In 2008, State Identification Bureaus entered into a Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These two associations share data between state and the federal governments in order to better track immigrant criminals.
For a time, it was thought that states could opt out of these agreements, or could quit using them if they wanted to stop participating in the program. However, in August 2011, ICE rescinded all signed MOAs and announced that no signed agreement was necessary for the data sharing to take place and that the data sharing program is in fact mandatory for all jurisdictions.According to the Immigration Policy Website, “Secure Communities is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program designed to identify immigrants in U.S. jails who are deportable under immigration law.” Before, people’s fingerprints were only sent to the FBI to be checked against a criminal database when they were booked in local jails. Now because of Secure Communities, they are also sent to the ICE, where they are checked against the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) and the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).
There is much debate in the news nationally and locally about this program. Many critics feel the program has caused unfairness to immigrants who are not high level offenders but rather traffic violators or immigration violators as some have been deported. Yet others are pleased that something is finally being done about all of the illegal immigrants in the United States.
In the Jamestown Sun, reported by Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press, between state and local police and the fingerprinting program, almost 300,000 deportations from October 2007 through September 2011.
I believe that a move toward getting illegal immigrants out of our country is a good one. I also believe that anyone should deserve a chance at a better life. But if a foreigner wants to live here, they need to become a citizen, pay taxes, learn the language, and not be on government or state assistance. The majority of that statement could be used for a multitude of Americans who were born here also, so I’m not singling out just immigrants. All of us need to abide by laws, earn a living and quit trying to get something for nothing while all those around you pay for it. The Secure Communities Program is a good way to show that America demands respect and that it is not here to be giving eternal hand outs. What do you think?
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