The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Failed 'Secure Communities' Program

The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Secure Communities program is a cooperative effort with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement agencies which utilizes information sharing in order to identify and remove criminal aliens. The Department of Homeland Security defines a criminal alien as, "any individual not a citizen or national of the United States with an appropriate criminal conviction". The Secure Communities program aims to identify and remove criminal aliens that may pose a threat to public safety. During the program's existence there has been an ongoing controversy regarding possible negative side effects and the reliability of the program as a whole. A new report entitled, "Restoring Community: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE's Failed 'Secure Communities' Program", written by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Center for Constitutional Rights, Asian Law Caucus, and Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and others recommends that the Secure Communities program be terminated. The report includes expert opinions, statistical information and firsthand testimonies that illustrate the flaws and inefficacy of the Secure Communities program. The report cites that the program results in damaging effects on community oriented policing, heightened possibilities of racial profiling, financial hardship for local law enforcement agencies, lessened public safety, and civil rights violations. In order to address these issues the report includes four recommendations: 1. The Secure Communities program should be ended. 2. The current Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General audit of Secure Communities should be completed and the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General should begin an investigation into the FBI’s role in Secure Communities. 3. Criticism of Secure Communities should be applied to inform changes to other ICE ACCESS programs, and the entanglement of local criminal law enforcement and federal civil immigration functions should be stopped and reversed. 4. States and localities should not be compelled to participate in immigration enforcement programs, including the forwarding of fingerprints and other biometric information to the Department of Homeland Security.