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Washington Post’s praise for Secure Communities glossed over key details about controversial program

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immigration and customs enforcementEarlier this week, the Washington Post published an editorial titled “How to improve an immigration status check.”  AV’s Deputy Director, Lynn Tramonte, takes exception to the Post’s editorial — and expressed her concerns in a letter to the editor. We were hoping that the Post would publish the letter, but that hasn’t happened.  So, here’s what she wrote:

Your editorial praising the Secure Communities program (“How to improve an immigration status check,” March 20th) glosses over some very important details.  If the program was targeted at actual criminals, it wouldn’t be so controversial and police agencies wouldn’t be asking to opt-out. 

According to the government’s own data, 28% of the people deported through Secure Communities were not convicted of any crime.  Many others had committed low-level offenses, like traffic violations. 

When immigrants fear contact with police could lead to deportation, they stop reporting crimes and criminals get a free pass.  This is the main reason why law enforcement leaders across the nation are sounding the alarm about Secure Communities, 287(g), and the Ashcroft “inherent authority” doctrine that shifted civil immigration enforcement from the federal government to the states.  These policies destroy community policing, and make all of us less safe. 

The Obama Administration must reform its programs that involve police in immigration enforcement so that they target actual criminals, not immigrant workers, and Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform so that our laws are practical and enforced.  The Post should be calling on the federal government to make those changes, not repeating the government’s talking points about a flawed program like Secure Communities.