OIG Reports on S-comm Miss the Point


On Friday, April 6th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released two reports that ultimately missed the point in addressing key concerns presented by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in a request for an OIG investigation into the flawed and controversial "Secure Communities" deportation program.

Lofgren's request for an investigation came at the heels of massive outcry by grassroots groups and communities nationally due to the rampant rights violations and abuses caused by the detention & deportation dragnet.

The OIG investigation claims to address: 1) whether ICE intentionally misled local & state officials about the nature of their participation in the program, and 2) whether the program was effective in its stated priority goals. 

To our dismay, the OIG's investigation concluded that ICE did not intentionally mislead the public or local officials yet acknowledges they did not clearly communicate their intent and expectations in terms of participation. Essentially, the OIG's report concludes it was a mere lack of communication that led to the mixup on whether jurisdictions around the country could "opt-out" or not.

The second report addresses the program's operations, and whether S-comm was effective in "identifying criminal aliens" and "approriately prioritized cases for removal." The report nonchalantly states that in fact, S-comm was effective and under the program, ICE "expanded its ability to identify criminal aliens in areas not covered by its other programs. In addition, it was able to identify criminal aliens earlier in the justice process." 

What the report does not address are the real concerns that communities have been raising since the program's inception in 2008, and for some of us, even prior to that. Local police collaboration with immigration is bad for our communities, and puts our civil and constitutional rights at risk. Studies have found that programs like S-comm incentivize racial profiling and make all communities more vulnerable because people fear contacting police to report when they are victims or witnesses to a crime. 

DHS is slated to announce "reforms" to S-comm, based on their task force recommendations submitted last September. No matter how many tweaks, no reforms will adequately address the real concerns for community safety. NNIRR stands with communities around the country urging ICE to stay out of our neighborhoods, cities, and towns, and to end S-comm now. 

Read the OIG reports here (Communications | Operations).