Recent news and opinion pieces address growing resistance to Secure Communities, a Department of Homeland Security initiative aiming to remove criminal immigrants from the U.S. A recent New York Times article explains:
“Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of anyone booked into jail are checked against the F.B.I.’s criminal databases — long a routine police practice — and forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security to be run through its databases, which record immigration violations. If an immigration check yields a match, the immigration agency decides whether to detain the foreigner for deportation.
As a result of Secure Communities, Mayor Thomas Menino said, word is out in Boston that patrol officers are working with federal agents to deport immigrants for offenses as minor as traffic violations. ‘What’s happening is, we’re losing the trust of the immigrant community in Boston,’ he said.”
An opinion in the L.A. Times argues that Secure Communities “has a chilling effect on immigrants’ willingness to report crimes or assist authorities. Police must now persuade immigrants that officers are interested only in preventing crimes, not deporting them.”
A New York Times editorial sheds light on the frustration some local municipalities are expressing: “Infuriated police chiefs and other law-enforcement professionals say Secure Communities hurts community policing because it makes innocent immigrants fear the police and erodes the trust and cooperation of crime victims and witnesses.”