has sharply criticized immigration officials for creating “much confusion” with the public about its purposes, and found that the program had an “unintended negative impact” on public safety in local communities.

In a report on the program, known as Secure Communities, the task force said that immigration officials had eroded public trust with conflicting statements about what immigrants were being singled out for deportation and whether states and cities were required to participate. The New York Times obtained a copy of the task force’s report, which was completed on Wednesday.

In the most significant of its recommendations, the task force said that fingerprint identifications through the program should no longer lead federal agents to detain immigrants arrested by local police for minor traffic violations. Secure Communities has been presented by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency operating it, as aimed at deporting “the worst of the worst” illegal immigrants, those convicted of serious criminal and immigration offenses.

The task force, which includes top law enforcement officers from four major cities, urged immigration officials to start over and “reintroduce” the program in many places where local opposition had swelled. Obama administration officials have described Secure Communities as central to their efforts at curbing illegal immigration by deporting as many as 400,000 foreigners a year.

John Morton, director of the immigration agency, known as ICE, named the task force in June in an effort to channel and address rising resistance from state officials, local police chiefs and immigrant organizations. But in its final hours, the group produced new dissension. Five of its 19 members resigned on Wednesday rather than endorse the report’s final findings.

In a letter on Wednesday, representatives of three unions, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and two unions of the immigration agency’s officers and employers, said the final report “demonstrates a clear absence of our voice.” They did not specify the issues on which they disagreed.

Arturo Venegas, [We know where his loyalties lie.] the former police chief of Sacramento and director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, a police organization pressing for a federal overhaul of immigration law, said in a resignation letter that the program was “deeply flawed” and was “undermining public safety.” He said the task force recommendations did not go far enough to ensure that immigrants detained for minor local offenses would not be deported, and he felt the program should be suspended until it could be fixed.

Brittney Nystrom of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group, also resigned.

The 33-page report shows that divisions persisted among the remaining members, with some calling for the program’s suspension and some, particularly law enforcement officers, supporting it over all.

Under Secure Communities, fingerprints collected from anyone arrested by local or state police are checked against F.B.I. criminal databases — a routine police procedure — and also through Department of Homeland Security databases, which record immigration violations.

After initiating the program in 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has extended it across about half of the country, in many cases amid local outcry. But this year three governors and a growing number of cities expressed a reluctance to join.

According to the report, there was a “strong consensus view” on the task force that it was appropriate for Secure Communities to focus on deporting “serious criminal offenders.” But in four public hearings, the task force learned of many cases of immigrants stopped by police for minor traffic offenses — or in some cases for no offense at all — who were swept into deportation after being flagged by a Secure Communities check.

As a result, immigrant communities perceived that local police were enforcing federal immigration laws, leaving a “harmful impact” on trust that discouraged communities from reporting crimes.

“To the extent that Secure Communities may damage community policing, the result can be greater levels of crime,” the report found. “Mixing individuals who have no criminal convictions or only low-level convictions with serious offenders is having the unintended consequence of undercutting the credibility of the entire program.”

The task force chastised the immigration agency for making confusing statements about the legal authorities underpinning the program, which officials now say require them to extend it nationwide by 2013.

The task force said immigration authorities should exercise far broader prosecutorial discretion to focus deportations on convicted criminals and steer away from immigrants with only civil violations. That kind of discretion is routine in police work, the group said, and “does not amount to administrative amnesty,” as some Republicans critics of the Obama administration have argued.

Of course, ICE did mislead both the public and local law enforcement by claiming the program was voluntary, but it also misled agencies with the belief that ICE would be arresting the illegal aliens in question, but more often than not, ICE would not pick up the illegals reported by Secure Communities or directly to their Law Enforcement Support Center.

But under the guise of damage to "community policing," as if Demoncrats ever cared about arresting criminals other than heterosexual white males, Secure Communities will be ended as we know it. No more arrests through Secure Communities of the average illegal alien; DREAMsters, nursing mothers, slave laborers at Chipotle's, etc. Only ax murders and Mullah Omar will be taken into custody by ICE. Despite the claims of Mexican police chiefs, crime will increase as gangbangers are relieved of the pressure of ICE enforcement. Enforcement that even ICE falls down on quite regularly. Quite often to the benefit of criminals like Edwin Ramos, who, according to ICE, was not "the worst of the worst." But he certainly grew into that moniker.

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