A report by scholars at Cardozo and Berkeley paints a damning portrait of Secure Communities. Aarti Kohli, Peter L. Markowitz, and Lisa Chavez, Secure Communities by the Numbers: An Analysis of Demographics and Due Process (October 2011). Secure Communities, the Obama Administration’s signature immigration policing program, takes fingerprint data submitted by local law enforcement agencies to the FBI and runs them through the Department of Homeland Security’s IDENT database to try to identify people who are either undocumented or at risk of losing their right to remain in the United States if convicted of a crime.
Examining data acquired from DHS through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the report’s authors found some disturbing but not particularly surprising (at least not to this frequent critic of immigration policing). The report’s conclusions can be summed up as follows: young Latinos are imprisoned and removed at rates higher than is true of immigration policing generally.
Here are some of the report’s highlights: “approximately 3,600 US citizens have been apprehended by ICE” through S-Comm (at 4); “39% of the people identified for deportation by ICE in our study reported having a U.S. citizen family member” (at 5); “93% of the people identified for deportation through Secure Communities are from Latin American countries,” compared to 53 percent of the foreign-born population of the United States as a whole and 77 percent of the undocumented population (at 5-6); 83 percent of individuals identified through S-Comm were detained pending removal proceedings compared to 62 percent of all people apprehended by DHS (at 7); “individuals in our sample population spent an average of 28 days in detention and 28% spent more than one month in detention” (at 7); and 27 percent of people identified through S-Comm were charged as removable under a crime-based ground (at 9 tbl.3).