Contact: Jennifer Piper, AFSC, JPiper@afsc.org
As SCOMM hits immigrant communities in Colorado, advocates demand end to the program.
Aurora, CO – As the controversial Secure Communities program became active in Colorado this week, advocates from the CIRC End Unjust Enforcement working group: Rights for All People, Together Colorado, American Friends Service Committee, and the Colorado Progressive Coalition, gathered outside the GEO Immigrant Detention Facility in Aurora to show their opposition to the program.
“SCOMM targets vulnerable populations and allows for racial profiling of those with minor traffic violations; this is a devastating reality for our members.” Said Gerardo Noriega, a member of Rights for All People (RAP) in Aurora. “SCOMM furthers the connection between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration officials, which creates fear and mistrust from the community towards law enforcement. We need real solutions which help create a Colorado where community policing thrives and unites all residents, not programs which target our communities and allow local officials to take on roles of immigration enforcement.”
Advocates worried that domestic violence victims will no longer be protected by state law. As the recent Glenwood Springs Post Independent story showed, undocumented victims of violence often suffer twice when they call the police and get pulled into the detention and deportation system.
Justin Valas, of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said: "We've seen much of the damage that collaboration between police and ICE has already had – adding this flawed program across the state further erodes community trust and safety. The expansion of SCOMM is an open assault on our communities."
Secure Communities pulls people in by targeting them for deportation based on arrests, not convictions. This structure allows for bad actors, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, to conduct sweeps in Latino and immigrant communities and use the Secure Communities program to avoid what would otherwise be charges of racial profiling.
"Community members across the state of Colorado are committed to ending racial profiling, not encouraging it. “ Said Mu Son Chi, Racial Justice & Civil Rights Program Director at the Colorado Progressive Coalition. “Programs like SCOMM devastate hard working families and make our communities less safe by encouraging racial profiling, a tactic well known to be ineffective and unjust. It is time to end SCOMM."
Secure Communities destroys trust between well-meaning law enforcement and the community. This trust often takes years to build, and is the main reason so many law enforcement officers were against this program. SCOMM is insidious in the way it destroys trust for law enforcement and separates the most vulnerable among us from any source of support or help.
“The American Friends Service Community has offices around the country. From Boston to San Diego we have heard the same testimonies in the community describing the sweeping dragnet that SCOMM represents. This program has not produced a drop in crime or evidence that our communities are actually secure.” Summed up Jennifer Piper, of the American Friends Service Committee. “ Instead our communities are weakened as key members are swept into deportation by ICE’s rogue tactics. Here in Colorado this is particularly true as we see case after case of long term community members being detained and deported in paramilitary style home raids and through partnerships with local jails. Enough is enough. End it, don’t mend it.”