TOPIC: Immigrations & Customs Enforcement

Immigration reform dreams deferred

Pat Quinn

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the “DREAM Act” into law Monday, legislation that will create privately-funded scholarships for documented and undocumented immigrants to attend public and private colleges in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia reports that Illinois DREAM Act supporters “will continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, noting the new state law is a small but important step forward.” But Washington can’t deal with the federal version of the DREAM Act, much less comprehensive immigration reform. (more…)

Detroit-area Latinos don’t believe ICE

John Morton

Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press reports on Latino leaders’ charges in the Motor City area that the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency has abused and wrongfully racially profiled Latino citizens in Michigan. John Morton — the head of ICE — had agreed to conduct a study on these charges when they were brought up in April. A just-released ICE report, though, calls the charges baseless — and now Michigan residents are questioning the credibility of the federal study.

Illegal immigration and WI dairy farms

Georgia Pabst of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a critical — and flawed — piece Saturday on E-Verify, the joint Dept. of Homeland of Security/Social Security Administration program that makes employers check the citizenship status of their workers. Right now, E-Verify is voluntary — but new legislation would make it mandatory. Pabst implies this would be bad for Wisconsin dairy farmers, the vast majority of of whom employ illegal immigrants. But it could have the positive effect of curbing the exploitation of these workers. (more…)

Obama administration tries to protect undocumented from legal scams

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Georgia Pabst reports that the Justice Dept., Federal Trade Commission, and Dept. of Homeland Security are launching an investigation into notary publics that scam illegal immigrants. Immigrants mistakenly think that the notary publics are licensed attorneys who can help them apply for citizenship status, but there have been cases where these notaries have taken money without providing any authorized legal guidance. The federal effort includes the creation of an online consumer database that will log complaints against notary publics.

ICE program on slippery slope as Los Angeles supports opting out

Homeland Security’s Secure Communities program received another legislative flogging Tuesday when the Los Angeles city council voted nearly unanimously to back legislation allowing cities and towns to opt out of the voluntary program, Paloma Esquivel of the Los Angeles Times reports.

The governors of Illinois, Massachusetts and New York have all refused to sign on to the initiative under which local law enforcement forwards copies of the fingerprints of arrestees to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal officials then determine if the arrestees are in the country legally and if not, detain them and begin deportation proceedings.

The resolution, which was approved 11-1, calls for assurances that the program allows communities to opt out and urges that it focus on “truly dangerous criminals.” The program has come under fire for facilitating the deportation of people were arrested but not subsequently convicted of a felony, and those detained for misdemeanor offenses or infractions such as traffic violations.

Massachusetts joins Illinois in leaving Secure Communities

Massachusetts has become the third state to leave U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secure Communities immigration deportation program joining New York and Illinois. The New York Times’ Julia Preston reports that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is leaving for the same reasons that New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Illinois’ Pat Quinn opted out: the program is not targeting illegal immigrants who are serious criminals, as ICE said it would.

However, the program relies on the FBI and ICE sharing fingerprints collected from local jails and, as I reported on, it is unclear if state governments have the power to stop the FBI and ICE from continuing to share this information. Preston notes that each governor who has pulled out is a Democrat presiding over pretty liberal states. So even if nothing substantial is accomplished by leaving Secure Communities, the Obama administration is being challenged on its immigration polices from the left.

New York leaves Secure Communities

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pulled out of the federal Secure Communities program for deporting illegal immigrants, reports Kirk Semple of the New York Times. Cuomo follows in the footsteps of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the New York governor echoed Quinn’s complaint that the program hasn’t done what U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it would do — target immigrants convicted of serious crimes. Cuomo added that the program compromises public safety, impacting the relationship between law enforcement and the Latino community. (more…)

Bienvenido al Hotel California

Some 1,300 undocumented immigrants, presumably awaiting hearings and deportation on order of federal authorities, will be housed in a privately-owned and -operated prison in Southern California, according to Paloma Esquivel of the Los Angeles Times.

The announcement was made Wednesday and is a result of an agreement between Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the city of Adelanto Calif., and Florida-based GEO Group Inc. (more…)

Federal-state tug of war on Secure Communities program

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on an Arizona law allowing the state to revoke the business licenses of firms that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants, the California state Assembly approved a bill making it less likely such immigrants will be deported, according to Dan Walters of The Sacramento Bee.

The bill, which would first need approval from the state senate as well as the governor’s signature, would allow individual counties to opt out of a deal with the federal government under which arrested individuals are fingerprinted and then checked for immigration status. (more…)

“Secure Communities”: Fingerprints of failure in immigration reform

On May 4, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn wrote a letter to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement stating that Illinois planned to leave Secure Communities, an immigration deportation program where ICE uses fingerprints collected by county jails to apprehend illegal aliens.

The reason for Illinois leaving Secure Communities was simple. (more…)