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  Secure Communities - Civil Rights Abuse or Public Safety Measure?
June 13, 2010

Another controversial item on the June 15 City Council Agenda is J-1, ADOPT a resolution to urge Contra Costa County to opt out of the Secure Communities Agreement to protect the human rights of immigrant families - Mayor's Office (Mayor McLaughlin 620-6503/Vice Mayor Ritterman 620-6581).
Critics contend the  program will involve local jurisdictions in enforcement of immigration law and will result in the deportation of undocumented immigrants for just being arrested for minor crimes even if they are not convicted. Supporters respond that it is simply a tool to give law enforcement at all levels a means of removing dangerous criminals from the streets and that there are internal safeguards to prevent abuse. For more information about Secure Communities, click here. For success stories related to the program, click here.
ICE maintains that the program is not intended to violate civil rights. The Secure Communities website states: “Commitment to Integrity. ICE is committed to ensuring that the biometric identification capability, known as IDENT/IAFIS Interoperability, is used appropriately to identify and remove criminal aliens. ICE encourages reporting of any allegations of racial profiling, due process violations, or other violations of civil rights or civil liberties related to the use of IDENT/IAFIS Interoperability. All complaints should be filed with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), on the CRCL complaint intake Web site.”

Apparently, Contra Costa County has already joined the program, as have seventeen other California counties, including San Mateo, Alameda, Solano, Sonoma and San Francisco.  

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