STATEMENT BY UNDERSECRETARY FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE MIKE LAWLOR
Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, today released the following statement on the Federal Department of Homeland Security’s decision to activate their “Secure Communities” program statewide in Connecticut:
“While we are very mindful of the need to enhance public safety, there are legitimate concerns when it comes to the implementation of the Secure Communities program. Six months ago, when the Department of Homeland Security announced that Secure Communities was scheduled to go “live” statewide in Connecticut, Governor Malloy asked for and received a delay in the activation because of these concerns.
“What this program does is it essentially converts local law enforcement officers into defacto agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE). The Governor shares the opinion of many police chiefs that this policy could lead to a situation where victims and witnesses in the immigrant community would be reluctant to cooperate with local and state law enforcement, something that would completely undermine the goals of this program.
“The Governor has asked Department of Corrections Commissioner Leo Arnone to create an ongoing review of how this program is implemented and what the ramifications are, and see what if any corrective action is needed going forward. Decisions on how to respond to each request will be made on a case-by-case basis.
“As the report itself says: ‘DHS must ensure its immigration enforcement resources are focused on the removal of those who constitute our highest priorities, specifically individuals who pose a threat to public safety such as criminal aliens and national security threats, as well as repeat immigration law violators and recent border entrants. In fact, the expenditure of resources on cases that fall outside our enforcement priorities hinders our public safety mission by clogging immigration court dockets and diverting resources . . . .’”
For more information on the Task Force’s report, click here. DHS’s program will begin on Wednesday, February 22nd.
ps: Sorry for the gap in blogging - I have been in away and on a different set of issues.