John Morton, head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has confirmed that the “Secure Communities” initiative where local police share fingerprints with federal immigration authorities is mandatory, not voluntary. Some local governments have attempted to opt-out of the program citing costs and basic human rights concerns. This is an about-face for the agency because ICE initially provided instructions to local communities on how to opt-out of the program. Although ICE maintains their position of no opt-outs, many local communities still plan on attempting to opt-out of the program.
This is an alarming development and trend. It was made clear by statements and letters leading up to the enactment of the Secure Communities program that local government would have the right to opt-out of the program. Now that it is in place, these local governments are being told by ICE, Department of Homeland Security, that they have no choice but to participate. This affects cities such as Miami, Florida and the Miami Immigration Lawyers who practice there.