One More Reason to Oppose Secure Communities Policy: It’s Racist

The secure communities policy is driving a massive increase in deportations. Since President Obama took office, we have seen one million deportations. In 2010, the United States deported 400,000 people, more than in the entire decade of the 1980s. The secure communities policy is also racist.

(Photo by Runs with Scissors)

This rise in deportations is due to laws passed in 1996, and a massive infusion of money into draconian enforcement of immigration law with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). With an annual budget of $60 billion, DHS has been able to expand its operations far beyond those of its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

When we look at who is getting deported, however, it’s clear that Asian and European immigrants are almost never deported, yet blacks and Latinos are deported in massive numbers. And, nearly all deportees are men. Sound familiar? Yes, racial and gender disparities in immigration law enforcement look a lot like those in criminal justice law enforcement.

Police are much more likely to arrest blacks and Latinos. In New York State, 94% of those arrested on drug charges are black or Latino. And, yes, whites and Asians do use and sell drugs. They are just rarely arrested.

Now that President Obama has forced more cooperation between police and immigration law enforcement through the Secure Communities program, we can expect to see more blacks and Latinos deported.


  1. Pat

    The policy isn’t racist. The police MAY be racist. You said it yourself: “Police are much more likely to arrest blacks and Latinos.” Who the police arrest may be in question. But even then, you have very little to support that accusation.

    You said that “In New York State, 94% of those arrested on drug charges are black or Latino.” Your reference to the ACLU document says “both groups use and sell drugs at
    similar rates”, and there is a reference THAT ISN’T BACKED UP ANYWHERE. That really makes me wonder if it is true.

    It sounds to me like someone was just making up statistics that support what they want to say.

    Do you really thing that law enforcement and immigration law enforcement officers SHOULDN’T cooperate? I’m sure they can both do thier jobs better if they’re all working together. Do you think maybe there’s a reason they have jobs?

    I really don’t think you have to worry about any of this if you’re a law abiding citizen. All you have to do is NOT deal drugs, NOT own drugs and NOT ILLEGALLY IMMIGRATE to the US.

    Another way to say it: Don’t want to be arrested? Don’t break the law! Do you not think that people who break the law should face the consequences thereof? All of the people affected by this policy HAVE ALREADY COMMITED A CRIME (or been accused of one).

    I believe your concern might be over the profiling that might tempt police to make arrests of persons that they think may be in violation of immigration laws, and I agree that this is a problem… WITH THE INDIVIDUAL POLICE OFFICERS, not the policy.

    Can you actually find anywhere in the Secure Communities Policy that says ANYTHING about race? I did a quick search on the page for the Secure Communities Policy for the words “Black”, “Latino”, “African”, “White”, “Caucasian”, “Asian”, and I didn’t find a single one of those.

  2. Immigration offenses are civil not criminal, and are not subject to due process protections. Thus it is problematic when police officers enforce immigration law. An immigrant turned over to ICE cannot claim that he was picked up due to racial profiling, because he will never have a chance to do so, and there is no prohibition on racial profiling in immigration law enforcement. See:

    As for Secure Communities being racist, I use the definition of a policy that leads to unequal outcomes, regardless of the lack of mention of race in the policy. The fact that 95% of people deported are black or Latino, even though at least 25 percent of non-citizens are NOT black or Latino means that there is disproportionate enforcement of the law. Thus, the policy is part of structural racism, and therefore, racist.

  3. rmiranda

    Currently this racist policy (Secure Communities), since it is racist because it is founded by people who carry prejudice with them about people of color and the only way it exist is because of race. Police and this policy both use racial profiling to determine who will get their finger printed checked by immigration. As a student of color I find it hard to believe in the whole “Secure Communities” when a large population in this society live in constant fear that they will deported for “crime” like driving.
    Just because it is illegal to cross over to this country it does not mean you “deserve” to be punished by an unfair law. Plus I think that being accused and committing a crime are very different things, people get accused all the time but it does not mean that person did it. We can’t think in a black and white situation, there is wide range of different reasons why people decide immigrate to this country that need to be taken in consideration.

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