Though the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) controversial Secure Communities program reportedly aims to deport illegal immigrants with criminal records, more than 30 percent of those deported under this program have never been convicted of any crime, much less a serious one. With the unanimous passage of the Trust Act in May 2013, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass legislation limiting its participation in the Secure Communities program, a massive federally-run program launched in 2008.
Under the program, the fingerprint records of every person booked by local police can be checked against both Department of Homeland Security and FBI biometric databases. The invasive program has resulted in widespread racial profiling by police officers and further degradation of community trust in law enforcement.
Earlier this month, despite its resistance, the city of East Haven, Connecticut settled a lawsuit to further limit their police department’s participation in the enforcement of civil immigration laws, making it the first jurisdiction in the state to decline to enforce any immigration detainers. With the help of Yale law students and the Worker and Immigration Rights Advocacy Clinic, nine East Haven citizens received justice after enduring police brutality, unlawful searches and seizures, and illegal detention, among other harms.
With the establishment of Policy 428.2, East Haven has adopted some of the most rigid constraints on immigration enforcement of any city in the United States. The decision in East Haven has been welcomed by local immigration organizations and advocates throughout the state, which are calling for an expansion of Connecticut’s Trust Act, signed in 2013.
For more information about how immigration enforcement has become a pretext to undermine the biometric privacy of US citizens, or action opportunities to protect biometric privacy where you live, email firstname.lastname@example.org.