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Controversial Secure Communities Program Scrutinized

Aired 11/30/11 on KPBS News.

Amid growing criticism and confusion over the Secure Communities program, members of Congress question a top federal immigration official about it during a committee hearing.

The entrance to the San Diego County jail, where undocumented immigrants who are arrested could end up being turned over to ICE for deportation.
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Above: The entrance to the San Diego County jail, where undocumented immigrants who are arrested could end up being turned over to ICE for deportation.

Secure Communities started as a pilot enforcement program in a handful of counties in 2008.

Today, most of the country is signed onto it, despite growing opposition and confusion over whether local authorities should be able to opt out.

Secure Communities shares fingerprint information from local jails with the FBI and federal immigration agencies with the intent of identifying undocumented immigrants. A record 397,000 undocumented immigrants were deported in 2011, thanks in part to Secure Communities.

At Wednesday's hearing before a House of Representatives committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-California, said the program was not efficient and prone to make mistakes, especially about immigration status.

Addressing Gary Mead, the executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Waters asked why 93 percent of all people deported with the help of Secure Communities have been Latinos.

"It is not as a result of racial profiling or country of origin," Mead said. "We have enforcement programs that look for those persons that were here unlawfully and we apply the law equally to them."

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers accused ICE of a lack of transparency when it comes to deportations and other immigration enforcement methods.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | November 30, 2011 at 4:09 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

In the news--the Rasmussen poll that indicates that majority of Americans opposes birthright citizenship. INumbersUSA has pressed to abolish birthright citizenship since the founding of the pro-sovereignty organization 15 years ago. They have shown in the strong support Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011, which would stop this misinterpreted practice.

So what does Gingrich, Perry, Romney, Cain, Santorum, Paul, Bachmann, Huntsman, Johnson have to say about the ‘foothold’ instant citizen baby act? Then what is Eric Holders plan to keep intimidating the states. First the vanguard driven by Arizona, followed closely by Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana with suing in such arrogant Liberal oriented courts as the Ninth Circuit in the Leftist progressive stronghold of San Francisco.

The bill is a concrete proposal and has a lot of support in the U.S. House, with 80 co-sponsors. It is one of the "five great immigration solutions" many politicians are standing for this year. THE GENUINE 2006 SECURE FENCE ACT; double 15 foot high fence, for fast track lanes in between for the US Border Patrol to use. However, they need a lot more momentum to win. Rep. King's bill, H.R. 140, that would require Congress to elucidate the meaning of the 14th Amendment and thereby ending the practice of automatically granting U.S. citizenship to all U.S.-born children of illegal aliens. We don't need a Constitutional amendment. Without an amendment the US taxpayers are the recipients of the law, which allows an estimated 340.000 babies to become instant citizens annually adding to the growing deficit, to support these children and the Mother.

Now there's more proof that Americans want to abolish automatic citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. .A new Rasmussen poll shows that 65% of likely U.S. voters oppose birthright citizenship. That means two-thirds of all voters want to end this absurd practice, as most industrialized democracies have already done. Although the tourist from other countries comes to have their babies in clinics this is a story in itself, is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands cross the border, while others come through air terminals on a visitor’s visa, with full intentions to stay and allow taxpayers to cover their baby care from their time in hospital, to the child’s life as a so-called citizen under the wrongly interpreted law. While American mothers are hunted down by credit collectors for the 6-$ 8.000 dollar care. The impoverished foreign nationals easily slip away from debt accountability, by giving force information and either no personal ID or procured documents, that the emergency hospital has no choice but to accept, or by federal laws must treat the patient.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | November 30, 2011 at 4:10 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Just because an illegal alien mother gives birth in the U.S. doesn't mean the baby should be a U.S. citizen. Don't you agree? In fact, this form of birthright citizenship is destructive to the rule of law. American citizenship is one of the most precious and desired privileges on earth. People wait in line for decades to receive a coveted U.S. green card, if they can get one at all. But we've corrupted the whole process by handing out citizenship and residency to people who do not deserve it.

Rep. King's Bill will solve the problem, but we can't push it through without more help from Patriotic Americans. Why is this sovereign nation being forced to not only support any individual or family group who slips across the border, but must subsidize the whole family?

As to birthright citizenship policy, you cannot blame the kids, the so-called "anchor babies." Naturally they have no say in the matter of where they are born. Nonetheless, their unearned U.S. citizenship has terrible consequences for this country. Billions of dollars are swallowed up, that should be going US children for their education, health care.

Here's what's so clearly wrong with birthright citizenship Law.

 Rewards lawbreaking. If people break into this nation only long enough to give birth, they are rewarded with a U.S. citizen child and the cost is substantial and adds to even more American poverty.

 Increases chain migration. There are about 340,000 ‘foothold babies’ born here each year. Their families often use them to bring more relatives into the country, starting new family "chains." Immigration continues to skyrocket as a result. And the billions of dollars grow?

 Adds to government social costs. Illegal aliens aren't eligible to welfare benefits, open-borders, corporate welfare and special interests advocates often point out. That's generally true (with the significant exception of emergency room healthcare). Their U.S. citizen children are entitled, however, for a galaxy of social benefits. We taxpayers are stuck with the tab for Medicaid health benefits, free education, food stamps, etc. Each year the dollar figure rises and taken from your income, state pensions, even Medicare and retirement benefits. The cost doesn’t end, not does the barrage of people slinking through the border or lying to the agent at airport inspection entry..Please—how can a traveler from Europe, South America tell if the women are carrying a fetus? Immigration doesn’t even have a tracking system like other sensible countries.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | November 30, 2011 at 4:11 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

 Misuses the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment, on which birthright citizenship is based, states that people born in the U.S. who is also "subject to the jurisdiction" of this country are automatically citizens. Yet children born of parents illegally residing in the U.S. generally have automatic citizenship, voting privileges, and a passport from their home countries. The 14th amendment law was meant for slaves, not foreign females smuggling babies or fetuses into the United States. Why should they also receive automatic citizenship from a country where their mother lives illegally? Absurd! Despicable to the taxpayer upon people who wait for years for an entry visa.

The biggest goal for in the upcoming weeks remains bringing co-sponsors on E-Verify to 100 of which we need 35 co- sponsors and getting this bill passed in the House of Representatives. But we continue to press for other long-time goals as well, such as abolishing birthright citizenship. Yet we can't do any of this without your help.

It is this point in time you should contact the Ways and Means Committee responsible for bringing ‘The Legal Workforce Act’, bill H.R.2885 to the House floor in Congress. Only the American voter or legal resident has a say in this urgent matter, which will produce large numbers of jobs STOLEN by the 8.2 illegal workers as estimated to self-deport. The number to call for the Washington political phones is 202-224-3121. The legislators need to listen to the People, instead of misleading us anymore. If you have further questions read about the widespread corruption in the federal and state governments at Judicial Watch. Be attentive that the TEA PARTY does not agree with any kind of Amnesty, Dream Acts or Sanctuary cities. Controversial as it is, everybody who want a green card who overstayed their visa, or just slipped through the border, must eventually leave the country to be reevaluated for legal entry. Bringing to America is a different situation altogether and should be promoted expeditiously. The beacon should be lit for the highest skilled imaginable, but we must remain sensible and not be hoodwinked by mediocre workers, who could easily end up on the taxpayers dime. Build the real fences along our lengthy border, and then we can talk about another ‘Bracero Project’ like during the World War 2 for agriculture.

Attn: Keep an eye on Democrats as they are intentionally pushing non-citizens to vote in all coming elections, that includes the 2011 presidential. They are also trying to change electoral laws, so you can register and immediately vote, using groups like the fraudulent canvassing of the ACORN group, that’s reappeared under another name. Additionally the Left is introducing legislation, so you don't even need a picture ID; this to me is as close to fraud as you can get.
I really appreciate ‘Facebook’ commenting system; it makes it simple and easy.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | December 1, 2011 at 9:35 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Wanting tougher anti-immigration laws doesn't mean I'm against immigration. I'm for legal immigration where a steady flow of people are permitted to live in America and become citizens. I've seen what happens when we look the other way. Neighborhoods arre downgraded, overcrowded with vehicles, multi families living in single-dwelling homes, crime rises. This happens more often than not.

Immigration reform should not mean allowing people a free pass or amnesty, which is precisely what many want. Having said that, I don't think it's logical to deport a person who has lived in America for years, built a life, paid taxes, and works. That is often the case, too, where they create a well-meaningful life. As fellow human beings we have to be compassionate. Yes, they came to America illegally and that's against the law. But if any of us lived in Mexico, wouldn't we do same.

That being case too, I think the argument should be taken to the Mexican people and government and thrown back at them. They are responsible for the state of Mexico and they will never improve so long as they view the U.S. as a means of escape rather than hope.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 1, 2011 at 12:07 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

"Only in a police state is police work easy." -- Charlton Heston as "Det. Vargas" in TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 1, 2011 at 12:09 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Love how you rightwingers wrap yourselves in the Constitution, BRITTANICASSS, except when you come across a amendment that clashes with your reactionary ideology.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 1, 2011 at 12:11 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

The neo-Malthusian NUMBERS USA has been discredited by both liberal and consrvatives.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | December 1, 2011 at 2:24 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Missionaccomplished - you need to learn how to debate. People will pay you no mind so long as you fail to understand versus how to respond. People offering differences of opinion cannot be reached in the manner you try. But then, that's probably not your objective.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 1, 2011 at 7:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Since when is posting "debating"?

"People offering differences of opinion cannot be reached in the manner you try."

I'm sorry it may be over the heads of some.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | December 2, 2011 at 12:52 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Once you get past the fact that a guy with "Brittanicus" as his posto-nym so vehemently defends the U.S., you can recognize his valid points. However, he loses them once his paranoia becomes manifest. Anyone who thinks that illegal aliens can swing an election isn't familiar with our country's demographics or Electoral College. I think the Democrats are more concerned with independent voters in North Carolina and Ohio than anything else.

David65 is a reactionary who has a fetish for "taking it to the Mexican people" and speaking for a nation of people he knows so little about. (Save us the "I'm Mexican" and "have relatives who live down there" rhetoric.) Anyone who thinks that Mexicans have a grand strategy for emigration to the U.S. doesn't know much about the country. Mexico, like the U.S., is not North Korea or Cuba. It doesn't patrol its borders to ensure no one escapes. (Very few countries do.) Do yourself a favor and read some of George Grayson's and/or Jorge Castañeda's writings. They are experts on Mexico.

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