Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Secure Communities?

On Monday June 25th, 2012, in Escondido, California, a meeting was held to discuss State Assembly Bill 1081 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Fransisco.  The bill would forbid local law enforcement agencies from detaining illegal immigrants unless they have a prior felony conviction until federal agents can get to them.  Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is attempting to restrict the federal Secure Communities program, which has helped deport thousands of illegal immigrants which have been held in local jails.  You might ask why.  Or you might even as what the Secure Communities Program is.

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 However, in August 2011, ICE rescinded all signed MOAs and announced that no signed agreement was necessary for the data sharing to take place and that the data sharing program is in fact mandatory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?

For more information on the Escondido story visit:  

For more information on the Secure Communities Program visit: 


  1. I think you make an excellent point when you say that people need to become citizens. So often we seem to hear about families being ripped apart due to one of the parents not being a legal American citizen, but I think this is something they always knew could happen. I think it is foolish to pretend that we do not know what is at stake when we break the law, and the same should hold true to people visiting our country. It is not right for us to visit a country and not respect its rules and customs; does America not have the same rights to rules as other countries? As you wrote, America deserves respect, and breaking the law is no way to show that respect.

  2. Kelly, I think that you made some excellent points. Living in Alaska, illegal immigration isn't really much of a problem, but like the rest of the country, we are so tired of people breaking the rules and abusing the system. Part of the process of a democracy is that we all participate in all areas of our government, and it's not right for people to take advantage of the wonderful life that the US has to offer, but not do their part in it. One issue that I particularly have a hard time fathoming is when American citizens cannot get a job because they have been taken by illegal immigrants. It drives me crazy, and is just wrong. Although the process may be a lengthy one, people who want to be a part of this amazing country need to fill out the paperwork and do the necessary work to do so legally.

  3. its interesting to see all the points you all are making but i'd like to enlighten you all about immigration system since it is a little clear from some of the points above that some of you are ignorant about it. First off, anyone living in America be it legal or illegal pays taxes in a way i.e either directly from their paycheck or even when they purchase anything from a store. Yes, It is true that there are illegal immigrants but if you really did your homework you would know that non citizens don't qualify for any form of assistance even though they get money taken out their paycheck. Immigration is a big thing so i'll advise you to get your facts straight from both ends before making a statement or assumptions. Thanks