“ Immigration muddle ” [editorial, April 10] said that the federal Secure Communities program “has been generally successful in removing illegal immigrants who have committed crimes.” The reality is that the program operates as an indiscriminate dragnet. This is why the District, Arlington, numerous other cities and the governors of New York, Illinois and Massachusetts have opposed the program.
The District is taking the right step in drawing a bright line between local police and federal immigration enforcement. This year, D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) introduced the “Immigration Detainer Compliance Amendment Act of 2011,” which stipulates that the District will only hold someone for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the detainee has been convicted of a dangerous and violent crime. In contrast, the Secure Communities program, which operates pre-conviction, ensnares people who have not been found guilty of a crime or who have committed only minor offenses.
In the District, we work hard to build a diverse and productive workforce and community, and we believe that immigrants are an integral part of that effort. Mr. Mendelson’s effort draws the right balance by ensuring that communities feel safe reporting crimes and cooperating with police. That is what ultimately makes a community more secure.
Nikki Daruwala, Washington
The writer is the executive director of DC Jobs with Justice.