New Haven Rejects Immigration Crackdown Program

Feb 20, 2012

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, announced it will roll out a program called Secure Communities in the state this week. In New Haven, community leaders are calling on Governor Dannel Malloy to reject the initiative.

Local police departments already share arrest and fingerprint information with the FBI. Under Secure Communities, the FBI would automatically send those fingerprints to ICE to check against its immigration database. ICE can then ask the city or state to hold an individual in detention based on their status. ICE says the program is meant to target the most dangerous individuals.

But New Haven's Mayor John DeStefano says the program is a threat to community policing -- and the safety of Connecticut's cities.

"The Federal Department of Homeland Security is about to make New Haven less safe and less secure in undermining our police relationships with a significant and large part of the city's population."

DeStefano and others call the program unconstitutional. They say it would encourage racial profiling and undermine city and state's power to police themselves.

Fairfield County is the only jurisdiction in Connecticut where Secure Communities is currently in effect. Yale Law School's immigration clinic found that 71 percent of people deported from that county under the program had either no criminal record -- or were first time offenders.

Governor Malloy has asked for an ongoing review of the program. For now, each ICE detention request will be considered on a case by case basis.