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MIRAc letter to Gov. Dayton: Veto “Secure Communities” deportation program!

May 23, 2011

Members of MIRAc and the No More Deportations campaign delivered this letter to Gov. Dayton’s office on Friday, May 20th.

May 20, 2011

Governor Dayton,

We are here today representing the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) and the No More Deportations Campaign. We were extremely concerned to hear that earlier this week an agreement to implement the Secure Communities program here in Minnesota had been introduced by Senator Ortman and attached as an amendment to the Omnibus Data Practices bill, SF 1143, passing unanimously and without a public hearing.

As you may already know, Secure Communities (S-Comm) is a fingerprint database that is used to check the immigration status of those who are arrested. Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) claims that Secure Communities will work to deport “dangerous criminals” and reduce racial profiling, and wants to implement it nationwide by 2013.

However, the statistics paint a very different picture. Since the implementation of Secure Communities in 2008, 79% of those deported through the program had either been convicted of petty offenses (such as traffic violations), or had committed no crime at all. 28% of people deported through S-Comm since its implementation have not been convicted of any crime at all, and that number is on the rise. The state of Illinois recently pulled out of the Secure Communities program, and Governor Pat Quinn stated in a letter to ICE “that the implementation of the Secure Communities program in Illinois is contrary to the stated purpose of the MOA… By ICE’s own measure, less than 20% of those who have been deported from Illinois under the program have ever been convicted of a serious crime.”

Secure Communities causes many other problems as well, including:

  • destroys families and communities by increasing deportations
  • increases racial profiling among local law enforcement
  • is part of an unjust national immigration system
  • does not allow due process
  • makes communities more mistrustful of police
  • increases financial and resource burdens on local law enforcement
  • little transparency surrounding S-Comm, ICE misrepresents program

We urge you, on behalf of the immigrant community here in Minnesota, to reject our state’s participation in the Secure Communities program by vetoing SF 1143. Immigrants from many nations form a vibrant part of the fabric of our community here in Minnesota, and implementing S-Comm will only serve to harm our community. In this light, MIRAc has recently launched the No More Deportations Campaign, and we are working to stop ICE-police collaboration on programs like Secure Communities and the Criminal Alien Program in Hennepin County. So far we have collected over 300 signatures on a petition opposing these two programs. We are counting on your support on this critical issue.

Sincerely,
Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee
No More Deportations Campaign

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