ICE: June 2011

The following text was copied from “What’s New” section of the “Secure Communities” page at the website of “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement” (ice.gov) on June 25, 2011. The text, which is undated online, appears to present evidence of significant changes in the administrative framework of immigration enforcement activities.–gm


Secure Communities has proven to be a critical tool for carrying out ICE’s enforcement priorities. To continue to improve the program, DHS and ICE are committed to addressing concerns that have been raised about its operation including:

  • Limited Removal Resources: Currently, ICE receives an annual appropriation from Congress sufficient to remove a limited number of the more than 10 million individuals estimated to be in the United States unlawfully. As Secure Communities is continuing to grow each year, and is currently on track to be implemented nationwide by 2013, refining the program will enable ICE to focus its limited resources on the most serious criminals across the country.
  • Community Policing: Some law enforcement agencies have expressed concerns about whether Secure Communities could have an impact on witnesses and victims of crimes coming forward to report criminal activities in their communities. Given the importance of community policing, ICE is instituting additional training to ensure that law enforcement officers understand the goals and priorities of the program.
  • Civil Rights: As with all enforcement programs, there is a need to ensure that the civil rights of those who interact with law enforcement are protected. As Secure Communities matures into a national program, ICE is taking additional steps to ensure that it can execute its mission while continuing to respond to any potential civil rights concerns.

These additional safeguards will further protect the program from those who may undermine ICE’s enforcement priorities or engage in racial or ethnic profiling:

  • Advisory Committee & Minor Traffic Offenses: ICE is creating a new advisory committee that will advise the Director of ICE on ways to improve Secure Communities, including making recommendations on how to best focus on individuals who pose a true public safety or national security threat. This panel will be composed of chiefs of police, sheriffs, state and local prosecutors, court officials, ICE agents from the field, and community and immigration advocates. The first report of this advisory committee will be delivered to the Director within 45 days and will provide recommendations on how ICE can adjust the Secure Communities program to mitigate potential impacts on community policing practices, including how to implement policies stopping the removal of individuals charged with, but not convicted of, minor traffic offenses who have no other criminal history or egregious immigration violations.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion: ICE Director Morton has issued a new memo providing guidance for ICE law enforcement personnel and attorneys regarding their authority to exercise discretion when appropriate – authority designed to help ICE better focus on meeting the priorities of both the agency and the Secure Communities program to use limited resources to target criminals and those that put public safety at risk. This memo also directs the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that victims of and witnesses to crimes are properly protected. The memo clarifies that the exercise of discretion is inappropriate in cases involving threats to public safety, national security and other agency priorities.
  • Training for States: ICE and the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) have developed a new training program for state and local law enforcement agencies to provide more information for state and local law enforcement about how Secure Communities works and how it relates to laws governing civil rights. The first set of training materials can be accessed here.
  • Protecting Victims & Witnesses of Crimes: At the direction of Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, ICE, in consultation with CRCL, has developed a new policy specifically to protect victims of domestic violence and other crimesand to ensure these crimes continue to be reported and prosecuted. This policy directs ICE officers to exercise appropriate discretion to ensure victims and witnesses to crimes are not penalized by removal. ICE is also working to develop additional tools that will help identify people who may be a victim, witness, or member of a vulnerable class so officers can exercise appropriate discretion.
  • Detainer Policy: ICE has revised the detainer form ICE sends to local jurisdictions to emphasize the longstanding guidance that state and local authorities are not to detain an individual for more than 48 hours. The form also requires local law enforcement to provide arrestees with a copy, which has a number to call if they believe their civil rights have been violated.
  • Data Collection:
    • ICE and CRCL have created a new complaint system whereby individuals or organizations who believe civil rights violations connected to Secure Communities have occurred can file a complaint. For example, CRCL will investigate complaints of ethnic discrimination by policing jurisdictions for which Secure Communities has been activated, and DHS will take steps to ensure that bias or other abuses do not affect immigration enforcement.
    • ICE and CRCL have created an ongoing quarterly statistical review of the program to examine data for each jurisdiction where Secure Communities is activated to identify effectiveness and any indications of potentially improper use of the program. Statistical outliers in local jurisdictions will be subject to an in-depth analysis and DHS and ICE will take appropriate steps to resolve any issues.

    See also ICE training video uploaded June 20, 2011: “Secure Communities Briefing #1: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know”


    Also copied on June 25, 2011 from ICE Fact vs Fiction:

    Fiction: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is aggressively dismissing cases.

    FACT: Media have suggested that ICE is aggressively dismissing cases based on adirective from Director Morton. This just isn’t true. ICE enforcement is alive and well. For two years in a row, ICE has removed a record number of illegal aliens from communities across the United States. The agency focuses limited resources on three high priority areas—the identification and removal of criminals and national security threats, fugitives, and recent border entrants and others who game the system. Last year, ICE removed substantially more criminal aliens than ever before.

    On Aug. 20, 2010, Director Morton issued a memorandum that allows for the dismissal of a very narrow category of cases. The memorandum applies only to individuals who are about to receive an immigration benefit—namely lawful permanent residence—from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is not backdoor amnesty. By dismissing these cases, ICE attorneys can use limited time before immigration judges to seek removal orders against aliens who are not about to receive a green card and can be removed from the country. Pursuing removal orders for aliens who are about to become lawful permanent residents doesn’t make sense in terms of time or resources.

    Fiction: ICE is pro-amnesty.

    FACT: ICE does not engage in “backdoor” amnesty. For two years running, ICE has removed more aliens than it did under the prior Administration. In addition, ICE has removed more criminal convicts than ever before—rendering ICE’s enforcement profoundly relevant to public safety. The agency also celebrated record-breaking enforcement against employers who violated the law. In fiscal year 2010, ICE arrested an unprecedented number of employers for illegal hiring and audited the records of more employers than ever before. ICE is committed to tough, sensible enforcement.

    Fiction: ICE issues secret memos advocating administrative amnesty.

    FACT: ICE is clear and upfront about its policies and procedures. ICE is not engaged in amnesty and the removal numbers speak for themselves. ICE has proceeded openly and candidly when considering policy changes. For instance, ICE posted a draft policy related to immigration detainers and solicited views from employees, Congress, law enforcement agencies and the public at large. ICE aims to be transparent in its decisions and policies and has not circulated or entertained secret memoranda about administrative amnesty.  Beyond that, the agency’s record of continued and serious enforcement speaks for itself. A summary of policy reforms can be viewed at ICE.gov.

    Fiction: ICE is anti-enforcement.

    FACT: ICE is serious about tough, sensible enforcement, and the facts speak for themselves. In a world of limited resources, ICE pursues rational priorities, namely public safety, border security, national security and maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.

    For two years running, ICE has removed more aliens than it did under the prior Administration. Additionally, ICE removed 70 percent more convicted criminals than it did in 2008 under the prior Administration.

    ICE is serious about enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. ICE officers, attorneys and personnel report to work each day to advance the agency’s enforcement mission. ICE’s success is evident when criminal aliens are identified and removed from the United States rather than being released to our communities. Undoubtedly, ICE enforces the law—day in and day out.

    Fiction: ICE runs secret detention facilities.

    FACT: ICE is committed to transparency. This year, ICE launched an Online Detainer Locator System on its website, ICE.gov. Interested parties, counsel and family members can use this system to locate detainees. Additionally, visitors can find answers to frequently asked questions, locations of detention facilities, as well as contact information for the facilities on ICE.gov. ICE does not have any secret detention facilities.

     

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