In a turnabout from the usual immigration-related situation (in which ICE demands documents from immigrants) civil rights groups in Washington, DC. Arlington, VA. Santa Clara, CA. and San Francisco are requesting the release of documents concerning opt-out procedures in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's controversial "Secure Communities" program.
Signed by the Arlington Coalition Against "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) Program, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Law Alliance, Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, Causa Justa: Just Cause (CJJC), Center for Employment Training- San Jose, Central American Resource Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Communities United Against Violence, DC Jobs with Justice, Empower DC, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, La Raza Centro Legal , National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Plymouth Congregational UCC Board of Social Action, Sacred Heart Community Services, San Francisco Day Labor Program Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network, Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform, Silicon Valley DeBug, Somos Mayfair, Steering Committee for Immigration Reform, JFI San Jose Tenants and Workers United and Young Workers United, the statement that these groups released today reads as follows:
”We are four municipalities that have formally requested to opt-out of the federal immigration enforcement, "Secure Communities" (i.e., "S-Comm") program,” their press release stated. “We did so after participating in town hall meetings, debate, testimony, research, and democratic processes that culminated with representatives in Washington DC, Santa Clara, California, Arlington, Virginia, and San Francisco clearly voting to opt-out of sharing information with ICE. “
“We did so because we believe in preserving public safety for everyone in our diverse cities, and also because we reject a program that disguises a record number of deportations (392,862) as a safety initiative rather than a humanitarian and moral crisis.”
”To be clear, our counties never 'opted-in' to this dangerous ICE program in the first place. This program, which has been shrouded in secrecy, was imposed on our counties without the input of our local government, communities, local law enforcement and in the case of San Francisco against their explicit written requests. Now that Washington DC has formally opted out, we ask that ICE immediately and without further delay let our counties and any other counties requesting to do so out of S-Comm.”
”We are committed to moving ahead with the opt out process despite ICE now contradicting itself and claiming the program is compulsory. We support CCR, NDLON, and Cordozo Law School going to court today to demand release of what ICE has refused to divulge. The emergency injunction filed today does what should be automatic in any democracy, it seeks to make public information on S-Comm and our ability to opt-out by stopping the sharing of any fingerprints by these jurisdictions with ICE.. This necessary injunction comes at the beginnings of negotiations with ICE and local jurisdictions scheduled for Nov. 5 to Nov. 9.”