Newsletter | Fall 2013
Vol. 17, Issue No. 4
The Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s Secure Communities program has been the subject of AI Justice’s scrutiny since its inception. Through ICE’s “Secure Communities” program, biometric data of all persons arrested in the county is passed on to ICE, which runs the data through its databases and issues “detainers” for persons it wishes to take into custody. Detainers routinely are issued prior to resolution of any criminal charges.
Following the spring publication of AI Justice and Florida International University’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy’s, “False Promises: The Failure of Secure Communities in Miami-Dade County,” which analyzed one year of S-Comm arrests in Miami-Dade County, AI Justice and community partners launched a campaign to end Miami-Dade County’s participation in the S-Comm program. AI Justice and its allies disseminated the findings of the report, which included: (1) the vast majority of persons targeted were not serious criminals as ICE contends, and either had committed no crime or a minor offense such as a traffic violation; (2) many arrested and jailed under the S-Comm program were the primary breadwinner in the family, which adversely affected countless minor children; (3) the S-Comm program destroys trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, causing significant underreporting of crime in minority neighborhoods throughout the County; and (4) the County was spending millions in unreimbursed county taxpayer dollars jailing thousands of immigrants who posed no risk to public safety. On September 10, 2013, AI Justice hosted a news conference regarding the actual cost of S-Comm in Miami-Dade County, which was approximately $12.5 million.
As a result of this campaign, in October 2013, Miami-Dade County became the first county in Florida to end its participation in the S-Comm program by refusing to allocate funding for the program. AI Justice is working with a coalition of organizations to formalize this decision with a Board of Commissioners resolution and are presently meeting with County Commissioners to enlist their support.