Friday Night ICE

Laura Rotolo

Laura Rótolo, FOIA counsel and community advocate for the ACLU of Massachusetts, originally wrote this guest blog for Boston.com.

It’s Friday afternoon. Time for another hollow announcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) purporting to fix its controversial “Secure Communities” program. These announcements—exquisitely timed to avoid media attention—have become such a pattern that advocates have come to expect “Friday surprises.”

This time, ICE announced its response to the criticisms of a task force comprising a diverse group of stakeholders hand-picked by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The task force criticized Secure Communities (S-Comm) for its inconsistent messaging, lack of transparency, and interference with community policing.

Latest ICE response to criticism of “Secure Communities” fails to address program’s fundamental flaws

Calls renewed for immediate termination of controversial deportation program.

"Secure Communities" is not a crime-fighting tool

What happened to Matthew Denice--the 23-year-old from Milford killed by a reportedly drunk driver--is so horrific that it is important to get the response right. Yet proponents of the S-Comm or "Secure Communities" federal immigration dragnet are getting it wrong.

Read the full post on Boston.com | S-comm page

Leaders in Northampton, Springfield join opposition to S-Comm

In July 2011, the Springfield City Council passed a resolution urging Mayor Sarno to refuse to participate in the federal S-Comm anti-immigrant dragnet, and on Sept. 1, the Northampton City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution expressing the city's desire to opt out as well. The ACLU worked with the American Friends Service Committee and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee on the campaign.

Gov. Patrick announced in June that he would not sign an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to implement S-Comm, and Mayor Menino of Boston told ICE that the city needs answers before Boston would continue participating. The program's future remains unclear.

The ACLU of Massachusetts opposes S-Comm for three main reasons:

- S-Comm, also known as "Secure Communities," doesn't do what it says it will--in fact, it makes us less secure.

- Violent criminals already get deported. S-Comm, instead, rounds up people who haven't been convicted of any crime. It clogs jails and diverts resources from solving or stopping violent crime.

- S-Comm undermines community trust in police. When any interaction with a local police officer can get you deported, it makes witnesses and crime victims from immigrant communities afraid to come forward--and that's why many police say they oppose it.

ICE rescinds "Secure Communities" memoranda of understanding

"This latest power-grab by the feds shows complete disrespect for the cities and states that worked hard to negotiate agreements and those that, like Massachusetts, decided after much consideration not to sign on the dotted line. Police and communities have real, on-the-ground concerns that S-Comm makes our communities less safe. ICE has once again steamrolled over those concerns and claimed a right to rule by decree."

Read the news release