Immigration update: good news, bad news

Meet your new police commissioner
The Board of Supervisors appoints Angela Chan to the Police Commission

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously appointed tireless immigrant rights advocate Angela Chan to the San Francisco Police Commission.
That’s the good news.
The bad news? Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown declined San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessey request to allow San Francisco to opt out of Secure Communities, ICE’s latest federal-local law enforcement collaboration.
"I think this program serves both public safety and the interests of justice," Brown said. "ICE's program advances an important law enforcement function by identifying those individuals who are in the country illegally and who have a history of serious crimes or who have previously been deported."
“ Before the inception of Secure Communities allowing fingerprint identification, if a county suspected an arrestee was in the country illegally, the county submitted the person's name to ICE for a background check,” Brown stated.

What Brown’s letter didn’t say was that, up until now in San Francisco, the county only submitted folks’ names to ICE if they were charged with a felony. Nor did he address why the federal government is sneaking around, switching this program on, without openly and transparently announcing their intentions to the local community.

Eileen Hirst, spokesperson for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office said that, as a result of Brown’s letter, “As far as we know, San Francisco will be a part of Secure Communities as of June 1.”
In a statement, Sheriff Hennessey said, “I am disappointed with the Attorney General’s position and continue to be concerned that U.S. citizens and minor offenders will be caught up in the broad net of Secure Communities, and I will be studying the issue further to see how this program can be applied as fairly as possible and in the spirit of the sanctuary ordinance.”

So far, ICE’s data reveals the number of folks caught up in the Secure Communities net, plus a brief breakdown of the deportees’ level of crime.

It would be helpful, as several immigrants rights groups have suggested, if ICE revealed the nationality of these deportees, clarified if these folks were convicted of crimes or simply charged with them, and had to make frequent reports to Congress in which they included this data along with evidence that the program actually deports convicted criminals rather than folks simply arrested. Otherwise, the program could potentially be abused by renegades who realize that all you have to do to get someone deported is arrest them on trumped up charges

Anyways, you can read the rest of AG Brown’s letter below. My favorite line from Brown's letter is, “Many of the people booked in local jails end up in state prison or go on to commit crimes in other counties or states.”  

Hmm. Does that mean that folks charged with crimes in this state are presumed guilty then, until proven otherwise? Or is that just the presumption about immigrants?


AG Brown’s letter:
"Dear Sheriff Hennessey:

I am writing in response to your letter regarding the Secure Communities program developed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The program is scheduled to be rolled out in San Francisco next month. You requested that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) block ICE from running checks on the fingerprints collected in San Francisco. The Secure Communities program is up and running in 169 counties in 20 states, including 17 counties in California. Because I think this program serves both public safety and the interest of justice, I am declining your request.

The DOJ Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigative Services is the entity designated by California law to maintain a database of fingerprints used in the state for law enforcement purposes. When someone is arrested, the county forwards the fingerprints to the DOJ to identify the person, determine his or her criminal history and to discover any outstanding warrants. As in every other state, the DOJ forwards those fingerprints to the FBI to check for a history of criminal activity outside of the state. Under the Secure Communities program, the FBI forwards fingerprints collected at arrest to ICE. If ICE finds a match to prints in its database, ICE notifies the county. ICE's stated intent and practice is to place holds on those individuals who are in the country illegally and who have a history of serious crimes or who have been previously deported.

Prior to the Secure Communities program, the name, but not the fingerprint, provided by an individual on arrest was run through ICE's database of people known by ICE to be in the country illegally. Often, individuals with a criminal history were released before their immigration status was discovered. Using fingerprints is faster, race neutral and results in accurate information and identification.

In these matters, statewide uniformity makes sense. This is not simply a local issue. Many of the people booked in local jails end up in state prison or go on to commit crimes in other counties or states.

I appreciate your concern. But I believe that working with the federal government in this matter advances important and legitimate law enforcement objectives.


Attorney General."


This is the SAME Jerry Brown who was on KPFA years ago railing against the industrial prison complex? I listened to his show every week.

He is clearly not that person anymore who was on KPFA. The person who was on KPFA was extremely intelligent and a true progressive. What the fuk happened?

Brown has changed. He appears to have done a 180 flip...for the worst. Unfortunately, that's often the case with many of these u$ele$$ para$ite politician$. Follow the $$$$$$$$$$.

I'm not surprised by this.

Posted by Sam on May. 26, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

We need to know who's who for our own safety. I agree w J. Brown. We need to STOP all sorts of illegal activities, just people getting away with things-- it was about time something is done.

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

We need to know who's who for our own safety. I agree w J. Brown. We need to STOP all sorts of illegal activities, just people getting away with things-- it was about time something is done.

Posted by Guest it on May. 26, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

Why have some people allowed themselves to become afraid of their own shadow?

I'm more concerned about those who are willing to see other people's rights trampled and are all for seeing other people's lives turned upside down because someone *might* be engaged in "illegal activities." My question: Who's monitoring the monitors? What sort of "illegal activities" and sleazy stuff are THEY engaged in? Who's monitoring THEM?

I swear, some people would live very comfortably in a dictatorship. And that's what some people in this nation really want here. They could care less about the US Constitution or human rights.

If one is seriously interested in "going after" people, why don't you go after the REAL thieves and thugs such as BP, Enron, Halliburton, et al. The corporate list of thieves is endless. Banksters, Wall Street bankers et al who have really killed this nation. And the corporations who have shipped millions of jobs to China and India. Why is it that it's always the "little person" that the rabid right-wing trash (and some faux "progressives") want to scapegoat? Maybe these people need to think about how they got to where they are? Who did they step on and oppress? This topic is so big, yet the mindless sheep want to scapegoat the little person (the immigrant) constantly who is just trying to survive and feed themselves and their families. Of course, the sheep don't mention a word about the employers who HIRE the undocumented immigrants. No, all the hate and bile is directed at the migrant worker/undocumented immigrant.

And may I remind you, that if you are not a direct descendant of a Native American, you are an "illegal" [sic] immigrant also, whether you were born here or not. Oh, but that's different, Sam.


Posted by Sam on May. 26, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

Well put Sam. This is America, none of us are supposed to be here.

At least so called illegal immigrants aren't spreading smallpox infected blankets around, and slaughtering Indians. This is the heritage that we all claim makes us Americans.

In truth we are all lucky. Most of us didn't do anything to deserve to be here, but we are quick to kick out economic refugees who are only here so they can make a decent living for their families.
For a country founded by immigrants its ironic how quick we are to disparage immigrants who have no other place to turn.

Its no different than the other waves of immigration that brought us here, the potato famine in Ireland, war in eastern Europe. These cycles of immigration and backlashes against them have been happening throughout American History. Had the immigration laws been so stringent as they are today, most of our decedents would have been illegal as well. Because they had no choice. There is no difference, it's just history repeating itself. So go ahead ridicule the poor immigrants, their not legally supposed to be here (even though they are essential economic refugees.) Unless your decedents were on the Mayflower and your are pure English decent, you can be damn sure that someone had the same argument against YOUR relatives coming here!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 01, 2010 @ 11:43 am

Someone seems to be living in the 18th Century. This is the big 21st Century. Thanks Gov Brown for keeping it real. You have my vote.

Posted by Geneff on Jun. 01, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

Once you set a program like this you make sure that you get the best of it. I am glad to see that there are people that actually have the power to speak up for the immigrants and defend their rights. Many people depend on the effectiveness of the program, I doubt though the initiative will bring much difference to the general illegal immigration situation.

Posted by Global Visas on Mar. 24, 2011 @ 3:19 am