Insecure Communities

Because of its inability to act in a consistent manner, the Secure Communities program has set an example of incompetence in the federal bureaucracy. Through confusion and a lack of transparency, this program has provided false information to state officials. It began operating without clear objectives, and today it is still splitting up hard working families. The program is so damaging that New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts all suspended their participation in it .

In a report released recently, the Inspector General (IG) evaluated the way Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) has handled the program. The report found no evidence that ICE intentionally misled state officials, but stated it did have a “lack of clarity” in its strategy and communications. It seems as if the program was being designed as it was getting implemented. Also, ICE changed its criteria, and for example, what was voluntary in 2009 and 2010, stopped being so arbitrarily in August 2011.

It is unconceivable that ICE has misled several U.S. states-as a result of incompetence and not intentionally, according to the report-and been rewarded with national jurisdiction. The federal agency was also allowed to expand the list of deportable crimes under the program to include misdemeanors such as traffic violations.

The best example of the program’s incompetence is the fact that U.S. citizens have been deported as if they were undocumented criminals. We ask ourselves: How many more mistakes were made, ruining the lives of people who didn’t deserve to be deported under the program?

Not having this information is what is most worrisome about the report. The IG refused to investigate the deportations of non-dangerous individuals, the use of racial profiling and how the program has eroded relationships between immigrant communities and the police.

The narrative of Secure Communities shows a program improvised on the fly, which resulted in the deportation of those undocumented immigrants who were easiest to find, rather than the most dangerous ones as was intended. ICE is an agency out of control, and that’s how it has handled Secure Communities.

Under other circumstances, a federal program with so many irregularities would have been shut down. That is what should happen with Secure Communities. Unfortunately, in the political game of immigration, the undocumented are pawns that inhumanely must go where the wind takes them.