AirTalk for June 1, 2011

Opting out of secure communities

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John Moore/Getty Images

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officer prepares an undocumented Salvadorian immigrant for a deportation flight bound for San Salvador.

Imagine you are an illegal immigrant and want to report an act of domestic violence. Would you? A federal immigration initiative introduced in 2008 might make you think twice. Under the Secure Communities Program, the identity of anyone arrested -- not just charged and convicted -- is forwarded to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for possible deportation. Critics say the policy was intended to protect communities from dangerous felons -- instead, they say, it's had a chilling effect on immigrant witnesses and victims. Last week, the California State Assembly voted to opt out of the Secure Communities Program, but the feds argue no such opt-out exists. If the measure passes the state senate, California would become the second state after Illinois to say ‘No’ to the Secure Communities Program. AirTalk is asking: Should local and state jurisdictions be able to opt out of federal immigration enforcement? Do you think initiatives like this create tensions with immigrant communities? Who should be and who should not be subjected to the Secure Communities Program?


Tim Donnelly, California State Assembly (R- 59), former “Minuteman”

Angela F. Chan, Staff Attorney, Asian Law Caucus which co-sponsored this bill giving local governments the right to opt-out of S-Comm

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