Humboldt County, on August 10, 2010, signed onto the Secure Communities Program [S-Comm] with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. The public had no say in the decision to adopt the invasive, unjust, and racist program for Humboldt County; the Board of Supervisors has not elicited public opinion about adopting this program, nor has it done anything to inform the public about it.
What is the "Secure Communities" Program? If you are booked into jail, your fingerprints are taken and forwarded to ICE. The fingerprints are crosschecked with immigration and FBI databases. ICE evaluates each fingerprint scan to see what enforcement action, if any, will be taken against you. Enforcement actions can include arrest by ICE, transfer to ICE custody and/or initiation of removal proceedings (AKA deportation).
How does Secure Communities work? If you are booked into the jail, your fingerprints are taken and forwarded to ICE. The fingerprints are crosschecked with immigration and FBI databases. ICE evaluates each fingerprint scan to see what enforcement action, if any, will be taken against you. Enforcement actions can include arrest by ICE, transfer to ICE custody and/or initiation of removal proceedings (AKA deportation).
What offenses will trigger Secure Communities? In Humboldt County, every offense that results in you going to jail. For example, disorderly conduct, trespassing, petty theft,
obstructing an officer/resisting arrest, and drug offenses are some charges that will be
run through the Secure Communities system.
When will my fingerprints be forwarded to ICE? After arrest when you are being booked in the jail. During booking, the police will interview you, collect detailed biographical information, scan your fingerprints, and take photographs.
Will ICE have my fingerprints if my arrest is dismissed or ruled unlawful? Because your fingerprints are forwarded during booking, ICE will have your fingerprint data even if no charges are ever filed or if the charges are dismissed or if they're ruled unlawful, or if you are simply acquitted (found not guilty after trial).
What if the charges are dropped entirely or dropped to a lower offense? ICE will have your fingerprints because they were transferred when you were booked into jail.
What if I'm a victim of domestic violence and the police arrests both me and my batterer, but the charges against me are later dropped? If you are charged with an offense that is not on the list of exemptions, ICE will retain your fingerprints even after the charges are dropped, because they will have been transferred at the time of your arrest and booking. Currently, there is no way to retract fingerprint data once they are forwarded to ICE, even if the charges are ultimately dropped or the arrest was unjustified.
What does ICE do after they have my fingerprints? ICE evaluates each case to see what enforcement action will be taken. Enforcement actions can include arrest by ICE, transfer to ICE custody and/or initiation of removal proceedings. If the database match is
inconclusive, ICE agents may attempt to interview you by phone, video or in-person to
determine whether you are a noncitizen. After you are booked, ICE agents may ask police
to help them collect information about you so that can determine if you are a noncitizen.
Generally, ICE uses a "detainer" to track you within the criminal justice system. A detainer
is a an ICE form (Form I-247) requesting the police or jail to hold you for an extra 48 hours
after your criminal case has resolved or you have been ordered released from jail so that
ICE can pick you up. Ask police officers, jail officials, or your criminal defense attorney for
a copy of an ICE detainer. If a police or jail holds you longer than 48 hours after your
criminal case has ended, then they are holding you illegally.
Who is most at risk under the Secure Communities program? People with prior
deportation orders, any noncitizen with a criminal conviction or those who have violated
the terms of any visa are at very high risk. Undocumented individuals who entered the
country without inspection arguably will not have any fingerprint information in the DHS
database although ICE may still decide to interview them.
Does this mean that the police are collaborating with ICE? Yes. Although Secure Communities program is a technology program, ICE must rely on local enforcement agents and jails to collect or forward information about your immigration status that was acquired during booking. This means if the Secure Communities database hit isn't clear, ICE will check-in with your local police or jail to see if they can get more information about your status.
Does it do so? Statistically the Department of Homeland Security's own data indicates
that the majority of individuals identified through S-Comm were charged with low level
offenses. Additionally, the program forwards fingerprints at arrest, not at conviction.
(This means that fingerprints are forwarded before there are even charges filed much less, a conviction.)
What should I do if ICE tries to interview me while I am in police custody or in jail? You do not have to speak with ICE agents nor do you have sign any papers. You do not have to answer questions about immigration status. State that you are remaining silent until you speak with your attorney. Make sure you tell your criminal defense lawyer or public defender that ICE has tried to contact you and ask them to evaluate the immigration consequences of any possible plea deal or conviction. Request a copy of the detainer from your criminal defense attorney, police officers or the jail.
Only say: "I choose to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer."
NEVER say where you are from, how or when you arrived here, or that you are not from the U.S.
What if I feel I was targeted for arrest because of my ethnicity or race or experienced other civil rights abuses by police in the name of immigration enforcement? Contact your local immigrants rights organization. In Humboldt, call PARA at 707-502-2746 or Redwood Curtain CopWatch at 707-633-4493. Write a description as soon as you can after the event, and collect information from witnesses, if any. If you remember the names or badge numbers of the jail or police officers who abused you.
The information here was gathered from the Uncover the Truth website.
Letter from Humboldt Sheriff Philp to ICE agents, November 2, 2009 : http://redwoodcurtaincopwatch.net/files/Sheriff_ICE_Nov2009.jpg
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco has created an Advocacy Toolkit to help advocates fight this program. Here it is:
Here is a link to video of a recent charla (discussion/talk) in Humboldt with Angie Junck, Staff Attorney of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center: http://vimeo.com/album/923919. It includes a focus on immigrant juvenile justice policy.
The below letter speaks for itself.
The below letter speaks for itself.
Section 287(g) authorizes the Federal Government to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), provided that the local law enforcement officers receive appropriate training and function under the supervision of sworn U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Under 287(g), ICE provides state and local law enforcement with the training and subsequent authorization to identify, process, and when appropriate, detain immigration offenders they encounter during their regular, daily law-enforcement activity.