Secure Communities gear up is the mother of all flawed immigration policies
ICE deportation program shows cold disregard of human costs
Sunday, May 13, 2012, 4:00 AM

Immigrants demonstrate against Secure Communities program during a rally last summer. The controversial program is expected to be activated across New York State on Tuesday.

The announcement came just in time for Mother’s Day: Secure Communities, the arbitrary and despised Department of Homeland Security program that requires states to identify immigrants for deportation, is expected to be activated across New York State, including in New York City, on Tuesday.

In a brave gesture Gov. Cuomo, nearly a year ago, unsuccessfully tried to remove the state from the deportation program that is also strongly opposed by law enforcement officials and domestic violence groups across the country.

These groups correctly believe Secure Communities undermines public safety by compromising the trust between police and the communities they serve, in addition to encouraging racial profiling, separating families and even deports U.S. citizens.

Despite the criticism, the calls for reform or for ending it, and Cuomo’s concern, the Obama administration has continued imposing the fundamentally flawed program in blatant disregard of the human cost and dire consequences.

“The Department of Homeland Security should respect the decision made by Gov. Cuomo to keep Secure Communities out of our state, and to protect the rights of all New Yorkers,” said Udi Ofer, advocacy director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“It has been clear from its inception that this program undermines our safety and infringes on our civil rights,” said Chung-Wha Hong, the New York Immigration Coalition executive director. “And evidence of its fundamental flaws has only continued to mount.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already deported more than one million immigrants on President Obama’s watch. And according to the American Civil Liberties Union, among those deported were 46,486 parents of U.S. citizen children expelled in the first half of 2011. This resulted in at least 5,100 of these children being placed in foster care. By comparison, the ACLU says, in the entire decade between 1998 and 2007, about 100,000 such parents were deported.

Of course, if Obama had wanted things would be different. He has the executive authority to change the situation. But despite the President’s words to the contrary, Secure Communities and massive deportations clearly are his immigration policy.

“We now know that Latinos are disproportionately arrested by ICE through Secure Communities, the program has an adverse impact on community policing, and states and localities around the country do not want it in their communities,” Hong added. “And yet the criticism goes unheeded by the administration. Simply put, the President and Secretary (Janet) Napolitano must stop the rapid rollout of this fatally flawed program.”

It is difficult to comprehend why, despite all the talk by Obama about focusing ICE’s efforts on dangerous criminals, the agency continues its absurd policy of pursuing low-level offenders, including immigrants convicted of minor traffic offenses.

Tomorrow at 11 a.m., Hong will be joining City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito, Daniel Dromm and Ydanis Rodríguez as well as Javier Valdes, co-director of Make the Road New York, on the steps of City Hall to denounce the implementation of Secure Communities.

A rally outside of 26 Federal Plaza is also planned from noon to 2 p.m.

“We remain deeply troubled by the administration’s rapid roll-out of a program that has been at the center of so much controversy,” Hong said.

Read more: Secure Communities gear up is the mother of all*flawed immigration policies* - NY Daily News