Secure Communities Program Requires Meaningful Oversight
April 06, 2012
Washington, D.C. — Today the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a pair of reports about the Secure Communities program. The first, “Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities,” addresses whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) clearly communicated to states and local jurisdictions the intent of Secure Communities and their expected participation. The second, “Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities,” addresses whether the program has been effective. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:
“Reports issued by the Inspector General today about ICE’s troubled Secure Communities program confirm suspicions about poor communication and weak transparency. But core concerns about the program were not addressed, much less resolved. Based on press accounts and testimony to the DHS Secure Communities Task Force, we know the program erodes public trust in law enforcement, lacks internal safeguards to prevent discrimination, and forces states and localities to participate no matter their reasons for opposition.
“Today’s reports show that contradiction has been the name of the game for Secure Communities. During its implementation, ICE provided conflicting information about participation. When states and localities began to opt out of the controversial program, they were informed that Secure Communities is mandatory. Among many other issues, intentionally or not, ICE did not clearly communicate the goals of Secure Communities, nor the agency’s expectations regarding participation.
“These findings underscore the crucial need for meaningful oversight and accountability in the Secure Communities program.
“Until all of these problems are addressed, the Secure Communities program deserves to be halted, not expanded.”