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Secure Communities Letter to POTUS

Secure Communities Letter to POTUS

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Published by Elizabeth Benjamin

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Published by: Elizabeth Benjamin on Aug 16, 2011
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08/16/2011

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ALBANY,
NEWYORK12247
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NEWYORK
STATE
SENATE
SENATOR
GUSTAVORIVERA
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LEGISLATIVEOFFICEBUllOING
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TheHonorableBarackH.ObamaPresidentoftheUnitedStatesofAmerica
TheWhiteHouse
1600
PennsylvaniaAvenue
NW
Washington,DC20500cc:JanetNapolitano.SecretaryoftheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity;JohnMorton.DirectorforImmigrationandCustomsEnforcementDearMr.President,WearewritingtoexpressdeepconcernovertheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity's(OHS)announcementlast
week
thatit
"determinedthatamemorandumofagreement(MOA)isnotrequiredtoactivateoroperateSecureCommunitiesforanyjurisdiction"and
that
it
wouldproceedwithSecureCommunitieswithoutthepriorauthorizationofstateandlocaljurisdictions.Thisannouncementfollowsthedecisionsofthreegovernorstorejecttheprogram,includingGovernorAndrewCuomoofNewYork,citingconcernsthatDHSofficialsmisrepresentedthevoluntarynatureoftheprogram,itsnegativeimpactoncommunitypolicing.andthecivilandhumanrightsviolationsresultingundertheprogram.SecureCommunitieshascontributedtothedeportationofmore
than
onemillionimmigrantsunderyouradministration,leadingtofearandisolationinimmigrantcommunities.InchoosingtorejectSecureCorrununities,GovernorCuomoandhiscounterpartsinIllinoisandMassachusettshavetakenastandagainstaprogramthaiundenninescommunitysafetyandsquandersresourcesonbreakingupfamiliesandstokingfearinimmigrantconununities.DespiteclaimsbyDHSthatSecureCommunitieswasdesignedtopromotepublicsafety,byitsverynature,theprogramfailstopromotepublicsafetybecausethemomentlocalpoliceengageinimmigrationenforcementtheylosethetrustofthecommunitiestheyserve.
 
Inthepastseveralweeks,seriousquestionshave
been
raisedabouthowaprogramsofundamentally
flawed
in
itsdesign
couldever
be
repaired.Thegovernors
of
Illinois,NewYork,
and
Massachusetts
haverejectedSecureCommunities;
the
DepartmentofHomeland
Security
OfficeofInspectorGeneral,respondingto
concerns
byCongressthatICE
misled
state
officialsto
believethat
participation
inSecure
Communities
wasvoluntarylaunchedareviewof
the
program;afederal
judge
inaFOIA
litigation
rejectedICE'seffortstowithholddocumentsthatwouldrevealinfonnationaboutSecureCommunities,concludingthatU[tJhereisampleevidencethatICEandDRShavegoneoutoftbeirwaytomisleadthe
public
aboutSecureCommunities;"theCongressional
Hispanic
Caucuscanedforamoratoriumontheprogramnotingitendangers
the
public,particularlycommunitiesofcolor;
and
theCongressionalProgressiveCaucusurgedyouto
halt
therapidroll-outofthe
program.
In
responseto
growing
oppositionto
Secure
Communities,DHShas
convened
ataskforcecomprisedoflawenforcementofficials,ICEagents,andadvocates.Thistaskforcewas
established
without
publicinputandmembersofimmigrant
conununities
havenotbeenasked
to
jointhecommittee.Thetask
force's
soleresponsibilityistomakerecommendationsconcerning
how
SecureCommunitiesshould
operatein
cases
involving
immigrants
charged
with
traffic
offenses,which
has
promptedwidespread
criticismfrommorethan200lawenforcementofficialsand
civil
rightsgroups
denouncing
thetaskforceaswhollyinsufficienttoaddress
the
far-reachingproblems
with
the
program.
Then.onFriday,
August
5,2011,rather
than
meaningfullyrespondingtothelegitimateconcernsraisedbygovernmentofficials,
18
W
enforcementagents,andcivil
rights
groups,
DHS
unilaterallycanceled
the
MOAs
with42
states
acrossthecountry,denyingstatesand
localities
oftheirrightsto
opt-out
ofSecureCommunitiesunder
the
MOAs.A
decision
made
byDHSwithoutconswting
state
and
localstakeholders-
amovedirectlyat
odds
with
your
stated
conunitment
to
transparency
andaccountabilityingovernment,Weurgeyouto
consider
SecureConununities'devastatingimpacton
local
communities
andthedanger
itposesto
community
policing
andpublicsafety,andend
this
failed
program.
Westronglybelieve
that
tenninatingSecureCommunitiesisanecessaryfirststep
Co
begin
to
repairourunjustimmigrationsystem
and
ensuretheprotectionofcivilandhumanrights
of
allimmigrants.
Sincerely.
GustavoRivera
NYS
Senate
District
33
ScottStringerManhattan
BoroughPresidentRubenDiazJr.BronxBoroughPresident
.,
..
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-------------.-------
 
John
C,
Liu
NYCComptroller
Bill
deBlasioNYCPublicAdvocateDiane
J.
SavinoNYSSenateDistrict23
Liz
KruegerNYSSenateDistrict26ChristineC.QuinnSpeakerNYCCouncilAdrianoEspaillat
NYSSenate
District
31
JoseSerrano
NYS
SenateDistrict
28
JosePeralta
NYS
SenateDistrict13

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