Villaraigosa: Suspend 'Secure Communities' in California
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has addressed his concerns over the federally mandated Secure Communities immigration enforcement program in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In the letter, Villaraigosa asks Brown to suspend California's participation in the program, which was formed to bring together American deportation efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Villaraigosa writes, "In stark contrast to its name, 'Secure Communities' is in fact perceived by many Angelenos as well as fellow Californians as highly detrimental to the core public safety mission of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and other local law enforcement agencies. By entangling agencies like the LAPD in immigration enforcement, community members are becoming wary of reaching out to police to report crime."
In 2009, ICE Director John Morton called Secure Communities "the future of immigration enforcement" because it "focuses our resources on identifying and removing the most serous criminal offenders first and foremost."
At the time, feds had identified more than 111,000 immigrants with criminal records being held in local jails, according to the New York Times.
"First, community members with no criminal background are being deported and separated from their family," Villaraigosa wrote in his letter. "Second, ICE could have been more forthcoming with local communities in the rollout and implementation of this program."
According to the LA Times:
"States, including Illinois and New York, attempted this year to suspend the Secure Communities program, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said it is a federal information sharing program and that states cannot withdraw.
"Because of this, some local jurisdictions, including Santa Clara County and Cook County, Ill., have chosen to limit cooperation with immigration holds depending on a person’s criminal background. On Wednesday, the ACLU and other immigrant rights and civil liberties groups called on local leaders to follow their lead."
To read the mayor's full letter, click here.
Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?
Or join our email list below to enjoy the weekly Neon Tommy News Highlights.