Stop ICE's Insecure Communities

En Español

Recent immigration enforcement efforts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have focused increasingly on collaboration between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local law enforcement. One of the main ICE programs that relies on local resources is the so-called “Secure Communities” program.

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“Secure Communities” allows state and local police to check the fingerprints of any individual they are booking into a jail against DHS immigration databases. If there is a “hit” in an immigration database, ICE is automatically notified, even if the person hasn’t been convicted of a crime. While its stated purpose is to target “dangerous criminal aliens,” the program has undermined community trust and indiscriminately targeted and destroyed immigrant families and communities.

In response to the spread of ICE's harmful policies, a group of organizations including OneAmerica have launched the Stop ICE's Insecure Communities campaign to fight back against ICE's divisive "Secure Communities" Program. The campaign has four primary goals:

  1. Stop the spread of ICE's divisive "Secure Communities" program in Washington State;
  2. Move Washington State counties who have opted-in to "Secure Communities" to reconsider their decision.
  3. Educate the community and local law enforcement on "Secure Communities" and its impacts; and
  4. Create spaces for immigrant communities to voice their concerns and participate in the decision-making process around "Secure Communities."

Around the nation, many public officlals, civil rights groups, and immigrant communities have spoken up about the harmful impact of "Secure Communities." The governors of Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts have all chosen to opt their states out of the program due to the failure of Secure Communities to achieve its goals to only deport criminals who pose serious threats to public safety. In December 2011, Congressman Adam Smith from Washington's 9th congressional district also wrote to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano urging changes to "Secure Communities." 
Meanwhile, OneAmerica is continuing to organize communities in multiple counties across Washington state to urge local law enforcement and elected officials to hold open dialogue with communities about the repercussions of Secure Communities. 

Stop ICE's Insecure Communities Co-Sponsors:
OneAmerica, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Church Council of Greater Seattle, Washington Association of Churches, Washington New Sanctionary Movement, Asian Pacific Islander Coalitions of King and Pierce Counties, Washington CAN!

    Secure Communities Toolkit

    The Stop ICE's Insecure Communities campaign has prepared and compiled some valuable resources to help advocates educate and organize their communities around the detrimental impacts of the  "Secure Communities" program. Resources on other ICE enforcement programs can be viewed at OneAmerica's Local Enforcement webpage.

    Washington State Fact Sheet

    "Secure Communities" Fact Sheet for Washington State (OneAmerica) En Español

    General Fact Sheets

    ICE Stats Show More Non-Criminals Deported Than Dangerous Criminals (Page 3)

    Secure Communities Policy Analysis (National Immigration Forum)

    "Secure Communities" Fact Sheet (National Immigration Forum)

    "Secure Communities" Fact Sheet (Immigrant Policy Center)

    ICE ACCESS Program One-Pager (Immigrant Justice Network)

    Secure Communities Infographic from Deportation Nation



    Fiscal Impact of Civil Immigration Detainers (Make the Road, New York)

    Pushback from Elected Officials

    Letter from Governor Patrick of Massachusetts to DHS, June 3, 2011

    Letter from Governor Cuomo of New York to DHS, June 1, 2011

    Letter from Rep. Lofgren to DHS, May 17, 2011

    Governor Patrick of Massachusetts says NO to Insecure Communities (Boston Globe)

    Governor Cuomo's Press Release Announcing New York's Suspension of "Secure Communities," June 1, 2011

    Letter from Illinois Governor Quinn to ICE Terminating Participation in "Secure Communities"

    Letter from Congressional Hispanic Caucus to President Obama


    The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns (Immigrant Policy Center)


    VIDEO: "New immigration screening angers some residents" (KNDO, Yakima)

    "US to Investigate Secure Communities Deportation Program" (Los Angeles Times)

    "Secure Communities" Destroys Public Trust Op-Ed (Op-ed by Sheriff in San Francisco Chronicle)

    "How a Democracy Works," New York Times Editorial, June 3, 2011

    Mr. Obama can bolster public safety by pulling the plug on Secure Communities,  program that sends fingerprints of everyone booked by state or local police to Department of Homeland Security databases to be checked for immigration violations. It was supposed to focus on dangerous felons, but the heavy majority of those it catches are noncriminals or minor offenders — more than 30 percent have no convictions for anything.

    The president should listen to the many law enforcement professionals and local officials, like the governors of New York and Illinois, who want nothing to do with Secure Communities. They say it endangers the public by catching the wrong people and stifling community cooperation with law enforcement.

    "Secure Communities" Are Unsafe for Anyone (Op-ed in Santa Barabara Independent)

    Press Release on "Secure Communities" Threat to Victims of Violence (Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition)

    State Pulls Out of Controversial Immigration Program (Chicago News Cooperative)

    "State Was Given False Promises When it Came to Fingerprint Sharing Program" (New York Daily News)

    "L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca Goes Up Against Immigrants' Rights Groups, Defends 'Secure Communities' to the Death" (L.A. Weekly)

    Other Resources

    Spanish-language Cartoon Explaining "Secure Communities" (CASA de Maryland)

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