Another lawsuit about state police enforcement of federal immigration law

October 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Immigrant rights activists have sued the federal government in NY federal court seeking documents from ICE on whether local law enforcement can refuse to take part in a controversial immigration enforcement program available in Florida. Booking centers in Florida’s 67 counties now are linked to the program, Secure Communities, under which suspects’ fingerprints are run through Homeland Security databases to determine whether he or she has violated immigration laws in case the suspect is not a U.S. citizen. ICE and several local law enforcement agencies consider Secure Communities an invaluable tool in ferreting out dangerous foreign criminals. But immigrant rights activists argue that non-criminal undocumented immigrants also are snared in the program and end up being deported. Some communities in the country have expressed an unwillingness to participate in the program. In Florida, no law enforcement agency has expressed objection to Secure Communities or discussed the possibility of withdrawing from the program. Immigrant rights activists said they sued because it is unclear whether communities can opt not to take part in the program or withdraw once they have agreed to participate. The case was filed by the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law. ICE officials would not say whether local law enforcement agencies can withdraw from the program. But they noted that if an agency doesn’t want to join the program, it must advise ICE and state officials. “Secure Communities does not require state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law,” said ICE spokesperson Brian Hale. “If a jurisdiction does not wish to activate on its scheduled date in the Secure Communities deployment plan, it must formally notify both its state identification bureau and ICE.” Earlier in the month, DHS Secretary Napolitano credited Secure Communities for the record number of foreign nationals deported in the 12-month period that ended 9/30. ICE removed from the country more than 392,000 undocumented immigrants — half of them convicted criminals. (miamiherald)

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