Investigators found no evidence that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials intentionally misled Congress or state and local officials about the controversial Secure Communities program that gives federal immigration authorities access to fingerprints of prisoners in local jails, say two new reports quoted by the Los Angeles Times. Secure Communities began with considerable fanfare in 2008 as a way to find violent criminals who should be deported.
When deportations soared as a result of ICE’s finding minor violations, some agencies sought to back out of the agreements, but were told by ICE that they could not. The acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Charles Edwards, said initial “confusion” inside ICE about whether local approval was needed to join the federal effort resulted in a “lack of clarity” in explaining it to state and local officials. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca.), who requested the reports, said she was “frankly disappointed” that they failed to answer her questions about whether the program encouraged racial profiling or discouraged immigrants from reporting crimes to police.