On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security unilaterally cancelled its Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) on Secure Communities (S-COMM), an immigration enforcement program of the Obama administration that was sold to state governments as a way to identify and deport serious criminals. Over the past several months, Governor Patrick Quinn (IL), Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY) and Governor Deval Patrick (MA) suspended their involvement with S-COMM, citing data that the program is deporting large numbers of non-criminals and thus negatively impacting public safety. But, evidently, DHS has decided to impose this controversial program nationwide without the consent of elected state and local leaders.
In response, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, had this to say:
S-COMM has never worked as promised or intended. Instead of focusing on convicted serious criminals, the program’s dragnet has led to the record-breaking deportations of ordinary undocumented immigrants. Instead of fixing it, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to double-down on it, while dismissing the growing chorus of legitimate concerns being raised by elected officials and law enforcement professionals.
Police officers across the country have made it clear that S-COMM damages relationships between the police and immigrant communities, making it harder for them gather intelligence and solve crimes.
In addition, this action by the Department of Homeland Security demonstrates a stunning show of disrespect for Governors from the states of Illinois, New York and Massachusetts who recently exercised the “opt-out” provision in their signed “Memoranda of Agreement” with DHS.
S-COMM might help DHS meet its record-breaking deportation goals, but it comes with a huge cost — to community safety, to federal-state relations and to the trust immigrants have in local police.