Federal “Secure Communities” Program To Become Mandatory

National papers are reporting a leaked memorandum that indicates the federal Secure Communities program will become mandatory effective 2013.

From the Los Angeles Times report:

Two years after the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program was implemented, federal officials determined that choices available to local law enforcement agencies that wished to decline or limit their participation would be “streamlined” or “eliminated,” making the information-sharing program mandatory, according to a memo recently made public.

Launched in 2008, Secure Communities was promoted to local and state leaders as a way to focus immigration enforcement efforts on “serious convicted criminals.” But the program, which involves the FBI sharing fingerprints collected from county jails with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has come under fire because a large percentage of immigrants caught up in the system were never convicted of a crime or were low-level offenders.

Federal officials initially said there were ways for state and local officials to drop out of the program. This assertion was repeated by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Assistant Atty. Gen. Ronald Welch.

The memo itself has been made available by the online site Politico. It was dated October 2, 2010 but its contents were only recently made public.

Click here to read the original ICE memorandum.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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