NYS Working Group Against Deportation
The New York State Working Group Against Deportation is a broad coalition of domestic violence, immigrant rights, family services, labor, faith-based, civil rights, and community-based organizations that aims to stop Secure Communities and other deportation programs.
Families for Freedom played an active role in this group to ask the NY State government to rescind the MOA and cease implementation of Secure Communities (S-Comm) as this program raises grave concerns for community safety, civil rights, due process and fiscal liability, among others.
We stand against S-COMM because under this program all law enforcement agencies in the state are required to automatically forward the fingerprints of every arrested person (including U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents or “green card holders”) to federal immigration databases. Based on unreliable and incomplete information, ICE then transfers people suspected of being deportable directly into the detention and deportation system, separating them from their families and communities. Locked up in detention centers in remote locations, immigrants have severely limited access to lawyers, medical care, family, witnesses, and evidence to defend against deportation.
We, along with more than 50 other organizations, strongly oppose S-Comm as we believe that the program is fundamentally flawed and will harm our communities. Our principal concerns are that S-Comm:
• Jeopardizes our safety: S-Comm destroys law enforcement relationships with their communities. When community members are afraid that interaction with local police
might lead to deportation, they are less likely to report crimes or cooperate as witnesses. This makes it harder for police to investigate crimes and to keep our communities safe.
• Offends values of liberty, due process and justice: S-Comm subverts the core promise of our legal system to afford equal protection under the law by forcing immigrants to be treated differently than U.S. Citizens in their criminal proceedings. Immigrants tagged for deportation are routinely denied bail, jailed for longer, and wrongfully disqualified from participating in alternative release programs. S-Comm also funnels people into an unjust immigration system where they are stripped of their right to a government-appointed lawyer and a “fair day in court."
• Encourages racial profiling: S-Comm gives the police incentives to make pretextual arrests based on race or ethnicity in order to jail people suspected of being undocumented and run their fingerprints in the hopes of turning them over to ICE for deportation. This Suspend S-Comm illegal pattern of targeting and profiling has already been well documented through studies of similar ICE-local enforcement programs.
• Imposes significant costs on our State and localities: S-Comm forces states and localities to absorb the costs of mass incarcerations, as ICE promises that the program will “dramatically increase” the number of people held for additional time on civil immigration detainers while providing no additional federal funding to do so.
• Exposes New York State and localities to significant liability: Because S-Comm does not afford sufficient protections or oversight, state and local officials, not ICE, face heavy liability for illegal detentions and deportations that occur. New York City recently paid $145,000 to settle one such violation and will not be reimbursed by the federal government.
What is Secure Communities and how does it impact our communities. Starting May 15th it is being implemented in NYC and has the potential to severely increase deportations. Infographic courtesy of Deportation Nation www.deportationnation.org Click here for an enlarged version.
The Guide to Defeating ICE Hold Requests is a manual for communities to understand how immigration enforcement works, and to engage with local law enforcement and policy-makers to pass laws and policies against hold requests. When someone is booked into a local jail, on any charges, ICE issues a hold request to that jail, asking to keep the person locked up for an extra 48 hours so that ICE can come get them and deport them. These hold requests are the functional tool that underlies Secure Communities, 287(g), and the Criminal Alien Program. If communities refuse to submit to ICE hold requests, then immigrants who are released from jail are able to go back home to their families, instead of being snatched away to immigration detention and deportation. The Guide provides information and advice for organizers and communities to understand the links between local law enforcement and ICE and to change those relationships.
In 2010 and 2011 Families for Freedom joined a broad coalition of domestic violence, immigrant rights, family services, labor, faith-based, civil rights, and community-based organizations to stop Secure Communities and other deportation programs. We were successfull in our campaign and got Governor Cuomo to reject the program. This Toolkit was part of our organizing to defeat the program and features information on ICE ACCESS and its destructive impacts on our communities. It also includes "Advocacy Points of Unity" and letters to politicians.
On this radio show Families for Freedom hosts Donald Anthonyson and Abraham Paulos talk about the destructive Secure Communities program that increases collaboration between ICE and local police.