8:00 AM EST, March 7, 2012
The federal Secure Communities Program requires state and local law enforcement to inform the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency when they make an arrest so that ICE can determine whether the prints of the person in custody match those in a federal database indicating that person is in the country illegally ("Mayor seeks to allay fears of immigrants about police," March 2).
But isn't it protocol for one law enforcement agency to inform another when there is a possibility that person is wanted by another agency or jurisdiction?
The main argument against requiring local jurisdictions to participate in the Secure Communities program is that that illegal immigrants who are witnesses or victims of crime will be afraid to cooperate with police. Yet that's true of anyone who is breaking the law.
Would someone who was wanted for drug possession likely report an assault? Aren't all people who are subject to arrest — and the people around them — anxious to avoid contact with police?
The only solutions that don't give preferential treatment to illegal immigrants are to either ban law enforcement from informing each other about suspects altogether, or ban prosecution of anyone who is a witness or victim of a crime.
Michelle Alston, Baltimore
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