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Joint Letter to the FBI's Advisory Policy Board Seeking an End to the Secure Communities program.

Joint Letter to the FBI's Advisory Policy Board Seeking an End to the Secure Communities program.

R. Scott Trent
CJIS Designated Federal Officer
Criminal Justice Information Services Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

Dear Mr. Trent,

We, the undersigned, call on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to end its facilitation of the fundamentally flawed Secure Communities deportation program. We urge the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board (APB) to adopt the attached proposal to mitigate the damage this program has done to public safety and community policing. The proposal would respect the wishes of states and localities that chose not to participate in “Secure Communities” and would prevent the implementation of the program in jurisdictions with a documented pattern of civil rights abuses.

Secure Communities is a wide-sweeping deportation program launched in 2008 by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It has been sharply criticized by the governors and state legislators of Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts; local officials from numerous cities and counties, including the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco; dozens of Congressional representatives; many prominent law enforcement officials; hundreds of immigrant rights, criminal justice, and privacy advocates; religious leaders; and community members.

As described in more detail in the attached proposal, Secure Communities has caused widespread controversy because it threatens public safety, encourages racial profiling, undermines community policing, and serves as a deportation dragnet, ensnaring anyone who is booked into police custody.

The FBI plays a large role in Secure Communities by automatically initiating the immigration background check that sets the deportation process in motion for anyone booked into police custody. The CJIS APB approved this process almost two years ago, well before the problems caused by Secure Communities came to light. It is urgent that in the upcoming August 2012 meeting, the APB Working Groups consider the newly disclosed information regarding the fatal flaws in this program, and adopt the attached proposal to mitigate the damage.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please contact Jessica Karp at 213-380-2214 or with any questions or information about the status of this request.