Secure Communities no longer needs states’ authorization to operate

immigration seal
(image: New Mexico Independent)

The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it was canceling agreements with 40 states, including Colorado, to operate the Secure Communities program in those states. The program, though, lives on as the federal government simply decided it did not need states’ permission to run the program in those states.

From the Los Angeles Times:

After months of protest from some Democratic governors, the Obama administration is cancelling more than 40 agreements it has signed with states under the Secure Communities program, although the move will have no apparent impact on the controversial effort to identify and deport convicted felons.

The Department of Homeland Security notified governors Friday that the program does not need their approval to operate, and the cancellations will not affect the ability to check the immigration status of anyone whose fingerprints are in an FBI criminal database…

The gist of the program is that local law enforcement agencies share the fingerprints of people suspected of being in the country illegally with the FBI which may pass them on to immigration officials.

With this decision, the feds are saying they can work directly with local law enforcement agencies without any approval or involvement at the state level.

The controversial program has been shown to snare far more small time law breakers than the hardened criminals it is often touted as targeting.

The move also serves to blunt the effect of individual states saying they won’t participate.

“We think this change to Secure Communities poses a real danger,” said Dee Dee Garcia Blase, executive director of Somos Republicans. “There are a lot of flaws with the program and for it to continue unchecked by the states is a problem. We are asking people to call the Obama administration and ask them to end the program,” she told the Colorado Independent.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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