01 June 2011 

New York Suspends ICE Program

New York state announced the suspension of its participation in ICE’s Secure Community Program.

In a letter from the counsel to the Governor of New York to the Counsel to the Secretary of the DHS, New York state announced the suspension of its participation in ICE’s Secure Community Program. This program is a cornerstone of federal enforcement of the immigration statutes, and is a key factor in the massive and record-breaking deportations that are breaking up American families across the country. The letter states that the Secure Communities Program is “compromising public safety”, no doubt because Congress’s zeal in deportation has not been balanced by an equal action in bringing the undocumented into compliance through a legalization program. As a major state opting out of the Secure Communities Program, New York’s action has dealt a potentially fatal blow to federal enforcement efforts, especially if other states, such as California follow suit. This move by New York points out that State action on immigration can cut both ways – pro-enforcement a la Arizona, and the opposite a la New York. Both these State actions point out the price the country is paying for federal inaction. Should Congress punt on immigration 
due to concerns about political costs, it will find that these costs will only keep going up as a result of the punting. We urge Congress to take on board the Supreme’s recent decision on Arizona’s E-Verify statute and New York’s action on ICE enforcement and conclude that it is better to step up to the plate sooner rather than later.

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