Strongly Worded Letters
Former Comptroller and current mayoral candidate Bill Thompson wrote a letter to President Barack Obama today asking him not to implement the controversial Secure Communities fingerprinting program in New York. The program involves checking fingerprints of people arrested by local or state police in a Department of Homeland Security database that contains immigration records. If an offender is found to be an illegal immigrant police contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which can request for the person to be detained up to 48 hours and taken by federal agents.
“I am writing to ask you to respect the objections of New York State leaders and reverse the position taken by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to fully implement the Secure Communities program in New York,” Mr. Thompson wrote. “Studies show that this program does little to protect our neighborhoods. Instead, it drives many hard-working immigrants into the shadows of our society, thus actually compromising public safety.”
Law & Order
Several New York City Council members want to wade into the battle over Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, SB1070. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Daniel Dromm plan to introduce a bill today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal injunction against the law. SB1070, which was originally signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in April 2010, mandates immigrants in Arizona to carry their federal registration documents at all times and requires police officers to detain those they suspect are here without authorization and verify their immigration status “when practicable.” Three months after SB1070 was passed, the Department of Justice successfully sued in federal court to stop enforcement of the law before it took effect. Arizona appealed the injunction, and on December 12, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case.
“New York is a town founded by immigrants, built by immigrants and today nearly 40% of our population are immigrants,” Councilman Rodriguez said in a statement announcing the bill. ”So when we in the Council see other parts of the country stripping immigrants of their rights, there is no question that we have to act. As the Supreme Court gets ready to decide on the Justice Deparment’s challenge to SB1070, we want them to know that New York City stands with the immigrants of Arizona in saying that this law has got to go.”