The “Secure Communities” program, introduced in New York City in May, has made relations between immigrants and local police tense, according to the non-profit New York City-based newspaper The Indypendent.
Under Secure Communities, which was launched in 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation automatically sends fingerprints collected from local law enforcement to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which checks the prints against its immigration databases. Since May 15, ICE has flagged at least 2,100 New York City residents for detainment, according to The Indypendent, though it is unclear if any of those who were flagged have been deported.
Amid worries in immigrant communities that routine calls to the police could turn into run-ins with ICE, elected officials are drafting legislation that would limit local law enforcement’s interaction with federal immigration authorities. In Washington, D.C., the City Council approved a measure that restricts ICE detainers to those convicted of serious crimes, and in New York City, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has promised similar legislation.