Turns out I was right about what I have been saying publicly for the better part of the last year: the Obama administration is using the Secure Communities program as a tool to racially profile and deport people of color that have never been charged with any criminal violation.
Who'da thunk it?
A series of emails between the FBI and ICE establish that Secure Communities is not being limited to individuals that are being booked into jail for a charged violation of a criminal law.
The Obama administration had been stonewalling the release of information verifying this fact. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic were forced to file suit against the administration in order to obtain information under a previously submitted Freedom of Information Act request.
So much for being the most transparent administration in history.
What was found is that the Obama administration is using drivers’ license checkpoints as a tool to institute removal proceedings.
I hate to say I told you so, but...
According to the emails, in May 2011, California attempted to obtain assurance from ICE and the FBI that “the [Secure Communities] Program will only affect persons who are arrested for a crime, and not those who may simply be stopped at a drivers’ license checkpoint.” Instead of providing the requested assurance, the FBI apparently informed California that even prints for individuals who had been arrested for identification purposes only would have their immigration status checked through Secure Communities. Moreover, the FBI informed California that, although it was technically possible to change this process, it would not do so.
The administration's response to the release of information is that it is "going to create an issue."
It's comforting to know that the administration is so concerned about bad press in an election year.
Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, sums it up perfectly: “This is the latest proof that Secure Communities is not a targeted immigration enforcement program, but a deportation dragnet."
How is all that hopey-change stuff working out for you?
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).