Feds Deny States' Right to Opt Out of S-Comm

Homeland Security flip-flops on need for "Memorandum of Agreement"

Friday, August 5, 2011, BOSTON — In an exceedingly brief conference call with advocates today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that they are rescinding the Secure Communities (S-Comm) Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with states such as Illinois and New York that have expressed a desire to withdraw from the program.  As a practical matter, this will have no impact, and DHS intends to continue operating S-Comm in those jurisdictions in which the program is already active.  Their posi
tion remains that this program is mandated by federal law — which is not true — and that the MOAs are not necessary.  DHS was not clear on whether they will expand in those states, but is still holding to their stance that the program will be mandatory nationwide in 2013.

“This is a slap in the face to states that are properly more concerned about enforcing criminal law than civil immigration law,” said Sarang Sekhavat, Federal policy Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.  “It is clear that DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been misleading the public and state and local officials about this program from the start.  Now they are continuing to force a program onto states that recognize its fundamental flaws. This is a situation which cannot and should not be tolerated.”