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PORTSIDE  August 2011, Week 5

PORTSIDE August 2011, Week 5

Subject:

Chicago Says NO to Erroneously Named "Secure Communities" Program

From:

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Date:

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 02:23:31 -0400

Content-Type:

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Chicago Says NO to Erroneously Named "Secure Communities"
Program
By: Shelly Ruzicka, Arise Chicago
Dignity at Work
Workers' Struggles for Dignity in Chicago and Beyond
August 19, 2011
http://dignityatwork.wordpress.com/

Yesterday undocumented youth in Chicago led hundreds of
families, allies, and religious supporters in a large
demonstration protesting the Department of Homeland
Security's "Secure Communities" program, or S-Comm.
Hearings have recently been held across the country
after ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Director
John Morton stated that the program would be mandatory.

Not long ago, Illinois joined other states to opt-out of
the voluntary program which required local police to
fingerprint anyone they stopped and send that
information to ICE. Shortly after Governor Quinn signed
the bill opting out of S-Comm into law, Morton stated
that the program would no longer be voluntary but
mandatory, thereby negating the will of states to
abandon the program which many say lead to racial
profiling and distrust of police.  Communities and
county sheriffs have stated that "Secure Communities"
has led to a greater disconnect between police and
immigrant communities.  People who witness crimes are
afraid to go to police out of fear they may be
questioned, fingerprinted, and deported.  Women don't
report domestic violence for the same reason.  Workers
are afraid to drive to their jobs or to pick up their
children from school out of fear of being pulled over
for a busted tail light or a cop who has been compelled
to target "foreign" looking drivers.

Because of this fear created in communities, 150
organizations representing thousands upon thousands of
individuals, have called for the immediate end to the
"Secure Communities" program.  Many believe the recent
hearings have been an attempt to win over more
supporters for the program.  But communities from L.A.
to Chicago have responded by saying that officials
should not need to hear more stories, but should instead
act on the knowledge they already have and immediately
end the program.

At yesterday's hearing, after other testimony was given,
Alla, an undocumented young woman took the microphone
and announced that she and five other undocumented youth
could not in good conscience stay at the hearing, and
asked the community members present to follow them out
of the building.  They then proceeded to block traffic,
risking arrest to demonstrate that by having a minor
misdemeanor on their recored, under "Secure Communities"
they could risk deportation.

Watch the walk-out and the following civil disobedience
here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZUR-ve2y0o&feature=player_embedded


After actions in several cities, such as this one in
Chicago, the Obama Administration just announced a halt
on deportations for non-criminal immigrants. While it
does not provide a direct pathway to citizenship it will
allow the granting of work permits. This is the most
major reaction from the administration yet. While some
are skeptical of whether this action will be meaningful,
others are claiming it as a major victory.  Considering
no other such declarations of halting deportations has
been taken thus far, it is indeed a victory to be
celebrated. But of course the struggle continues to make
sure the new plan is implemented.  So celebrate, yes,
but stay vigilant.

-Shelly is Director of Operations at Arise Chicago

___________________________________________

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