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Friday, August 5, 2011

DHS tells states they can't opt-out of flawed program

August 5, 2011

Department of Homeland Security tells states they can't opt-out of flawed program

Salem, Ore. – During a teleconference today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that they are rescinding the Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) on Secure Communities (S-Comm) with states like Illinois, New York and Massachusette that want to withdrawl from the program. DHS maintains that the Secure Communities program is mandated by federal law and that agreements were never necessary. The Department said it intends to implement the program regardless and that it will be made mandatory in 2013. The statement by the Department of Homeland Security contradicts their original position that the program would be optional for cities and states.

CAUSA, Oregon's Statewide Immigrant Rights Coalition, joins with public officials, law enforcement and public safety and immigrant rights advocates around the nation in expressing serious concerns over DHS's and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's continuing to force a program onto states that they recognize as severely flawed.

CAUSA joins with others in calling on DHS and ICE to:

  1. Amend their rules so that states and localities, and not the federal government, decide if Secure Communities is appropriate for them.
  2. Meaningfully address the erosion of public trust in law enforcement created by the Secure Communities Program.  
  3. Address the severe flaws in the Secure Communities Program, as it lacks the internal safeguards to prevent profiling. ICE must also address bias and discriminatory practices that are feeding people into the program.  
Although no jurisdictions in Oregon have signed any letters to opt-out of the Secure Communities Program, there has been serious concerns raised in many counties around the state including Multnomah and Marion. In community meetings,  members of the public have made their serious concerns be known to county law enforcement over the program.

A study recently conducted by the City of Portland Human Rights Commission concluded that, among other disturbing findings, the flawed and costly program makes Oregonians less safe by undermining community trust of police and encourages local police to target immigrants.  During a recent interview with Univision Portland KUNP-TV, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said that a line needed to be drawn between federal immigration enforcement and local law enforcement.

As this controversial program is shrouded in lies and deception, CAUSA maintains that the Secure Communities program must be halted immediately until these and other issues are addressed.


CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit

For more information contact Erik Sorensen, Communications Director at 503-488-0263 or at


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