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Q&A on Office of Inspector General Reports on Secure Communities Program

In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities and Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities.

Why did the DHS OIG issue these reports?
The reports were issued at the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in April 2011 due to concerns about the implementation of Secure Communities, as well as concerns that DHS misled the public and local officials regarding whether the program was mandatory or voluntary.
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Published On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 | Download File

Summary and Analysis of Office of Inspector General Reports on Secure Communities

In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities and Communication Regarding Participation in Secure Communities. The reports were issued at the request of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in April 2011 due to concerns about the implementation of Secure Communities. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 17, 2012

Aggravated Felonies: An Overview

“Aggravated felony” is a term of art used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for non-citizens convicted of such crimes. Regardless of their immigration status, non-citizens who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” are prohibited from receiving most forms of relief that would spare them from deportation, including asylum, and from being readmitted to the United States at any time in the future. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Mar 16, 2012 | Download File

Government Agencies and E-Verify: Erroneous Results and Misuse Cost Workers Their Jobs

Making E-Verify mandatory—even for government agencies and contractors—could threaten the jobs of U.S. citizens because there are errors in the system and because employers misuse it.

E-Verify is inaccurate.Read more...

  • According to an evaluation by Westat commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 0.8 percent of work-authorized U.S. citizens and legal immigrants received an erroneous “tentative nonconfirmation” from E-Verify. Approximately 0.3 percent of those workers were able to successfully contest their findings and keep their jobs. The remaining 0.5 percent were not able to correct their records and received an erroneous “final nonconfirmation.”

Published On: Fri, Mar 02, 2012 | Download File

Authority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents: An Overview

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was established in 2003 as an arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It combined agents from the U.S. Customs Service, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and agricultural inspectors, who monitor the ports of entry, and the U.S. Border Patrol, who monitor the area between ports of entry. Today, CBP is the largest law enforcement agency within DHS, with more than 58,000 employees. As federal officers, CBP agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation, and arrest powers currently authorized under the law. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 | Download File

Discrediting “Self Deportation” as Immigration Policy

Why an Attrition through Enforcement Strategy Makes Life Difficult for Everyone

By Michele Waslin

The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law went into effect in October of 2011, thousands of school children were reported absent from schools across the state, and workers did not show up for their jobs. In recent months, many immigrants living in the state have confined themselves to their homes, fearful of driving their kids to school, getting groceries, or seeking medical attention. The Alabama State Representative behind the law, Mickey Hammon, explicitly stated that this was the law’s intended effect. He said that the law, HB56, “attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life” and “is designed to make it difficult for them to live here so they will deport themselves.”

Alabama provides a sterling example of the devastating impact of a strategic and systematic plan being promoted by anti-immigrant groups and lawmakers who have jumped on the bandwagon. The plan is called “attrition through enforcement” (sometimes called “self deportation”) and the groups behind it have created a web of federal and state legislative proposals that seek to reduce illegal immigration by making it difficult, if not impossible, for unauthorized immigrants to live in American society. While individual proposals may appear to be relatively benign, they are part of a larger systematic plan that undermines basic human rights, devastates local economies, and places unnecessary burdens on U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants.Read more...

Published On: Mon, Feb 06, 2012 | Download File

The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program: A Fact Sheet

Immigration law is highly complex. Determining which non-citizens are “lawfully” or “unlawfully” present and whether they should be allowed to stay in the United States are complex matters which involve the interpretation of a range of federal laws and regulations, broad policy considerations, and prioritization of existing resources, to name just a few considerations. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 | Download File

The Secure Communities Program: Unanswered Questions and Continuing Concerns

The Secure Communities program, which launched in March 2008, has become a centerpiece of immigration enforcement efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Its rapid expansion coupled with serious concerns about the design, goals, and implementation of the program has resulted in a great deal of controversy.

Under Secure Communities, participating jurisdictions submit arrestees’ fingerprints not only to criminal databases, but to immigration databases as well, allowing ICE access to information on individuals held in jails. While state and local law-enforcement officers are not directly enforcing federal immigration law or making arrests for immigration violations, the transmission of fingerprints allows ICE to tap into information about detainees and make determinations about additional ICE enforcement action.

While some may claim that Secure Communities is an improvement over other federal-local partnerships—such as the 287(g) program, which deputizes state and local police officers to enforce immigration laws through agreements with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)DD DD—the Secure Communities program still faces many of the same criticisms. A Task Force appointed by DHS to make recommendations regarding the program concluded that Secure Communities is fundamentally flawed.DD DD While roughly half of the Task Force members favored a suspension or termination of the program and half believed the program must be continued while reforms are being made, all Task Force members agreed that the program must be reformed.
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Published On: Tue, Nov 29, 2011 | Download File

Checklist for Estimating the Costs of SB 1070-Style Legislation

(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators.  In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or introduced which—like SB 1070—create new state immigration crimes and expand the power of police to enforce immigration laws.  Some state laws would make E-Verify mandatory for all businesses, require schools to check students’ immigration status, or make it a crime to “harbor or transport” unauthorized immigrants.  State legislators who are thinking of jumping on the immigration enforcement bandwagon, however, would be wise to consider the costs of such legislation.  State immigration enforcement laws impose unfunded mandates on the police, jails, and courts; drive away workers, taxpayers, and consumers upon whom the state economy depends; and invite costly lawsuits and tourist boycotts.  These are economic consequences which few states can afford at a time of gaping budget deficits. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Nov 08, 2011 | Download File

Fiscally Irresponsible: Immigration Enforcement without Reform Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the need for fiscal austerity, and a Congressional “super-committee” is currently working on slashing federal spending in order to reduce the deficit. On the other hand, even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just announced a record high number of deportations, some still want to increase federal spending on immigration enforcement; putting more Border Patrol boots on the ground, completing the border fence, and deploying an array of high-tech gadgetry. However, they miss one very important fact: piling on more immigration enforcement without immigration reform is a practical and fiscal dead-end. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Oct 19, 2011 | Download File