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- New York Governor Suspends Harmful Deportation Program
- Send Governor Cuomo a Message: Respect Immigrants' Rights
- DREAM Deferred, But Only Temporarily
- Dare to DREAM
- DREAMing Big
- Obama Finally Speaks on Immigration Reform; Why are We Underwhelmed?
- Crazy Arizona Immigration Laws Part Deux: The War on Babies
- Debunking the Immigration vs. Environment Myth
- Major Cities’ Police Chiefs Come Out Against Arizona Law… Where’s Ray Kelly?
- Obama’s Border Plans: That’s Not Change. That’s More of the Same.
- Today’s Second-Grade Lesson: We Need Immigration Reform
- NYCLU in the Journal News on ID Cards
- Standing While Latino Should Not be a Crime
- New NYCLU Video: LGBT Immigration Discrimination
- New Video: Show Me Your Papers!
- Upstate Town Goes English-Only; We Say “No/Nyet/Non”
- British Scrap National ID Cards – Are You Listening, Schumer?
- Paterson vs. Schumer on Due Process for Immigrants
- May Day 2010: All Over It
- Senate Democrats Release Blueprint of CIR Bill…And It Needs Work (A Lot)
- NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Immigration Reform FAIL is “National Suicide”
- Wild West: Arizona Takes the Anti-Immigrant Plunge—Immigration Reform Game Changer?
- Immigration Reform Bipartisanship Unraveling? Or Not?
- NYCLU, ACTS and RIFA in the Syracuse Post-Standard
- President Obama Says Immigration Reform is Next!
- NYCLU in the Poughkeepsie Journal: Justice and Common Sense: No Human Being is Illegal
- As Arizona Goes, So Goes the Nation? Let’s Hope Not.
- NYCLU in the Buffalo News: Schumer’s ID Plan Violates Basic American Principles
- GAME ON – At Vegas Rally Reid Promises Immigration Reform Bill This Summer
- Albany and Rochester Come out for Immigration Reform
- ICE Scandal of the Week: 400,000 Deportations Goal in FY10
- SHOCKER: 287(g) Program Lacks Oversight, Violates Rights
- NYCLU in the WSJ: Schumer’s ID Plan is ‘BEAST’LY
- We Came, We Saw, We Chanted…
- A Call for Justice: Rally in Washington for Reform
- Mr. President, Support Workable Reform, Reject National Worker ID
- The Gospel of Lindsey Graham; White House Punts on National ID
- And it Begins: WSJ on Schumer’s National ID Card
- Senator Schumer! Where’s Our Immigration Reform?
- Shakira at the White House: We Hope Obama’s “[L]ips Don’t Lie”
- Wings, Apples and Immigration Reform in Buffalo
- Former DA Morgenthau: Immigration System is a 'national disgrace'
- Immigration Reform: Coming to a Town Near You!
- Syracuse Comes Out in the Cold for Immigration Reform
- Immigration Reform. Who Cares?
- Representative Bishop – Can you hear us now?
- President Obama: We need more than that.
In a huge victory for civil liberties, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, suspended his state's participation in a federal deportation program that tore apart families, encouraged racial profiling and harmed public safety by creating mistrust between police and immigrant communities.
Under the program known as Secure Communities (S-Comm), local police hand over the biometric data of every person arrested and fingerprinted — innocent or guilty — to federal immigration authorities who check it against their databases. If there is a match — whether correct or not — an individual could be sent to detention centers hundreds of miles from home and even deported.
Gov. Cuomo's courageous decision followed months of advocacy by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and our allies in the immigrants' rights and civil rights communities. Before yesterday, S-Comm was operating in 27 of New York's 62 counties. Nationwide, the program has been activated in about 1,300 of the nation's 3,181 local law enforcement jurisdictions, according to ICE.
S-Comm makes immigrants, including naturalized citizens, hesitant to contact the police or report crime out of fear of being detained and deported. For instance, domestic violence victims in particular may not call the police for fear that their family members will end up being arrested, detained, and deported. The program also invites racial profiling by encouraging police to target anyone who looks or sounds foreign for minor offenses as a pretext for checking immigration status.
The federal government claims that S-Comm snags and deports dangerous criminal convicts, but ICE data analyzed by the NYCLU show that more than 80 percent of immigrants in New York deported through the program had not been convicted of a state crime. Nationally about 60 percent of people deported through the program had no criminal records or had been picked up for low-level offenses, like loitering.
When New York State quietly entered into an agreement in May 2010 with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it did so with assurances from federal officials that local jurisdictions could decide for themselves whether to participate in the program. Later, DHS stated that participation was mandatory.
A letter recently released by a former government contractor who worked on expanding the program in the states revealed that ICE had intentionally misled New York to obtain the state's participation in Secure Communities.
Thomas H. Mungeer, President of the New York State Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement supporting Gov. Cuomo yesterday:
The questions that have surrounded the implementation of Secure Communities drives a wedge between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect. We are confident that the procedures we currently use and the strong relationships we currently have with federal, state and local authorities will ensure that we can keep our communities safe while also maintaining our relationship of trust.
New York isn't the only state where S-Comm has come under fire. On May 5, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois withdrew his state from S-Comm — the first state to withdraw from the program. And last week, the California state assembly passed the Trust Act, a bill that would allow counties to opt-out of S-Comm; the bill is now pending before the state senate. The DHS inspector general is also investigating S-Comm.
We are deeply gratified by Gov. Cuomo's principled stand, but the fight's not over. The governor is sure to take a lot of heat for his courageous stand. You can help us secure this victory. Please join us in thanking Gov. Cuomo for standing for freedom, justice, and human dignity!