Obama Administration’s Announced Tweaks to Secure Communities Fail to Address Ongoing Human and Civil Rights Abuses

Contact: Jennifer Piper, jpiper@afsc.org, 303.623.3464 ext. 5

Denver, CO -- (June 20, 2011) The Colorado office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) rejects the Department of Homeland Security’s recently announced fruitless adjustments to address the overall failure of the Secure Communities Initiative and its continued civil and human rights abuses.

“Creating an advisory commission does not address grave concerns brought by civil, human and immigrant rights groups. This program has been foisted on local governments and communities under false pretenses,” said Gabriela Flora, Project Voice Regional Organizer of the AFSC. “We restate our demand that the Obama administration suspend Secure Communities.”

In recent weeks Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts have either pulled out of or refused participation in the program. Numerous cities across the country continue to seek a way out of this deportation dragnet that stretches local law enforcement’s resources and entangles them in immigration laws. As a result, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Progressive Caucus have both called for a moratorium on the program pending an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General called for by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren slated to begin next month.

Jennifer Piper, Interfaith Immigration Organizing Director of the AFSC, declared “We call on Governor Hickenlooper to follow Illinois, New York and Massachusetts and retract Colorado’s participation in this flawed program. Although ICE claims the program secures our communities, we are all aware of the fact that it has the reverse effect.” 

United Church of Christ Pastor Anne Dunlap explained her opposition to the program: “My faith calls me to support policies that unify our communities and to challenge divisive and unjust policies. ‘Secure Communities’ is a fundamentally flawed program, and cannot be fixed by even well-intentioned minor tweaks. This program perpetuates racial profiling, creates tensions between police and immigrant communities, and pulls people into the broken deportation system, tearing apart families and communities in the process.”

In light of the failure of Secure Communities, the American Friends Service Committee calls on the Obama Administration to:

  • Publicly oppose and terminate all programs that create partnerships between state and local law enforcement and ICE.
  • Halt the development of the vast data-gathering infrastructure that houses Secure Communities and inform the public of the current scope and purpose of its data collection and dissemination activities.
  • Ensure any immigration enforcement programs have rigorous safeguards against racial profiling and human rights violations.