2-29-12: Questioning the Secure Communities Program
A controversial federal immigration program called Secure Communities is now in place throughout all of Maryland. It gives federal immigration officials access to the fingerprints of anyone who is arrested, which they can use to check the person’s citizenship status. The program took effect in Baltimore City and Montgomery County just last week, against the objection of many elected leaders. Secure Communities is already active in the state’s other counties, and is being phased in throughout the country.
Sheilah discusses the program with Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. He was also part of a task force that reviewed the program at the request of the Department of Homeland Securities. Also joining us is Charles Jenkins, Sheriff of Frederick County, which already takes part in the Secure Communities program and the more expansive 287(g) program.
We also talked with Ben in December about a federal program that was piloted in Baltimore and Denver that allowed federal immigration officials to prioritize which cases to close in order to reduce the prosecutorial backlog. It finished up in January; officials recommended closing 366 pending cases. Here, in this web extra, Ben talks about the results of the program: