Friday, August 12, 2011
SAN DIEGO California is among several states and civil rights organizations threatening to sue the federal government over the legality of the Secure Communities program.
Secure Communities is a fingerprint data sharing program between the federal government and counties around the country. It targets criminals who are undocumented. But in the last year, it has also led to the deportation of 77,000 non-criminal immigrants.
Two months ago, ICE director John Morton announced some reforms to the program. Among them, ICE attorneys would be given more power than arresting officers in deciding whether an immigrant should be deported or not. Morton also said his agency would help train law enforcement around the country on civil liberties issues.
"We are going to continue with that information sharing," said Morton to a group of reporters back in June. "But we want to hear what state and local communities have to say about how that information sharing is implemented."
But soon after, ICE announced it would not need states' permission to go ahead with Secure Communities--in other words, counties and states would not be able to opt-out.
Currently, California Attorney General Kamala Harris is reviewing the program's impact on the state and on public safety.