Photo: Call to Stop Secure Communities Program
Amid reports that the Department of Homeland Security misled local governments to coerce them into participating in the Secure Communities program and ignored concerns with the program’s impact on crime fighting efforts and encouragement of racial profiling to target illegal immigrants, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) released the following statement today in support of Representative Lofgren’s (D-San Jose) call for an investigation into this matter.
“I support Representative Zoe Lofgren’s request for an investigation into statements by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) about whether state and local jurisdictions can opt-out of the Secure Communities program. There is a fog of confusion surrounding this program and the recent release of internal DHS emails has shed light on the fact that DHS has tried to coerce states and localities into participating instead of addressing their concerns about the program’s impact on community policing and crime fighting. In addition to an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department’s Inspector General into the question of state and local opt-outs, DHS should limit the program to individuals convicted of serious criminal offenses.”
“While I strongly agree that serious criminals should be removed from the United States, this program has gone awry and strayed from its mission. It needs fundamental reform and state and local police officers, who are on the front line of crime fighting and protecting our community, should be able to decide whether the program helps or hurts their number one priority of fighting crime.”