The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

B. Loewe, NDLON. 773.791.4668

Groups Condemn Merger of Criminal Justice & Immigration Systems

The Day After Cities Begin Process to Opt-Out from Secure Communities, 500+ Groups Demand President Obama End Police/Ice Collaborations


Citing systemic problems within both the immigration and
criminal justice systems, 500 groups from across the country, including
the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) today delivered a
letter to President Obama demanding that he end the merger of
immigration enforcement with criminal justice. The three-page letter
expressed concerns and presented proof that the Obama administration's
increased reliance on local law enforcement to arrest, detain, and
deport immigrants has exacerbated existing problems in the criminal
justice system.

According to Pablo Alvarado, executive director of NDLON, "The letter we
deliver today is a clear statement that the Arizona-like policies the
president is intent on nationalizing must be stopped. How large must the
chorus of denunciations grow before the president joins us in a
sensible immigration policy that legalizes instead of criminalizes the
millions who are here contributing to our country?"

According to the groups, "The merger of immigration enforcement and
local criminal justice agencies is not only bad public policy, it also
sabotages local law enforcement agencies' core mission of protecting
public safety by undermining the trust of the communities they serve. It
discourages people from turning to the police when they need to, even
to report crimes. It undermines public safety by diverting scarce
resources away from local policing and focuses them on false threats
from people who look or sound foreign."

Secure Communities, 287(g), and the Criminal Alien Program - the Obama
administration's signature immigration enforcement programs - all rely
on heavy involvement from and cooperation with local law enforcement to
siphon immigrants into the immigration enforcement and detention system
and, ultimately, through deportation proceedings.

"President Obama cannot sue the state of Arizona on the one hand and
spread similar policies known for racial profiling on the other,"
explains Sarahi Uribe of NDLON. "In Florida, North Carolina, and all
across the country, president Obama's police/ice collaborations are
creating Arpaio's in all of our backyards."

"Yesterday the cities of Arlington, VA and Santa Clara, CA both
unanimously voted to opt-out of these programs exactly because of the
devastating facts stated in the letter sent today," continued Uribe.
"The Obama administration needs to do what city councils began
yesterday. End police/ice collaborations."

To read the letter addressed to President Obama and view the full list of organizations that have signed on, visit: