As many of you are aware, the never-ending confusion surrounding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s program Secure Communities continues as two recent reports were released, and ICE plans to extend the program nationwide by next year. Just this week, Montana and Washington implemented the controversial program, bringing the total to 34 states. Through Secure Communities, all fingerprints collected by local police are checked against ICE databases, supposedly meant to locate and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal histories. Unfortunately, the program has sparked widespread fear in immigrant communities, and has proven time and time again that regardless of criminal history, immigrants are being deported for minor violations. In addition, several reports have shown that Secure Communities discourages women who are victims of domestic violence to call the police for fear of deportation. When police can act as immigration agents, who can we trust to protect us?
Met with powerful organizing, lawsuits, and media attention, ICE has revoked the program in three states and several cities, including NY. This proved that states could opt-out and the question remains if this is this possible again. ICE wants to “fix” glitches in the system such as mass deportations of immigrants with no criminal backgrounds or widespread abuse in detention centers, while immigrant and activist communities have called on ICE to “End It, Not Mend It.”
UHAB organizers stand with immigrant communities in the call to end Secure Communities now! As tenant organizers, we work to build power and confidence in buildings to stand up for their rights and improve their communities. Racist programs like “Stop and Frisk,” “Operation Clean Halls” and “Secure Communities” instill fear in, and create tensions between communities and the police. Only through real policy change and engaging communities honestly can our country create safe places to live for everyone living here.
We need to work together to make sure this program does not spread nationwide! Check out the End It, Don’t Mend It campaign here where you can sign petitions and stay updated on the campaign.