New York – In response to yesterday’s announcement that, as part of his new immigration policy, President Obama has terminated the Secure Communities deportation program, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
While Obama’s announced immigration reforms have not gone far enough, the termination of the misguided and dangerous Secure Communities program is welcome news for the millions of individuals and families who have lived for years in fear of being deported. We worked with our allies to fight the roll-out of S-Comm, reveal the destructive results of the policy, and warn of the dangers of turning local police into immigration enforcers. Despite three state governors publicly denouncing the program in 2011, it had continued under the Obama administration until now.
In the past year, numerous localities – including, most recently, New York City – responded to community outcry by passing laws limiting or ending their cooperation with a federal program that tore apart countless families. The termination of the Secure Communities program and President Obama’s announcement of revised immigration enforcement policies to provide temporary relief to many undocumented immigrants are acknowledgments that, while increasing and consolidating law enforcement powers most often leads to racial profiling, due process violations, and other discriminatory and unconstitutional practices, communities can come together and successfully challenge these abuses. The same demands for fairness and justice will rightly be directed at the remaining abuses of Obama’s immigration detention and deportation policies, including the expansion of both individual and family immigration detention and the cruel policies toward Central American refugees.
In 2010, with the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Immigration Justice Clinic of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, demanding records related to Secure Communities. The documents obtained through the lawsuit, which were made public by CCR, NDLON, and the Cardozo clinic fueled calls for an end to the program.