Secure Communities

The Secure Communities program was created by the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to expel dangerous criminals that were also illegal aliens. The program relies on local law enforcement to supply fingerprint information of those arrested to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. ICE then identifies whether or not the criminal is an illegal alien and how serious their crimes are. Based on this prioritization of the most threatening offenders the federal agency works with local law enforcement to arrange for the expulsion of the criminal. The Department of Homeland Security has a blog that features an update on the success of the program. The page explains more about the program and gives statistics of criminals caught and identified so far. The blog post focuses on this data in justifying the program’s success.

The program affects a handful of states, but originated in Texas. The Wall Street Journal reports on the varied opinions coming out of the state regarding the issue. Minority groups are worried about increasing deportation efforts while law enforcement officials are very pleased with the success of the program. The big picture of the program is framed as the article links Secure Communities to influences on Obama’s popularity amongst Latino communities and the controversy of the Arizona immigration laws.  In comparison to the Arizona law, this program is portrayed as less intrusive as it requires no additional enforcement from local authorities.

Meanwhile City Room, a New York Times blog, introduces readers to Eligio Valerio, a man who was targeted for deportation years after a minor crime. Valerio emigrated from the Dominican Republic, but was threatened to be returned when investigators stumbled upon his record. The episodic article describes the man’s history and then his dramatic release where he was greeted by his family. The post ends with a reference to the Secure Communities program, which is not instituted in New York yet. Valerio’s supporters fear that the program will only cause more problems for legal immigrants like Valerio.

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