This blog reported earlier this month that members of Congress have sought an investigation of the Secure Communities program from the Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General. On May 10, acting Inspector Charles K. Edwards reportedly responded that he plans to review the program to “determine the extent to which ICE uses the program to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens from the United States.”
The inspector expects to conduct the investigation next year. One congresswoman who has raised concerns over the program says an investigation cannot wait until 2012. The program is run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The program requires local law enforcement to share fingerprint information that ids eventually run through an immigration database. Information obtained from fingerprints can lead to deportation and removal hearings in an Immigration court.
The program is reportedly intended as a method of identifying individuals with dangerous criminal records for the purposes of initiating deportation proceedings. Opponents of the program say Secure Communities deportation investigations are sweeping up undocumented immigrants who have not committed crimes. The opponents say the program may be making communities less safe as undocumented immigrants may be less likely to report crimes or admit to having witnessed a crime.
The debate over the program has been intensifying in recent months. State and local law enforcement agencies across the country have been weighing the benefits against the negative aspects of the program as they relate to local law enforcement efforts.
For now, it appears a federal investigation may occur, but the debate over the program continues.
Source: Latino Fox News, “U.S. Inspector General to Investigate ‘Secure Communities’ Program,” Elizabeth Llorente 19 May 2011