By Jim Kouri
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Friday implemented several changes to weaken their Secure Communities Program, an initiative that keeps American neighborhoods safe by identifying illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody who have been arrested and fingerprinted, according to House GOP lawmakers.
Among these changes, ICE will not take enforcement action against those charged with minor traffic violations if they have not been previously convicted of other crimes. This means that an illegal immigrant previously arrested for a serious crime, such as murder or rape, but not convicted would be cut loose under ICE’s new policy.
ICE also indicates that it could punish states and localities that are serious about the enforcement of federal immigration law by reviewing the number of illegal immigrants identified by Secure Communities in each jurisdiction and possibly taking action if the number is too high.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) blasted the changes made to Secure Communities by DHS and ICE officials and released a biting statement.
“The Obama administration’s decision to weaken Secure Communities proves that they are not interested in the enforcement of our immigration laws. Secure Communities is an important and effective immigration law enforcement program that identifies illegal and criminal immigrants in police custody. The program doesn’t ask race or ethnicity — it merely checks the legal status of each person arrested, fingerprinted, and booked in jail,” noted Rep. Smith.
“[T]his common sense program has fallen prey to the Obama administration and pro-illegal immigrant lobbying groups for one reason and one reason alone: Secure Communities works,” Smith claims.
“It’s outrageous that the Administration will now penalize local law enforcement agencies that identify too many illegal and criminal immigrants through Secure Communities. Why should they be punished for protecting their communities? It’s ironic that the Obama administration seeks to punish local law enforcement for doing their job while the Administration blatantly neglects their own responsibilities,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“The Administration’s changes to Secure Communities make our communities less safe and put American lives at risk. The Obama administration should put the interests of Americans first, not those of illegal and criminal immigrants,” Rep. Smith said.
“It’s clear that Obama’s sympathies are with the illegal aliens entering the U.S. He’s all but told U.S. immigration and border officials to stop enforcing the law. This is just another message from the Obama Administration to Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to not be too zealous in doing their jobs,” claims former New York City Detective Jeff Knudson.