"S-Comm" Should Be Ended, Not Extended, Say Leaders at Press Conference: Labor, Faith and Human Rights leaders join immigrants to pledge resistance to an un-American invasion of civil rights
May 10, 2012
BOSTON-- Today at 12:30 p.m., immigrants and their allies from faith, labor, and human rights organizations will gather at SEIU 615 to strongly condemn the May 15 implementation of the "Secure Communities" immigration enforcement program in Massachusetts. The announcement of this federal implementation follows one day after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also announced the immediate implementation of the program in New Hampshire.
"By implementing the dangerous 'Secure Communities' program throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, ICE has acted against the clearly voiced will of the state's communities and the opposition of the Patrick Administration," said John Willshire-Carrera, President of the Board of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). "All fingerprints are already checked with the FBI, and police can also run an immigration check on anyone they fingerprint. But making that process automatic seriously erodes immigrant trust in the police, encourages officers to engage in racial profiling, and continues the erosion of our civil liberties. Simply put, this is an un-American invasion of our privacy for no reasonable benefit."
The program also contradicts the Obama administration's announced intention to focus immigration enforcement on serious criminals. Homeland Security's own statistics show that 30% of those deported had only a misdemeanor conviction, and an additional 26% had no criminal conviction at all. In Boston, almost half of those deported through the program - 49% - had no criminal convictions.
Heloisa Galvao, Director of the Brazilian Woman's Group, said, "The Brazilian Women's Group is shocked to learn federal immigration officials will activate Secure Communities program statewide in Massachusetts on May 15, despite strong opposition from Governor Deval Patrick and advocacy groups. As usual, immigration officials have decided to take action without respect for communities or local authorities. It is a sign of the authoritarian way ICE works. It also shows complete lack of sensitivity and concern for victims of gender violence and other forms of abuse and violence."
Said Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc., "Immigrant victims of sexual and domestic violence are doubly threatened by Secure Communities: first because they might choose to remain in an abusive relationship or violent and unsafe situation, and second because they fear being targeted for deportation if they contact police. So we have to ask ourselves who exactly will be more "secure"? The best way to offer them protection is for Homeland Security to end this cruelly misnamed program."
In the united effort to turn back the program's implementation, a rally is also being planned by the Just Communities/Comunidades Justas Campaign before the JFK Federal Building on Friday from 11am to 1pm, with other events occurring early next week to be announced.
WHO: Speakers Confirmed:
WHAT: Immigrants and Allies Oppose Implementation of Dangerous "Secure Communties" Program
WHERE: SEIU 615
WHEN: 12:30 - 1:00 p.m., Thursday, May 10, 2012
MIRA Coalition (Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition), ABCD Parker Hill-Fenway Neighborhood Service Center, Action for Boston Community Development, INC., ABCD, Agencia ALPHA, Alliance to Develop Power (ADP), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Berkshire Immigrant Center, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Boston May Day Committee, Brazilian Immigrant Center, Brazilian Women Group, Centro Latino Inc, Centro Presente, Chelsea Collaborative, Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Chinese Progressive Association, Comite de Vecinos de Fitchburg, Community Connections of Brockton, Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts (CEDC), Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Dominican Development Center, East Boston Ecumenical Community Counsel, East Boston Ecumenical Community Council, Educationist Movement Foundation, Elizabeth Freeman Center Inc., Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA), Greater Boston Legal Services, Health Care for All (MA), Irish International Immigrant Center, Jane Doe Inc, Jobs with Justice, La Comunidad Inc, Latinos Unidos en Massachusetts (LUMA), MAPS - Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, María Luisa de Moreno International Foundation, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH), Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Metrowest Worker Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Neighbor to Neighbor, New Hampshire Alliance of Immigrants & Refugees (NH AIR), Oiste? The MA Latino CivicEducation Initiative, REACH - Beyond Domestic Violence, SEIU Local 615, The New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA NE), United Interfaith Action, Worcester Immigrant Coalition.