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  1. #1
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    CT - Malloy, others wary of illegal immigration crackdown

    Malloy, others wary of immigration crackdown Posted: 02/21/2012 2:28 AM

    After a two-year pilot in Fairfield County, a controversial federal program using local police data to deport allegedly dangerous illegal immigrants launches statewide Wednesday.

    Gradually phased in across the nation since 2008, the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities initiative relies upon a pre-existing relationship between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement.

    Police routinely share arrest information with the FBI for cross-checking purposes. But now the FBI will automatically give that local arrest data to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

    If the information raises red flags within ICE, that department has the option of requesting the arresting local or state authority to detain suspects otherwise eligible for release.

    Critics argue Secure Communities is, according to the government's own study, a flawed program that at minimum chills relations between local police and immigrant communities, and at worst unfairly targets any illegals.

    "You're turning police officers and other people into agents for immigration. Do you trust that they're only going to be going after the bad people?" Anthony Collins, an immigration attorney in Wethersfield, said Monday.

    A Department of Homeland Security task force in September -- the month Secure Communities was supposed to expand throughout Connecticut -- raised several concerns.

    To begin with, the report concluded the government had sown confusion among state and local law enforcement officials about their roles. For example, at one time those agencies were led by Homeland Security to believe they had to agree to participate and could modify the terms.

    Homeland Security has since insisted that is not the case, but task force members were divided, with some arguing it remains a matter of interpretation.

    The task force agreed that while subsequent immigration enforcement is ICE's responsibility, "to the community at large -- especially immigrant communities -- local law enforcement agencies cooperating with ICE ... may be viewed as immigration agents."

    "This can be especially true in some immigrant communities, where people may be unaware of any distinction between their local police and federal enforcement agents, and where some residents may have come from nations that have a history of undemocratic institutions, as well as police corruption and oppression," states the report.

    Complicating things further is the fact that, despite the federal government's contention that Secure Communities seeks to weed out criminals and national security risks, the task force found "many stories of deportations of persons who violated no law other than a civil immigration violation and who did not apparently fall into ICE's other categories of priorities for enforcement."

    According to the ICE website, the Fairfield County pilot operation began on June 29, 2010, and has deported 107 "convicted criminal aliens" as of Feb. 7.

    But according to the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, ICE'S own data on those Fairfield County deportations shows 71 percent either had no criminal backgrounds or had committed minor offenses.

    Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch's office in an email confirmed the city's police department "has already been working closely" with federal officials on Secure Communities and considers it "an additional tool that will enable us to take lawbreakers off the street."

    Finch, a Democrat, urged anyone with information about unjust treatment of immigrants to contact his office.

    Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling indicated ICE casually approached his department about two years ago.

    "(They) said they're going to be more aggressive in seeking out people that may be on their watch list but that didn't require us to do anything and we weren't participating in any program that changed the way we did business," Rilling recalled.

    Michael Lawlor, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's undersecretary for criminal justice, said Monday he knew little about what ICE has been up to in Fairfield County.

    Lawlor said he only learned late Friday ICE intended to implement Secure Communities statewide this week after delaying the September launch at Malloy's request.

    "If (ICE) is focusing on serious-type guys, that's one thing," Lawlor said. "If it's guys arrested for breach of peace or shoplifting or drunk driving, a lot of police chiefs are concerned people will stop cooperating for fear if their names get into the system they're taken into custody by immigration. Victims, witnesses. People stop cooperating, and everything shuts down."

    The Malloy administration Monday pledged an ongoing review of implementation and to handle ICE detention requests to the state on a case-by-case. But, Lawlor acknowledged, municipal police departments are on their own.

    And that, Lawlor said, is where things can get tricky, depending on local response.

    "New Haven has an explicit policy (that) police officers do not inquire about immigration status, period," Lawlor said.

    New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Police Chief Dean Esserman on Monday held a news conference to criticize Secure Communities' expansion in Connecticut.

    On the other hand, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton indicated it will likely be business as usual for his city. Danbury has been involved in both the Secure Communities pilot and entered into a separate partnership in September 2009 with ICE under the 287(g) program that resulted in an outcry from the immigrant community.

    Danbury Police Chief Al Baker said neither have had any impact on people's willingness to work with his department.

    He emphasized ICE under Secure Communities is only interested in certain illegals.

    "Just because you get a hit doesn't mean there will be a hold," he said. "The program is aimed towards violent offenders. Just because you get a traffic offense doesn't mean you're going to be deported."

    But Alex Meyerovich, an immigration attorney in Bridgeport, said documented and undocumented immigrants are already wary of contacting the police, for instance, during a domestic altercation. The uncertainty behind how law enforcement will act -- and the speed with which that information can get passed to ICE -- will cause immigrants to be even warier.

    "I'm being robbed, and next thing I'm arrested -- and I'm deported," he said.

    Source: Connecticut Post : Malloy, others wary of immigration crackdown
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  2. #2
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Join our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & to secure US borders by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kiara's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Rhode Island
    "But according to the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School, ICE'S own data on those Fairfield County deportations shows 71 percent either had no criminal backgrounds or had committed minor offenses."

    No criminal backgrounds? How about coming into a country illegally, either stealing an identity, using fraudulent documents or over staying a visa? How about people who pick and choose which laws to follow?

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