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Overzealous ICE: 3600 U.S. citizens arrested through ICE’s secure communities program


A study by University of California, Berkeley Law School shows that the secure communities program–an agreement between ICE and state authorities to share fingerprint data with anyone that is arrested, regardless of whether they are ultimately convicted of a crime–is fatally flawed and results in egregious injustices.

For example, the study found that: “approximately 3,600 U.S. citizens have been apprehended by ICE from the inception of the program through April of 2011.”

A summary of study’s findings state that Secure Communities:

  • Leads to costly mistakes: Approximately 3,600 U.S. citizens have been arrested by ICE through the program.
  • Affects American families: More than 1/3 of those arrested through the program have a US citizen spouse or child.
  • Disproportionately affects Latinos:  Latinos make up 93% of those arrested through S-Comm—disproportionately more than their 77% of the unauthorized population.
  • Results in a lack of due process and violation of civil rights:  Only 24% of those arrested through Secure Communities who had an immigration hearing were represented by an attorney—far less than the 41% of all immigrants in immigration court who have lawyers. They are more likely to be placed in detention, spend more time in detention and are unlikely to get out on bond.
  • Does not result in relief: Only 2% of those arrested through S-Comm were granted some form of relief from deportation, compared to 14% of all immigrants in immigration court who are granted relief.

Each time ICE unlawfully arrests a U.S. citizen, a grave injustice occurs. Yet this is rarely reported in the mainstream news or confronted by the major political parties.

From an anecdotal standpoint, I have seen Secure Communities used as a pretext for local law enforcement officials to make unlawful arrests of any individual he suspects of being in the country illegally.

This study, combined with the inherent conflict of interests between local law enforcement’s priority of maintaining public safety and ICE’s of enforcing federal immigration law, is a clear sign that Secure Communities is causing more harm than good and should be scrapped to stem the daily injustices it creates.


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