Daphne Eviatar, writing for the Center for Independent Media, reports on the perversely-named “Secure Communities” initiative, in which ICE officals are quoted defending a program that aims to deport those ticketed for so much as a red light. Under this soon to be expanded program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to deport “tens of thousands” of immigrants in 2010. Under the Secure Communities initiative, even a legal immigrant could be deported if accused and not able to hire or enlist legal representation.
Secure Communities “represents a new comprehensive approach to remove all criminal aliens held in the United States prisons and jails.” Even the phrase “criminal aliens” conjures up visions of hooded creatures with sinister intent…and maybe dangling antennae. Little is required to sweep an immigrant into the detention system and classify them as “criminal.” It can be nothing more than an overstayed visa, or being profiled at a 7-11 by ICE officials looking to make quota. It’s all part of a thriving detention industry: DHS projects a budget for new detention centers, including the needed number of arrests (400,000 are planned for next year) to fund and staff said centers. As a result, arrests are made for any infraction, imagined or real, the beds are filled, the lawyers can’t be afforded and aren’t provided, workers and family members are deported, the budgets justified, the checks cut, and the detention center industry looms larger every day.