Homeland Security budget includes money for ‘nationwide deployment’ of Secure Communities

By | 02.14.12 | 12:38 pm

President Barack Obama (Pic by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Department of Homeland Security’s 2013 budget, released Monday, includes overall cuts to the agency, but secures funding for the controversial immigration enforcement program Secure Communities.

B. Loewe, a spokesperson for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, tells The Florida Independent that the 2013 budget includes a $17 million reduction for the immigration enforcement program 287(g).

According to the budget (.pdf) in 2013, ICE “will begin by discontinuing the least productive 287(g) task force agreements in those jurisdictions where Secure Communities is already in place and will also suspend consideration of any requests for new 287(g) task forces.” 287(g) is implemented when a local law enforcement agency signs a Memorandum of Agreement with ICE.

Loewe says that cuts to 287(g) are positive but, he explains, it is replaced by Secure Communities, which places immigration enforcement authority in the hands of local law enforcement, and experience shows that this “creates the conditions for racial profiling.”

All 67 Florida jurisdictions are currently using Secure Communities, a fingerprint-sharing program that allows local law enforcement officials to compare the fingerprints of a detainee with federal databases.

Opponents of Secure Communities have repeatedly called on the Obama administration to end the program because immigrants who have committed no crime are being detained and deported, leaving behind U.S.-born children and families that, in many cases, will struggle to make ends meet.

Homeland Security adds that the budget “includes funding to complete nationwide deployment in FY 2013 of the Secure Communities program which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal and other priority aliens found in state prisons and local jails.”

The budget also adds that “to preserve core frontline priorities in FY 2013, we have redirected over $850 million in base resources from administrative and mission support areas.”

Budget priorities include are:

  • Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security
  • Securing and Managing Our Borders
  • Enforcing and Administering Our Immigration Laws

In a press release issued Monday, the National Day Laborers Organizing Network writes:

The White House budget for removal of immigrants reveals a national tragedy as the debate about immigration reform continues to sour. The GOP candidates for President all support Arizona’s policy to make life miserable for immigrants. The repugnant GOP consensus position is allowing the President to commit the perfect political crime. President Obama has presided over unprecedented deportations, and his budget creates line items that ravage Latinos’ civil rights and undermine public safety. And yet, the President continues to craft a public  image as a champion of immigration reform.
Homeland Security writes in the 2013 budget that “continued growth of programs such as Secure Communities – which has helped ICE identify and remove tens of thousands of criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails – allows ICE to focus its resources on priority cases. DHS has expanded Secure Communities from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 1,700 by the end of 2011 – including all jurisdictions along the Southwest Border.”

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