VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 50   |  DECEMBER 14 – 20, 2011

DECEMBER 14, 2011

Report challenges attack on Secure Communities

Allegations of wrongful arrests of U.S. citizens are false

WASHINGTON – A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies examines the outcomes of ICE’s Secure Communities program and how those outcomes have been misleadingly described in one widely circulated study published by the Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School. The CIS report, first in a three-part series examining the Warren Institute's analysis, is based on the same database used by the Institute of actual case histories provided by ICE in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The groups that first obtained the ICE records have claimed that they reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse of authority by ICE, including wrongful arrests of thousands of U.S. citizens, a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos, and denial of due process for aliens in removal proceedings. These allegations have been uncritically passed on by major news media outlets and repeated by members of Congress. While the ICE database does provide an interesting and relatively rare snapshot of the actual Secure Communities caseload, we found that the records did not support any of the allegations of ICE abuse of authority.
Our first set of findings, online at http://cis.org/SC-by-the-numbers-critique-part1, addresses the issue of wrongful U.S. citizen arrests:

The database contains no records of U.S. citizens who were detained by or for ICE. It is impossible to assert based on this data, as the critics have, that thousands of U.S. citizens, or any number of U.S. citizens, have been arrested by ICE through Secure Communities.
The Warren Institute report contains serious methodological and interpretive errors that lead its authors to unsubstantiated conclusions and cast doubt on the credibility of the entire analysis. For example, the authors analyzed only 23 percent of the original random sample requested from ICE.

ICE’s failure to counter the report’s misleading statements is contributing to the spread of misconceptions about Secure Communities among the media, state and local leaders, and the public. This raises doubts as to the agency leaders’ commitment to full and effective implementation of the program.

We agree with the Warren Institute authors on the issue of the need for improved transparency at ICE and its parent Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute that examines the impact of immigration on the United States