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DHS Inspector General Report Provides Further Proof ICE Cannot Reform Itself

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OIG Report on Secure Communities Deportation Program Heightens Controversy over Failed Program. Advocates Decry report as “window dressing,” and renew calls: “End SCOMM. Don’t Mend it.”

press@ccrjustice.org

April 6, 2012, Washington, DC - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General issued two reports on the much-maligned “Secure Communities” deportation program. The reports, which come after two years of mounting opposition to Secure Communities from state and local officials, congressional representatives, advocates, and faith groups, were quickly dismissed by advocates as inadequate to address the program’s failings.

Instead, the groups conclude that the reports are proof that ICE cannot reform itself and that there is no suitable solution for the program other than its termination.
 
“In an attempt to justify the program, the reports inadvertently admit that ICE has mutated S-Comm into an overreaching dragnet. Secure Communities was sold as a public safety program but has since proven the opposite. The OIG reports confirm that when it became clear that over 50% of deportations fell outside the program’s original scope, ICE changed its categories and is now trumping minor offenses as its new priority,” explains Sarahí Uribe of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. “These reports only strengthen calls for the program's complete termination.  DHS refuses to take responsibility for the program’s failues. DHS cannot continue to stick it's head in the sand while spreading the program’s dangerous consequences."  
 
Sunita Patel of the Center for Constitutional Rights says “The Inspector General reports are wholly insufficient. The reports ignore the enormous body of evidence that Secure Communities is a failure. Instead, the IG offers window dressing for a program that can’t be dressed up. The only suitable solution is to terminate Secure Communities and shift priorities to repair the harm it has caused.”
 
Sonia Lin of the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic adds, “The fact that DHS expects the public to accept this report as reform is an outrage. It does little to address the real-life impact of Secure Communities on immigrant communities. Not only does Secure Communities undermine community policing efforts in jurisdictions seeking to work with immigrant communities, it also facilitates racial profiling in jurisdictions such as Maricopa County to violate the rights of non-citizens and drive immigrants out.  After so much pain has been caused by Secure Communities, its victims deserve to see the program terminated.”
 
More than two years ago, CCR, NDLON, and the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic began still-on-going FOIA litigation to uncover the truth about the rapidly expanding deportation program.
 
Since that time, the program has been mired in controversy for deliberately misleading the public and for devastating trust in law enforcement due to its wide-reach that has been known to ensnare even victims of crimes. The program’s implementation created such a chilling effect on law enforcement relations that parents in the sexual abuse tragedy at Miramonte school in Los Angeles cited the Sheriff’s participation in Secure Communities as a primary reason they did not seek law enforcement help to protect their children.   
 
Last August, in an attempt to quell the growing criticism of the program, including the governors of Illinois, New York and Massachusetts who attempted to opt-out of Secure Communities, DHS established a taskforce whose members eventually resigned in response of recommendations similar to the IG report they found to be completely insufficient. 
Evidence chronicled in two national reports; Restoring Community published by a national coalition and Secure Communities by the Numbers published by the Warren Institute have led to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus calling for a moratorium program and a broader chorus calling for its termination.
 
Background:
Secure Communities By the Numbers – Warren Institute Report
The DHS Inspector General Report can be found here

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.