Rights Groups Take ICE to Court As Hundreds Rally in New York to Opt-Out of Dragnet Immigration Prog

For Immediate Release

Rights Groups Take ICE to Court As Hundreds Rally in New York to Opt-Out of Dragnet Immigration Prog

Advocates Request Emergency Injunction to Open the Record on ICE-Police Collaboration Program

NEW YORK - Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law will request an emergency injunction in federal court in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit NDLON v. ICE filed on behalf of the National Day Laborer Organization Network (NDLON).
The case requests information regarding the controversial Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Communities program and the
emergency injunction specifically requests documents related to the
voluntary nature of the program, which has been unclear thus far.
Advocates and community leaders across the country have called this
program "dangerous" and say it strains local law enforcement and
resources while damaging already the already tenuous relationship
between immigrant communities and the police.

The hearing will be on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 2:00 p.m.
at 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 15C, following a rally organized by local
groups protesting the use of the controversial program in New York
State at Governor Patterson's office 11:00 a.m. at 633 3rd Avenue.

"To keep our families together, we need to keep police and ICE separate.
The Orwellian-named Secure Communities program does the opposite of
making us safer," said Sarahí Uribe of NDLON. "We see innocent people swept up in a massive dragnet sending a chilling effect through migrant communities."
 
Advocates argue that ICE'S unwillingness to provide clear information
about the program's opt-out process at a time when municipalities such
as San Francisco and Santa Clara in California and Arlington, Virginia
voted to opt-out and numerous others localities are deliberating their
participation, requires court-ordered immediate access to key documents.

"As advocates across the country are pushing on the state and local
levels to find a way to opt-out of Secure Communities, we are going to
court to obtain information that the public and advocates need to
determine how and if it's possible to opt-out," said CCR staff attorney Sunita Patel. "Only the government has the information everyone needs."

The groups say immigration authorities in charge of the program, which
culls fingerprint data from local jails, have been inconsistent and
dishonest in representing the relationship between local governments and
the federal program. In an email to Governor Patterson, the agency said
"[W]e get it. No one will be forced.']. In a press conference two
months later, ICE wrote: "[W]e do not see this as an opt-in opt-out
program."

At a recent speaking engagement, Assistant Director of Secure
Communities David Venturella was confronted by Maria Bolaños, a domestic
violence survivor whose call for help resulted in deportation
proceedings under the program. His accusation of inaccurate reporting
moved the Washington Post to publish "ICE Reversals Sowing Mistrust."
Citing cases like Bolaños as a reason for concern, cities worried about
the program's effects on community-policing efforts are interested in
opting-out of the overly broad dragnet. The on-going dishonesty and
desire to opt-out makes gives today's injunction urgency.

With thirteen states yet to join the program, New York and numerous
other activated jurisdictions still trying to get out, and its current
spokespeople unwilling to set the record straight, advocates are asking a
judge to counteract the misinformation by opening the files related to
the "opt-out" policies immediately.

For more information on the injunction and NDLON v. ICE, click here. For more information on Secure Communities, visit www.UncoverTheTruth.org.

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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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