The Secure Communities program, created in 2008 to tighten up border security, appears to be the latest panacea for illegal immigration. Under the program, arrestees’ fingerprints are entered into a federal immigration database, and those who have problems, such as having been previously deported by officials, will be held, according to The New York Times. Janet Napolitano (right), President Barack Obama’s homeland security secretary and former Arizona governor, wants every law enforcement agency in the nation to be using Secure Communities within three years. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is facing pressure to reject the program, touted for deporting about 35,000 people accused of a range of offenses, from violent acts to property crimes. Critics, like Hans Meyer, policy coordinator for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, say “Secure Communities is an overbroad dragnet that will end up destroying communities and families while driving victims and witnesses underground.” Ritter (left) has yet to weigh in on the issue, but Fox 31 provides a report indicating that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Colorado and Wyoming have already deported nearly 5,000 undocumented immigrants.
One backdrop to all this is a federal judge’s decision earlier this week to block provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, including one that would require officers to check a person’s immigration status if that person is suspected of being in the United States illegally. As some University of Colorado students took to the streets in Arizona to protest the law, Jane Norton, who is running for U.S. Senate in Colorado and was recently endorsed by current Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, launched robocalls telling Republicans she supports Arizona’s law (via The Associated Press). And it should be no surprise that former Republican Tom Tancredo, who is running for governor as an American Constitution Party candidate, wants Colorado to adopt a law like Arizona’s, reports The Pueblo Chieftain.