Safe Localities Through Cooperation: Why the Secure Communities Program Violates the Constitution

An undocumented immigrant and a single mother, Tatiana arrived in the United States almost eleven years ago. Since then, she has been working very hard to support her three minor children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. She is a maid and a nanny working for minimum wage, as she does not have valid employment documents. Even though her income is small, she says that she is happy living in this country because her children will have a better future here than they would have had living in their home country.

Tatiana has to drive to work. She says that she is scared to get into her car every day because if she gets pulled over by the police for even a minor traffic violation, she may end up in removal proceedings even though she has no past criminal convictions. Tatiana lives in a jurisdiction that has activated the Secure Communities Program (“Secure Communities”). She knows that if she gets deported, her minor children will end up in a foster home. While the stated goal of Secure Communities “is to identify and remove dangerous criminals from local communities,” the data shows that more than fifty-six percent of the removed individuals had no criminal convictions.

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