Rally 12/9/10: Demand Gov. Paterson Withdraw from Unjust Immigration Program

At a rally tomorrow in front of Governor Paterson’s Manhattan Office, the will join dozens of state and local immigrants’ rights organizations to urge the governor to affirm his support for immigrant families by withdrawing New York State from Secure Communities, a misguided federal program that targets immigrants and weakens public safety.

Secure Communities (S-Comm) authorizes Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to obtain the fingerprint data of arrestees in order to check those fingerprints against immigration databases. The program is billed as a public safety measure intended to target dangerous criminals, but records show that in jurisdictions that have already implemented this controversial program, too many of the people deported through S-Comm had committed no prior crimes or were arrested for minor offenses like traffic violations.

In May, New York State secretly signed a memorandum of understanding with ICE paving the way for local law enforcement agencies, like the NYPD, to participate in S-Comm. Should New York City implement S-Comm, immigrants arrested by the NYPD will be put in danger of deportation, regardless of whether the underlying arrest was lawful or not.  Advocates will urge Governor Paterson to rescind that agreement.

S-Comm weakens public safety. Fearing deportation, immigrants will be less likely to report crimes, serve as witnesses or otherwise cooperate with police. It also invites racial profiling. Law enforcement agents may target people who look or sound foreign for minor offenses to check for immigration violations.

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