Aug 11 2011
Federal Government Rescinds Secure Communities Memorandums of Agreement
Last week, the federal government announced it would rescind its memorandums of agreement with 39 states that participate in the federal Secure Communities program. This decision does not end the program, the notice stated; instead, it clarifies that the program is a federal one and any agreement with states is not necessary or required.
“Secure Communities is based on federal law and federal information sharing,” said John Sandweg, counsel to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “As a result of those laws, an MOA was never necessary to operate the program. Unfortunately we created a lot of confusion.”
The Secure Communities program, which is managed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, compares fingerprints of people arrested by police officers against a federal database to see if those people are eligible to be deported to their home country. The program has been the cause of much controversy; immigration advocates state that it is too strict and will lead to the deportation of immigrants for minor crimes, or no crimes at all, as well as the criminals for whom the program was designed.