JOIN SAS and Community United Against Violence (CUAV) in celebrating May Day by Coming OUT Against S-Comm!!!

    • WATCH a powerful new video of testimonies from CUAV members and other LGBTQ immigrants and domestic violence survivors about the criminalization of immigrants and devastating impact of law enforcement and immigration enforcement collaboration

    • Read about an important victory from a local coalition of LGBTQ, immigrant rights, and labor organizations in San Francisco to resist the implementation of S-Comm;

    • E-mail or call White House LGBT Liaison Gautam Raghavan at (202) 456-7949 in honor of May Day and call on the administration to Stop S-Comm today!

    • March with ALP, FIERCE, QEJ, SRLP, and SAS in an LGBTSTQGNCPOC contingent in New York City!

Say No to ICE’s “Secure Communities” Program


Over 60 national, state and local LGBT groups issued a LGBTQ Statement Calling for an End to S-Comm on Oct 10th in honor of National Coming Out Day.

You’ll find a blog post and link to a petition to the new White House Liaison in LGBT issues here: http://altopolimigra.com/?p=947

The petition link here: bit.ly/scommlgbtq

And the release and original statement all in one place here:

To learn more about S-COMM link here: http://newyorkagainstdeportation.wordpress.com/

Please spread the word through your websites, Twitter, Facebook and e-blasts!

Thanks for Coming OUT against S-Comm with us!

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August 30, 2011

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Organizations Call for the
Immediate Elimination of ICE’s “Secure Communities” Program

On August 5, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton informed governors that ICE would terminate all agreements with states to implement its controversial fingerprint-sharing “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) program, despite previously saying that states and counties could opt-out or modify that agreement. This announcement came as a result of powerful community mobilization throughout the country to challenge S-Comm and expose the harmful consequences of police/ICE collaboration.

LGBTQ immigrants–particularly LGBTQ youth of color, low-income LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ survivors of violence–are disproportionately impacted by S-Comm and all “ICE ACCESS” programs, a set of thirteen federal programs that create partnership between federal law enforcement and local, state, and tribal police and courts. Because of widespread police profiling, selective enforcement, and poverty, LGBTQ immigrants come into high rates of contact with law enforcement, leading to a greater risk for deportation, now made even greater by programs such as S-Comm. Unfortunately, these programs are only the first steps in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) biometric-sharing “Next Generation Identification” (NGI), a massive searchable database of palm print, fingerprint, and iris scans as well as scar, mark, tattoo, and facial recognition that will be accessible across federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. As LGBTQ leaders, activists, and community members, we call on President Obama to take decisive action to eliminate these destructive programs that target and have severe consequences for LGBTQ people, low-income people, immigrants, people of color, survivors of violence, and young people.

How S-Comm Harms LGBTQ Communities:

Police/ICE collaboration further endangers LGBTQ communities and all communities with less access to resources. All immigrants in this country struggle to find safe and secure housing, healthcare, employment, and education while living in fear of deportation. Immigrants who are LGBTQ are particularly vulnerable to detention and deportation because they are more likely to come into contact with law enforcement through police profiling and discriminatory enforcement of minor offenses, as well as through false or dual arrest when they attempt to survive or flee violence. Officials often use excessive force and coercion against LGBTQ people at the scene of arrest, including threats of deportation. Once in jail, prison, or immigration detention, LGBTQ people experience rampant and sometimes fatal sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, mirroring the abuse many face from partners, employers, and neighbors outside.

Police/ICE collaboration programs scapegoat LGBTQ immigrant communities and all marginalized groups of people by labeling them as “criminals.” LGBTQ communities like all marginalized communities face higher rates of poverty, violence, and unemployment. By labeling these communities “criminals,” S-Comm and other similar programs undermine the ability of communities and policymakers to create long-term solutions to these critical issues.

Deporting and increasing surveillance of people does not create safety. Removing people from their homes and communities breaks apart biological and chosen family, drains resources, and creates a culture of fear. In addition to anticipating anti-LGBTQ bias, the fear of being referred to ICE can discourage LGBTQ immigrants from accessing supportive services. Many LGBTQ people face strained relationships with their biological families, and depend on others in their community for support. S-Comm and other similar programs tear at the fabric of these life-saving networks. True safety comes from whole, fully-resourced communities where everyone has the support they need to thrive.

Complex problems require complex solutions. Programs like S-Comm distort and exacerbate the real problems communities face. For example, LGBTQ people often immigrate to the U.S. because of persecution and discrimination in their countries of origin. Upon finding similar discrimination in this country, LGBTQ people often turn to criminalized and underground economies to survive or are profiled or subjected to selective enforcement for minor offenses based on their sexual or gender non-conformity, leading to criminal charges and a greater risk of deportation under S-Comm and other similar programs. Instead of punishing people for their survival, we would be wise to address the underlying lack of economic and educational opportunity, destructive economic policies, and intergenerational legacies of trauma and bias that truly jeopardize our communities.

For these reasons and more, we invite LGBTQ leaders, organizations, and elected officials to join in this critical opportunity to defend the dignity and well-being of our most vulnerable community members and urge President Obama to immediately eliminate S-Comm and all police/ICE collaboration. Click here to endorse this statement.

Please see the 2010 National Report on Anti-LGBT Hate Violence for stories and statistics documenting LGBTQ interactions with law enforcement. If you or someone you know would like to share your experience being impacted by S-Comm or challenging the program, please contact morgan@cuav.org or (415) 777-5500 x318.

GROWING LIST OF ENDORSERS here.

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NDLON (National Day Laborer Organizing Network) and a National Community Advisory Commission published “RESTORING COMMUNITY: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE’s Failed “Secure Communities” Program,” an authoritative report on the failed Secure Communities program. Download available here.

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Press Release from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights on ”S-Comm”:

July 20, 2011
Contact: Laura Rivas (510) 465-1984 ext 304

NNIRR Joins Over 200 Groups in Letter to ICE:
Suspend S-Comm, Reforms are not Enough

NNIRR joined over 200 organizations around the country today to call for a halt to the controversial “Secure Communities” program. In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, civil and immigrants rights organizations, faith leaders, and some law enforcement officials denounced the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) newly-established advisory committee on the ICE’s cornerstone deportation program, also known as “S-Comm.” Over a dozen NNIRR members also joined the call to stop the program and press  for further investigation into widely-reported abuses.

In the wake of mounting criticism against S-Comm, DHS had announced on June 17 the creation of an “Advisory Committee,” comprised of law enforcement, ICE agents, and immigrant rights advocates, who would issue recommendations within 45 days on further reforms to the program.

The concerns cited in the letter to ICE included:

  1. The Advisory Committee was established without public input, was devoid of transparency or accountability, and did not include immigrant community members.
  2. The scope of the committee is limited to recommendations about minor traffic offenses, prompting criticism from law enforcement officials and civil rights groups that this is insufficient in addressing the well-documented problems with the program.
  3. The committee is tasked to develop recommendations within a 45-day timeline, without any consideration of findings by the DHS Office of Inspector General’s pending audit of the program.

“Secure Communities” contributed to the record number of detentions and deportations in 2010. Despite ICE’s claim that the program is designed to keep communities safe, S-Comm has instead served as a vehicle to meet deportation goals of 400,000 people each year. To meet these goals, immigrants are channeled towards deportation regardless of whether or not they committed any “crime,” the degree of severity of legal infractions, how long ago any charges occurred, what kind of rehabilitation has taken place, or what ties they have to communities.
S-Comm is the newest manifestation of the immigration policing regime, in which the criminal justice system is used to “catch” people based on racial profiling, while using the immigration system to nab people based on their actual or perceived immigration status. “The only real fix to S-Comm is to disconnect the line, halt the program altogether, and restore the rights of our communities to live free from discrimination, with dignity and human rights,” said Laura Rivas, coordinator of NNIRR’s human rights documentation initiative, HURRICANE.

A recent story reported to NNIRR by Centro Legal de la Raza revealed the impact of S-Comm: a Bay Area resident, who had with legal status, was detained by ICE for one month due to S-Comm, after local police arrested him on charges which had been immediately dropped. After three court hearings, the man was finally released when DHS realized they had made a mistake and could not actually deport him.

In the meantime, NNIRR affiliates are organizing with groups in several states to raise opposition to S-Comm, still slated to be effective in every county in the country by the end of 2013. Already, several governors and states have demounced the program or are refusing to join.

To read the letter to ICE Director John Morton, click here.

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STOP S-COMM PROGRAM

From the New York Coalition to Stop S-Comm in New York
please take action!

Our goal is to collect the signatures and send the petition to the Governor once we reach a good number, and we hope to do this quickly. Our initial goal is 2500. Please spread the word and encourage your members and others to sign so we can reach this goal! Please click here to TAKE ACTION!

Below is a copy of the NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform faith leaders letter (139 signatures) sent to Governor’s office . We will wait to hear from the NYS Interfaith Network about follow-up actions.

Faith Leaders Letter to Governor Cuomo – SComm

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S-Comm story collection database

If you or anybody you know has been pulled into the deportation system through an interaction with police – please share your story with us here.

Si usted conoce a alguien que ha sido involucrado con el sistema de deportación por causa de la policia—por favor comparta su historia con nosotros aquí.

Also, here is a recent op-ed on S-Comm by coalition member NYCLU.