Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2011
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has written to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to suspend California’s participation in the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.
In his letter, written this month, Villaraigosa said issues with the program “have been and remain significant.”
Under Secure Communities, which began in 2008, fingerprints collected by state and local police are shared with immigration authorities to identify and deport tens of thousands of people each year.
The program was initially promoted as a way to target serious convicts for deportation, but it has come under fire because a large percentage of immigrants caught up in the program were never convicted of a crime or are low-level offenders. The American Civil Liberties Union this week pointed to four U.S. citizens who it said were illegally detained as a result of Los Angeles County participation in the program.
States, including Illinois and New York, attempted this year to suspend the Secure Communities program, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said it is a federal information sharing program and that states cannot withdraw.