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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hispanic Affairs Commission calls for end to Sheriff’s Office collaboration with ICE

Hispanic Affairs Commission calls for end to Sheriff’s Office collaboration with ICE

Portland, Ore. -- The Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs (OCHA) has sent a letter to Chair Jeff Cogan of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners expressing concerns over the Multnomah Co. Sheriff's Office’s participation in the "Secure Communities" Program. This voluntary collaboration, they say, “has diminished trust in law enforcement and other County services”, and has “degraded public safety”.

The “Secure Communities” program allows state and local police to check the fingerprints of an individual they are booking into a jail against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration databases. If there is a “hit” in an immigration database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is automatically notified, even if the person has not been convicted of any criminal act.

The critical problem with this program is that immigrant communities that know or believe police are involved with ICE are less likely to go to police for assistance. Crimes go unreported and victims go unprotected when entire communities fear the police. Even legal immigrants fear cooperating with or seeking help from law enforcement if they fear they could somehow be placed into removal proceedings, or if they have family members who are undocumented.

On a positive note, the Multnomah County Commission has endorsed passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act at the federal level. OCHA acknowledged this in their letter. However, the fact that Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is voluntarily collaborating with ICE in a flawed program sends a negative message to the Latino and Immigrant communities.

Although we applaud Multnomah County Commissioners in their support for passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act, CAUSA echoes OCHA’s deepest concerns over the County Sheriff’s collaboration with ICE. We join OCHA in their call for the Multnomah County Commission to request the Sheriff’s office to end their participation in this voluntary program that promotes distrust and fear in our communities.

To read the letter from the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs to the Multnomah County Commission, please link here

Secure Communities, National Immigration Forum


CAUSA Communications Department said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I live in Washington, DC and have been involved with immigration reform issues for some time. I hope that we all fight to pass the Dream Act.

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