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SECURE COMMUNITIES PROGRAM SPREAD TO WEST VIRGINIA

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On October 26, 2010, the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) implemented Secure Communities to all the counties of West Virginia this past October.   Secure Communities is ICE’s new system of mainly using biometrics to identify immigrants that are in the U.S. illegally and/or are guilty of committing crimes.

 ICE is now working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI to identify criminal immigrants.  For example, when someone gets fingerprinted for a crime and their fingerprints match the fingerprints that are in the DHS biometrics system, the DHS will report this to ICE.  ICE will then take action, regardless of whether the immigrant is legally or illegally present in the U.S.  Priority will be given to dealing with immigrants who have committed the worst offenses, such as murder, rape, and kidnapping. 

Secure Communities was first implemented in October of 2008 and, since then, has enabled ICE officers to deport 46,800 immigrants convicted of criminal offenses.  Now with Secure Communities extending to West Virginia, the program is active in 746 districts in 34 states.  ICE is expecting to have this program extended nationwide by 2013. 

Although ICE claims that this program is a great success that is subject to much debate.  It’s a very controversial issue because it has no regard for family unity.  ICE officers are arresting and deporting immigrants who have committed minor and non-violent crimes.  This program has been abused and not monitored properly.  It is also alarmingly secretive – like something out of Gulag Archipelago.

ICE has repeatedly indicated that Secure Communities is not a mandatory program.  It has also indicated that it intends to implement the program in every jurisdiction by 2013. Those communities currently threatened by this program can choose to opt out of the program.

If you know someone who is being held in an ICE detention center as a result of being charged with a crime, please contact BOILA to see what types of relief may be available to that immigrant. 

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