Open Letter to the Governor of Connecticut

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Honorable Dannel Patrick Malloy

Office of the Governor, State Capitol

210 Capitol Avenue

Hartford, Connecticut 06106


Dear Governor Malloy:


We write to you to express our alarm regarding ICE’s announced decision to activate Secure Communities (S-COMM) statewide today, Wednesday, February 22nd. We urge you to demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) delay activating S-COMM until Connecticut can develop strict parameters to clarify our participation in the program.

Implementing S-COMM poses a real threat to every state resident, no matter the person’s citizenship or immigration status. S-COMM incentivizes racial profiling, undermines community policing, and burdens Connecticut taxpayers. Many states, including New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and Illinois have denounced the program because it undermines community policing, public safety, and protections against racial profiling.  S-COMM’s goal of reaching “the most dangerous and violent offenders” sounds laudable, but the program’s actual execution has raised many doubts.  DHS has reported that 26% of those deported had no criminal convictions. Illinois has determined that, in reality, less than 20% of those detained there through S-COMM were convicted of serious crimes. ICE is sweeping up victims, witnesses, and bystanders to crimes. In addition, 3,600 U.S. citizens have been wrongly detained under Secure Communities.

Recent events in East Haven have shown that some police departments engage in discriminatory tactics, exceed their authority, and violate civil rights. S-COMM may tempt similarly dysfunctional law enforcement agencies to employ illegal practices that target Latinos and other minorities in misguided attempts to arrest undocumented immigrants.

These actions — actions that S-COMM will facilitate — perpetuate a culture of fear that obliterates the delicate trust that police departments have built up with communities over the years. Individuals may not report crimes to the police because they worry that the police might, in turn, report them to immigration officials, allowing criminals to walk our streets with impunity while innocents pay the price.

In addition, honoring immigration detainers places undue financial stress on local jails. Connecticut taxpayers will have to shoulder the costs of holding individuals while ICE prepares to take them into their custody, including not only detainees’ housing and food, but also hospitalization and accident coverage.

We firmly believe that Connecticut should not support unfunded federal requests that encourage law enforcement officials to violate our civil rights and make our communities less secure. We request that you insist DHS and ICE delay activating S-COMM here until a later date. If ICE refuses to honor your request, we ask that you direct law enforcement officials in the state not to comply with detainers issued under the program. We stand ready to work with your office in the coming weeks to develop guidelines that may allow the program to benefit Connecticut rather than to harm its residents and communities, if that is possible.

Most importantly, however, we encourage you as our Governor to publicly resist the hurried implementation of a deeply flawed program, and to stand for the better government you so clearly called for in your response to the East Haven mayor’s remarks just weeks ago. Implementing S-COMM presents difficult challenges, but we are committed to working together with your administration, local officials, and law enforcement to ensure that our communities are truly safe and secure for all.

Sincerely,

Apostle Immigrant Services

Catholic Social Justice Office of the Archdiocese of Hartford

Center for Youth Leadership

Comunidad de Inmigrantes de East Haven

Connecticut Center for a New Economy

Connecticut Students for a DREAM

IRIS – Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

JUNTA for Progressive Action

ULA – Unidad Latina en Acción

Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at the Yale Law School

Yale College Democrats

 

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, actual Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA. Periodista que cubre eventos de las comunidades latinas en Washington D.C., Maryland y Virginia. Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia. Galardonado en numerosas ocasiones por parte de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP) y otras organizaciones comunitarias y deportivas de la región metropolitana de esta capital. También premiado en dos ocasiones como Mejor Periodista del Año por la cobertura de la comunidad salvadoreña; premios otorgados por la Oficina de Asuntos Latinos del Alcalde de Washington (OLA) y otras organizaciones. Ha sido miembro del jurado calificador en diferentes concursos literarios, de belleza y talento en la región metropolitana. Ha visitado zonas de desastre en Nicaragua, Honduras y El Salvador e invitado a esos países por organizaciones que asisten a personas de escasos recursos económicos. Antes trabajó en otros medios de prensa de Virginia y Washington, D.C., incluyendo reportajes para una agencia noticiosa mundial.

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