March 2, 2011

The Black Community and So-Called "Secure Communities"

Posted by Aja Minor, BAJI Program Associate
March 2, 2011

So-called “Secure Communities”, “S-Comm” or “In-Secure Communities” as it has been dubbed is the most recent attempt of ICE-DHS to control the immigration “problem”. This anti-immigrant program allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement agencies to share all fingerprints processed at local jails. This mandated sharing occurs regardless of the type of crime and even if the charges are dropped. The inaccurately named program, “Secure Communities” was said to have been initiated to target “level one” criminals (kidnappers, drug dealers, murders), but in practice has been successful in targeting jay-walkers, victims of domestic violence, mentally challenged citizens, and those who do not look “American”.

Even if the program was better at targeting level one criminals, it does not warrant the support of the African American community. Black communities in the United States, understand how entrenched in racism, the country’s institutions are. Black people (historically and currently) know what its like to be exploited in the workplace, to fear the police, and to be targeted and racially profiled. Speak to an elder, or someone who has worked with SNCC or Black Panther Party for Self Defense and they will tell you immigrants are being treated the same way we were ( and still are in many places). Speak with someone who is working to stop the gang injunctions in Oakland, they will tell you the tactics are the same. Speak with someone working to bring down the prison industrial complex, and they will tell you the same corporations lobbying to build more prisons are lobbying to build more immigrant detention centers.

“S-Comm” is one of the scariest tactics used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This programs scope is so broad and impacts everyone. Black communities need to stand, in solidarity, with immigrant communities. Only by working together can we ensure that we all have access to citizenship, education, employment and housing!

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