Earlier this week, the federal Secure Communities (S-Comm) immigration enforcement program has been activated across the United States, including here in New York City. This program will facilitate the unjust deportation of even more immigrants by automatically sharing fingerprints collected by the NYPD with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Once these fingerprints are shared, ICE can place a detainer on an immigrant, even if he or she is not convicted of any wrongdoing.
“The Department of Homeland Security should respect the State of New York’s request to opt-out of Secure Communities,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “A city like New York, where we welcome immigrant communities, should not be forced to turn our police stations into a clearinghouse for deportations. We have worked hard to build trust between immigrant communities and the police and have crafted a balanced policy that will protect immigrants from unjust deportations. Secure Communities will undo all of that progress. I urge the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security to reverse this decision to roll out Secure Communities nationwide.”
Although Governor Cuomo formally opted out of the program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has moved ahead with activating the program in cities and states throughout the nation. On Monday, Melissa joined Speaker Christine Quinn, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, other elected officials and community groups in protesting the forced implementation of S-Comm in New York and sent a letter to DHS in opposition. Melissa will also be working with Speaker Quinn to craft a new piece of legislation similar to law sponsored by Melissa last year that will seek to expand protections of immigrants who are arrested, but not convicted, of a crime.