Uncover the Truth: Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Secure Communities Program Leads to Deportations of People Who Have Never Been Arrested

Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Secure Communities Program Leads to Deportations of People Who Have Never Been Arrested, Despite Objection of California Department of Justice

July 3, 2012—Today, advocates released emails from the FBI and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) that show that ICE’s controversial Secure Communities deportation program is sweeping in individuals who have never been criminally arrested, despite objections raised by the California Department of Justice. The emails—which were obtained as a result of Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Cardozo Immigration Justice Clinic—show that people who are unable to satisfactorily identify themselves at drivers’ license checkpoints are processed for deportation through Secure Communities.

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Sacramento Bee: Woman arrested in LA, posed as ICE agent

May 31, 2012, the Sacramento Bee reported:

LOS ANGELES — Sheriff’s officials say a woman suspected of posing as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent to shake down illegal immigrants was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.

Sheriff’s Lt. Adam Ellison says 14 victims reported that Araceli Martinez ordered them to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 in exchange for legal resident status they were never given.

Detectives tried to find Martinez at her home Thursday only to learn she’d left less than an hour earlier to catch a flight to Mexico from LAX.

Ellison says detectives called airport police, who stopped Martinez’s departure shortly before her flight was scheduled to take off.

Martinez is being held on $335,000 bail on suspicion of theft by false pretenses.

A deputy reached by phone did not know if she has hired an attorney. Read more »

HuffPo Latino Voices: California DUI Checkpoint Program Targets Undocumented Immigrants

Escondido, California continues to vie for most anti-immigrant and anti-Latino city in America.  Ugg. Sara Gates reports:

For every drunk driver, Escondido police pick up about 10 unlicensed drivers — a majority of which are undocumented immigrants. DUI road barriers effectively serve as immigration checkpoints in this California town.

According to a new report from KPBS news in San Diego, this policy is one of many recent initiatives by the Escondido police that directly target undocumented immigrants and the Latino population — 49 percent of Escondido’s 145,000 residents.

Other policies include proposed restrictions on food carts and parking in Latino neighborhoods and a 2006 ban on rental properties for anyone without proof of legal residency. However, the later restraint was ruled unconstitutional and ultimately discontinued.

Escondido police paired with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2010 to initiate “Operation Joint Effort,” which instituted dual DUI-immigration checkpoints.

The city is the first in the country to strike up such an agreement with ICE, so that the agency is informed whenever an undocumented immigrant is suspected. ICE also maintains an office at the local police station.  Read more …

San Diego Union Tribune – Poll: Most Californians would let illegal immigrants stay

Kevin Acee writes on March 10, 2012:

The minds of likely voters in California have hardly changed for years when asked about what should happen to illegal immigrants who live and work in the United States, according to a series of state polls.

Since 2007, nearly two-thirds of respondents have continued to say the undocumented who have worked in the country for at least two years should be allowed to stay, keep their jobs and apply for legal status, the Public Policy Institute of California has found. The figure was 62 percent in the latest poll, which was released Wednesday.

The numbers have remained steady despite the switch from a Republican president to a Democratic one, the Great Recession, many high-profile and strident comments about immigration during the current GOP primary contest, last year’s record number of deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the growing debate about a program in which local police help federal agents screen for undocumented immigrants, and Congress’ repeated rejection of the DREAM Act, which would give certain illegal immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship.  Read more …

L.A. Times Reports Los Angeles PD Chief Backs Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Joel Rubin and Paloma Esquivel of The L.A. Times reported on February 23, 2012:

Wading into a divisive, politically charged debate, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that California should issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

The chief becomes one of the most prominent local figures to support the idea that state lawmakers have battled over repeatedly in the last 15 years. And Beck’s stance is certain to further inflame critics who are already angry at the chief for his efforts to liberalize rules on how his officers impound the cars of unlicensed drivers.

“My personal belief is that they should be able to” have licenses, Beck said in response to a question during a meeting with Times’ reporters and editorial writers. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done