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Secure Communities: A Resource Page


Published On: Tue, Nov 23, 2010

ICE’S Enforcement Priorities and the Factors that Undermine Them

As part of its strategy to gain support for comprehensive immigration reform, the administration has continually touted its enforcement accomplishments.  In fact, over the last two years, the Obama administration has committed itself to a full-court press to demonstrate how committed the administration is to removing criminals and others who remain in the country without proper documentation.  They have continued to use the enforcement programs of the previous administration, including partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and deport immigrants.  However, in doing so, they have lost the ability to fully control their own enforcement priorities and enforcement outcomes, and the results have demonstrated that the state and local partners are not necessarily committed to the same priorities.

At an October 6, 2010, press conference, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had removed more than 392,000 individuals in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, and presented other “record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration.”  In addition to record-breaking overall numbers, Napolitano also announced the “unprecedented numbers of convicted criminal alien removals” in FY 2010.  Of the 392,000 removals in FY 2010, more than 195,000 were classified as “convicted criminal aliens,” which was 81,000 more criminal removals than in FY 2008.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Nov 09, 2010 | Download File

Explaining the Recent Decline in Unauthorized Migration

Immigration Enforcement in a Time of Recession

Recent estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center indicate that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has declined by roughly one million since 2007—bringing the total size of the unauthorized population to approximately 11.1 million.  Coming after the release of similar estimates by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in January, these figures have provoked considerable speculation as to how much of the decline is attributable to the current recession, and how much is the result of heightened immigration enforcement.  DHS, for instance, was quick to take credit for the drop, citing the money and manpower that have been poured into immigration enforcement by the Obama administration.  However, immigration researchers were just as quick to point out that unauthorized immigration has always responded to the state of the U.S. economy, and that the downward trend captured by both Pew and DHS matches up closely with the beginning of the recession in December 2007Read more...

Published On: Thu, Sep 09, 2010 | Download File

Enforcing Arizona's SB 1070: A State of Confusion

By Jeffrey Kaye

Arizona and the federal government await a decision from a Phoenix district judge on whether enforcement of SB 1070 will move forward on July 29th, or whether all or some parts of the law will be enjoined. Meanwhile, local law enforcement is struggling to interpret SB 1070 and provide training to officers, which could be further complicated if the judge allows only some parts of the law to go forward.

In this new report released today by the Immigration Policy Center, journalist Jeffrey Kaye reveals that "instead of 'statewide and uniform practices' as directed by the governor, Arizona police agencies have developed a patchwork of guidelines based on varying interpretations of the law."

Kaye's reporting includes interviews with police officials, who cite concerns with implementing the new law, and a review of training materials that suggest the implementation of SB 1070 will differ from one jurisdiction to another, and even within police agencies, and "will be burdensome, costly, and distort priorities."

Published On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 | Download File

Arizona's Anti-Immigration Law is also Anti-Faith

By Jenny Hwang

While visiting Phoenix, AZ in late January with a group of evangelical leaders who were in the border region to learn more about immigration, I met an immigrant family struggling to survive in a difficult economy. The father was employed as a mechanic but recently lost his job and lived in constant fear of being separated from his two young children who are U.S. citizens. This man considered moving his family back to Mexico because life was so hard in Phoenix, but was concerned about his two young children who would go back to a country they never knew. They were generous in feeding a group of American visitors delicious homemade Mexican food, as their children ran around the yard, yelling at each other in a mix of Spanish and English. During the same visit, my colleague met an undocumented immigrant woman named Maria whose son was killed by a drunk driver. She cannot press charges, however, because of her undocumented status.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jun 17, 2010 | Download File

Throwing Good Money After Bad: Immigration Enforcement

Immigration Enforcement without Immigration Reform Doesn’t Work

This week, the Senate will consider amendments to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that would add thousands of additional personnel along the border (including the National Guard), as well as provide millions of dollars for detention beds, technology, and resources.  Yesterday, bowing to pressure, President Obama announced that he would send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border and request $500 million for additional resources.  All of this attention on resources for the border ignores the fact that border enforcement alone is not going to resolve the underlying problems with our broken immigration system.


Published On: Wed, May 26, 2010 | Download File

Arizona is Not the First State to Take Immigration Matters into their Own Hands

UPDATED 05/26/10 - Arizona’s controversial new immigration law (SB 1070) is the latest in a long line of efforts to regulate immigration at the state level. While the Grand Canyon State’s foray into immigration law is one of the most extreme and punitive, other states have also attempted to enforce federal law through state-specific measures and sanctions. Oklahoma and Georgia have passed measures, with mixed constitutional results, aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration through state enforcement. Legislators in 45 states introduced 1,180 bills and resolutions[i] in the first quarter of 2010 alone, compared to 570 in all of 2006. Not all state legislation relating to immigration is punitive—much of it falls within traditional state jurisdiction, such as legislation that attempts to improve high school graduation rates among immigrants or funds. The leap into federal enforcement, however, represents a disturbing trend fueled by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. 


Published On: Thu, May 06, 2010 | Download File

Arizona’s Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime: Studies Show Decrease in Arizona Crime Rates

Updated 06/22/10

Supporters of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law claim that it is, in part, a crime-fighting measure.  For instance, the bill’s author, Republican State Senator Russell Pearce of Mesa, confidently predicts that the law—which requires police to investigate the immigration status of anyone who appears to be unauthorized—will result in “less crime” and “safer neighborhoods.”  However, Sen. Pearce overlooks two salient points: crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century’s worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born.  While much has been made about kidnappings in Arizona, law-enforcement officials indicate that most of these involve drug smugglers and human smugglers, as well as smuggled immigrants themselves—not the general population of the state.  Combating crime related to human smuggling requires more trust between immigrants and the police, not less.  Yet the undermining of trust between police and the community is precisely what Arizona’s new law accomplishes.  In the final analysis, immigration policy is not an effective means of addressing crime because the vast majority of immigrants are not criminals.


Published On: Wed, Apr 28, 2010 | Download File

The Ones They Leave Behind: Deportation of Lawful Permanent Residents Harm U.S. Citizen Children

Many people believe that only illegal immigrants are deported.  However, thousands of long-term legal immigrants are deported each year.  While some are deported for committing serious crimes, many more are deported for committing minor, nonviolent crimes, and judges have no discretion to allow them to stay in the U.S.—even if they have U.S. citizen children.


Published On: Mon, Apr 26, 2010 | Download File

The Rise and Fall of the Secure Border Initiative’s High-Tech Solution to Unauthorized Immigration

The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, is a cautionary tale of the dangers inherent in seeking a technological quick fix to the problem of unauthorized immigration.  SBI calls not only for fencing the U.S.-Mexico border in the literal sense, but constructing a “virtual fence” as well.  Since physical fencing can be climbed over, broken through, or dug under, it is complemented in SBI by a system of cameras and sensors—known as “SBInet”—that will, in theory, alert the Border Patrol whenever an unauthorized border crossing occurs. 


Published On: Thu, Apr 15, 2010 | Download File