ICE statements contradict new evidence that Secure Communities deportation program has zero effect on crime rate

Wave of 200+ localities have ended ICE “immigrant holds” to restore trust between local law enforcement & minority communities

September 5, 2014, Atlanta, GA–On Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responded obstinately to news that Fulton County, GA will no longer submit to unconstitutional ICE detainers. ICE spokesperson Vincent Picard referenced public safety and a laundry list of possible offenses immigrants have been charged with to defend the controversial Secure Communities deportation quota program (S-Comm).

The resolution by County Commissioners, passed unanimously on Wednesday evening and pending action by the County Sheriff, is the latest in a wave of over 200 localities rejecting the warrantless ICE detention requests, a key element of the S-Comm program that uses local police to extend a massive deportation dragnet.

In reaction to the news of Fulton County’s resolution and ICE’s remarks, legal and civil rights advocates made the following remarks:

Adelina Nicholls, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR):

“Despite new evidence to the contrary, ICE continues to repeat the same line to defend the failed S-Comm program, stoking fears of dangerous criminals in our midst. Fear is the last resort of a failed federal program that has only served to sow fear and criminalize our communities.

“Just yesterday, the NY Times announced a new study finding that S-Comm has had zero effect on the crime rate. Thus far, ICE has ignored Latinos, minorities and immigrants, will it also ignore the hard facts? The S-Comm quota program does not make us safer; it is an unconstitutional dragnet that puts our community in danger, and it needs to end.”

“Fulton County residents should be proud of their leadership’s common-sense stand for public safety and due process, which unfortunately stands in stark contrast to ICE’s policies today.”

Salvador G. Sarmiento, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON):

“ICE’s comments are bizzare to say the least. If ICE feels that respecting the U.S. Constitution puts its agents at risk, this is yet another reason the failed S-Comm quota program needs to be terminated completely.

“ICE’s comments exemplify all that is wrong with the S-Comm dragnet. ICE has always put forth its fear of a fictitious boogieman to minimize the very real constitutional and public safety concerns of the community, concerns which are actually backed up by hard facts.”

Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU of Georgia:

“ICE’s remarks fall flat when they directly contradict mounting evidence that S-Comm has no effect on the crime rate, and actually alienates community members from local police. One Georgia-specific study published just last month revealed concerning patterns of racial discrimination, indiscriminate targeting of immigrants, and the chilling effect these have had on immigrant interaction with local police.

“S-Comm’s real relevance to public safety concerns is that it undermines the relationship between the local police and the immigrant population, a relationship that is fundamental for effective law enforcement, which benefits all residents in a community. In other words, S-Comm’s only impact on public safety is net negative.”

For more information:

Deportations Don’t Lower Crimes Rates, The Journal of Law and Economics (November 2014)

Prejudice, Policing, and Public Safety: The Impact of Immigration Hyper-Enforcement in Georgia(July 2014)

Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement(May 2013)

Fulton Commissioners Urge Sheriff to Stop Cooperating with ICE

Detention requests warrantless

Stay informed

ACLU of Georgia is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National