The Obama Administration continued the spread of the “Secure Communities,” program now available in most border counties in the U.S. This flawed and failed program which is said to be targeting “criminal aliens” continues to prove itself ineffective and a source of community and family separation and economic turmoil. In fact, this blogger gets the feeling that it is “Operation Wetback” all over again.
Operation Wetback was a 1954 operation by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to remove about one millionillegal immigrants from the southwestern United States, focusing on Mexican nationals.
Back then, they didn’t use “criminal” status, it was just a fear-ladened series of sweeps in Latino communities in which citizen and not were thrown out of the country. Then again, given the statistics coming from ICE, there isn’t much “criminal alien” deportation going on, either.
The effort began in California and Arizona, and coordinated 1075 Border Patrol agents, along with state and local police agencies, to mount an aggressive crackdown. Tactics employed included going as far as systematic police sweeps of Mexican-American neighborhoods, and random stops and ID checks of “Mexican-looking” people in a region with many Native Americans and native Hispanics. In some cases, illegal immigrants were deported along with their American-born minor dependent children.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Harris County Sheriff’s Department has boasted its 20,000 hand-overs to ICE, but has failed to specify the number of “Level 1” offenders (the most dangerous) it has detained. Instead, they put some jail lieutenant on TV using phrases like, “…you don’t come into MY country…” and boasting about his love of causing deporations. It’s quite shameful, actually.
In Austin, Travis County, Texas, 82% of hand-overs are considered non-criminals.
And let’s remember here, being undocumented is not a crime, it is a violation of a federal civil statute, kind of like those damn Red Light Cameras and parking tickets are violations of local statute. Yet, this country has the largest police force (20,000) for the purpose of seeking, detaining, and deporting people who simply do not have a piece of paper. Even so, it must use local cops to do their job, which detracts from actual crime-fighting and community safety.
Unfortunately, heroic cities, such as San Francisco, who have refused to implement this program will be forced by the Obama administration to implement “Secure Communities” by 2013.
“ICE essentially throws a gill net over the concept of immigration reform. It sweeps up all the little people along with what they say is their intention, which is to deport serious and violent criminals,” said San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey, whose city is having trouble getting out of the program. He said people picked up on traffic violations, whose charges are later dropped, still get deported.
From a political standpoint, Democratic administrations are in charge. Although we see Debbie Riddle’s freak-out on Anderson last night, we still remember who exactly is in charge.
As someone who enjoys GOTV work, it just makes the job of selling Democrats that much tougher.