Groups Demand FBI Address Concerns from Governors and Other High Level State and Local Officials that Program Undermines Public Safety
March 8, 2012 - Today, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and over 80 other civil and immigrant rights organizations sent a letter to the FBI demanding that it end its facilitation of ICE’s Secure Communities deportation program (S-Comm).
The letter charges that S-Comm threatens public safety, encourages racial profiling and undermines community policing by turning local police departments into gateways to deportation. Under S-Comm, the FBI takes all fingerprints submitted by local police for criminal background checks and automatically forwards the prints to federal immigration officials, regardless of whether individual has been convicted of a crime or of the severity of the charge.
Last summer, the governors of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts requested that S-Comm be delayed or deactivated in their states. The FBI, as the agency that manages the federal criminal fingerprint database, has the ability to grant the Governors’ request, but thus far has not provided an official response.
Today’s letter calls upon the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board to recommend that the FBI not forward fingerprints to S-Comm without the consent of local and state officials. The Committee will consider requests from the public at its biannual meeting this summer.
Jessica Karp, Staff Attorney for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said, “The FBI represents itself as a partner to state and local agencies. True partnership requires that the FBI address the serious concerns raised by state and local officials who have been forced to participate in ICE’s Secure Communities deportation program without their consent and despite serious risks to public safety.”
Sunita Patel, Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “the FBI has deliberately veiled its involvement in Secure Communities to avoid public scrutiny. Now we ask that the agency to be held accountable by its stakeholders and the numerous communities around the country that simply ask for this law enforcement program—the cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement efforts—to be voluntary.”
Sonia Lin, Clinical Teaching Fellow at the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic, said, “The DOJ's recent findings of discriminatory policing in places like Maricopa AZ and East Haven CT make it even more important for the FBI to limit its involvement in S-Comm.”
The proposal that the groups are submitting for the FBI advisory panel’s consideration is here:
For more information:
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