Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2011 – In August 2011 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) abruptly terminated its Memorandum of Agreement with participating states, deciding that an agreement is not necessary to allow the Secure Communities Program to start or to operate in any jurisdiction. ICE determined that when state or local authorities voluntarily submit fingerprint information to the federal authorities after booking a person for a crime, no agreement is legally needed to share it with another government entity.
“In a telling reversal, and rather than addressing state and local complaints regarding the Secure Communities Program and how ICE runs that program, ICE simply and unilaterally canceled all Memoranda of Understanding that were in place with 42 states, saying that it was actually unnecessary,” said Dallas immigration attorney Stewart Rabinowitz, of the law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “ICE’s own data shows that almost 60 percent of those foreign nationals identified by the program were not serious criminals, which flies in the face of the stated purpose of the program – catching and removing serious alien felons.”
States and cities complained that the program jeopardized police-community relations instead of catching serious felons. The governors of New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts already oppose the program and the latest ICE decision. ICE says that a state can elect to not receive the information regarding an immigrant’s history. That said, ICE is set to take the Secure Communities nationwide by 2013.
ICE has tried to balance the need for public safety and national security by issuing new guidelines to help victims of domestic violence and their witnesses to not face automatic deportation. ICE has also directed local and state law enforcement to not detain a person for more than 48 hours, and has revised its detainer form for state and local authorities. State and local law enforcement also are receiving new training on an alien’s rights and civil rights in the justice system.
But core damage to local police community relations continues as do complaints, especially when foreign nationals who have no criminal record but are complainants of or witnesses to a crime and who are in the U.S. without status – a civil, not criminal violation – and are then arrested and held for removal, and have not been resolved by ICE’s actions.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Dallas-based Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To learn more, contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney at Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.
Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
14901 Quorum Drive, Suite 580
Dallas, Texas 75254