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Summary and Analysis of Office of Inspector General Reports on Secure Communities

In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities and Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities. The reports were issued at the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in April 2011 due to concerns about the implementation of Secure Communities.

Following the release of the reports, Lofgren said she was “frankly disappointed” by the findings, which fail to address numerous concerns raised repeatedly by immigrant advocates, law-enforcement officials, immigration attorneys, advocates for victims of domestic violence, and others. A thorough analysis of the two reports confirms that they are an inadequate response to the numerous criticisms leveled at Secure Communities, directly contradict the findings of multiple reports, and sidestep the most pressing issues that have jeopardized the integrity of ICE’s efforts to prioritize criminals and exercise prosecutorial discretion for persons who are not priority candidates for removal.

Because the OIG reports effectively endorse Secure Communities, while mildly chastising DHS for a failure to communicate, they do little to increase the public’s confidence in the program. Moreover, they may serve as a shield against the broader criticisms leveled against the program in the report and recommendations of the Secure Communities Task Force, a group of experts convened by DHS to assess the program. The Task Force critique, in contrast to the OIG reports, offers a more probing assessment of the flaws in the existing Secure Communities program.

The following two reports analyze the limitations of the two OIG reports, offering a summary of the most relevant criticisms and contradictions that the reports fail to address. Putting these reports into context is critical, as Secure Communities remains a flawed and problematic program that continues to have full support within DHS leadership. DHS continues to predict its activation in all 3,000 local jurisdictions across the U.S. by 2013.

Read IPC's Analysis:

Report 1:  Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities (IPC Fact Check, May 2012)

Report 2:  Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities (IPC Fact Check, May 2012)

Published On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012