Groups Condemn Arizona Bill, Warn of Dangers of ICE-Police Collaboration in Suit Challenging Government Secrecy in ICE Program

For Immediate Release

Groups Condemn Arizona Bill, Warn of Dangers of ICE-Police Collaboration in Suit Challenging Government Secrecy in ICE Program

FOIA Lawsuit Filed, National Campaign Launched to Expose ICE Enforcement Program Advocates Say Has Devastating Effects on Community Safety

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, NY - Today, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Center
for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of
the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit demanding records
related to the little-known United States Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Agency (ICE) “Secure Communities” program that further
involves local and state police in federal immigration enforcement. The
filing also marks the launch of “Uncovering the Truth,” a weeklong
national campaign of coordinated actions and advocacy in more than ten
cities to end ICE-police collaboration.
 
“The passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona should be proof enough of the
dangerous and disastrous nature of ICE-police collaboration programs
like the so-called Secure Communities program,” said Pablo
Alvarado, NDLON Executive Director
. “The President should heed
his own advice and act responsibly by reclaiming the federal
government’s exclusive authority over the nation’s immigration laws. By
terminating all police and ICE partnerships, the President can help
restore community safety and protect civil rights and due process for
all.”

“At a time when police and ICE partnerships have clearly failed, ICE is
moving swiftly to implement the Secure Communities program in every U.S.
jail by 2013,” said CCR attorney Sunita Patel.
“Contrary to its name, this latest ICE program makes the public less
safe. There is no doubt that the program has and will continue to deepen
fear and mistrust of the police in our communities.”

Advocates say that last week’s passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona and the
rapid expansion of Secure Communities, which is already operating in 168
jurisdictions in 20 states with more agreements anticipated in the next
few days, is cause for alarm, particularly without publicly available
information on error rates, costs, oversight, accountability, racial
profiling and other civil rights complaints.

“This is a massive, invasive and untested federal immigration
enforcement program that ICE has been deceptive and secretive about from
the start,” said Bridget Kessler, Clinical Teaching Fellow at
the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
.
“Without more information, we cannot allow for the spread of this
dangerous ICE program.”

Of the little that is known about the program, the groups say Secure
Communities requires local and state police to run individuals’
fingerprints through multiple databases upon arrest, even if no charges
are brought and regardless of how minor the charges are. Advocates and
attorneys say that, in addition to concerns presented by relying on
potentially inaccurate and erroneous information in those databases, the
program functions as little more than a racial profiling dragnet to
funnel even more people into the overburdened and mismanaged ICE
detention and removal system.

The plaintiffs seek the materials necessary to provide the public with
comprehensive information on the Secure Communities program, including
policies, procedures and objectives; fiscal impact; data and statistical
information; individual records; communications; and assessment
records. Plaintiffs filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in
February 2010 seeking these materials. Despite ICE’s rapid expansion of
the program, government agencies have not yet released the requested
records.

The filing of the litigation marks the launch of “Uncovering the Truth,”
a weeklong national campaign of coordinated actions and advocacy,
including the release of preliminary findings based on a survey done in
Morristown, New Jersey and the release of a comprehensive report from
Miami, Florida on the effects of local law enforcement and ICE
collaboration on community safety. Local press contacts, press
conferences and events are listed below and can be found at www.UncovertheTruth.org.
 
To read the complaint or for more information on the Secure Communities
program, visit www.UncovertheTruth.org.

Uncovering the Truth:
A Week of Coordinated Events and Advocacy on Immigration and Customs
Enforcement and Police Collaboration

Visit www.UncovertheTruth.org for
updates on local events and actions and multimedia.

###

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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