Community Groups Take Action Against Secure Communities on May 11

(Chinese Progressive Association)

Several community groups including the Chinese Progressive Association are taking action on May 11 to protest the recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security to implement the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program in Massachusetts.

Starting May 15, federal immigration officials will have access to arrest data that is shared between local law enforcement and the FBI. Local police routinely send the fingerprints of people they arrest to the FBI for criminal background checks. With S-Comm, the FBI will be able to share these fingerprints with immigration officials to identify undocumented immigrants for deportation, especially criminals and repeat violators of federal immigration law.

According to the Advocates for Human Rights, there are approximately 11-12 million undocumented people in the U.S. They include asylum seekers fleeing persecution, students who overstayed their visa terms, workers who could not get a visa, and family members who came to join their loved ones. While 80% of the undocumented population is from Latin America, 10% are from Asia. As reported by an NPR reporter, Irene Jay Liu, there are 20,000 to 30,000 Chinese immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. .

Data from Advocates for Human Rights further indicates that undocumented immigrants are a crucial part of the U.S. labor economy. For instance, undocumented men have a 96% labor force participation rate. This rate exceeds that of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens, suggesting very high self-sufficiency among undocumented men. Additionally, unauthorized immigrants represent 5% of the U.S. labor force. Much of this labor force participation is concentrated in construction and service sectors. Top economists argue that immigrant labor is vital to our economy and boosts our labor force.

According to Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente, a Latino immigrant organization that is leading the Just Communities Campaign against S-Comm, “…The vast majority of undocumented immigrants are law abiding contributors to this society, but a few isolated, tragic cases have been used to portray all immigrants as criminals and deserving of such harsh and inhuman treatment. Families are being torn apart by S-Comm everywhere that it is being implemented. The majority of people deported by this program do NOT have criminal records. They are not rapists, murderers and thieves as ICE depicts them. They are guilty of a civil infraction, nothing more.”

Speculated outcomes of implementing S-Comm include mistrust between local law enforcers and community members. Immigrant communities may be less likely to cooperate with local law enforcers because local police can now act as federal immigration officers.

What: Action to Say NO! to S-Comm in Massachusetts!
When: Friday, May 11, at 11:00 AM
Where: In front of the Federal Building in Government Center