“… ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and DHS [Department of Homeland Security] have gone out of their way to mislead the public about Secure Communities. In particular, these agencies have failed to acknowledge a shift in policy when it is patently obvious -– from public documents and statements –- that there has been one.”The documents show government officials doing back flips to avoid answering a simple question: is S-Comm participation mandatory for local governments? In one email released under the judge’s order, an S-Comm employee criticized the public message around Secure Communities:
“We never address whether or not it is mandatory –- the answer is written to sound like it is but doesn’t state it… It’s very convoluted –- or is that the point?”Whether the program is mandatory or not became a critical question when more and more local governments began to opt out of the program.
Now, of course, the federal government has finally come clean: it doesn't actually care that S-Comm undermines the public's trust in local law enforcement, or that local governments across the country reject S-Comm. The federal government negotiated agreements with governors across the country to authorize states’ participation in S-Comm, which would lead one to believe that states had a choice whether to participate.
The Obama administration has now voided those agreements, as it prepares to implement S-Comm in every city, county, and state in the nation by 2013.
Unless we take action. Tell the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to oppose S-Comm by only referring to immigration authorities those who pose a threat to our communities.
Hector Villagra is the Executive Director of the ACLU/SC.