New Video Notes Value of Secure Communities Program

System Checks Arrestees for Immigration Violations

Dec 17, 2013, 09:17 ET from Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new video interview from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), former senior ICE official Dan Cadman discusses ICE's Secure Communities program. Secure Communities uses technology to link ICE to the national criminal fingerprint-sharing system, so that all individuals arrested are screened for possible immigration violations. Cadman describes how this program has greatly improved ICE's ability to enforce immigration laws and why local law enforcement agencies overwhelmingly support it.

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Cadman, who has recently joined CIS as a Fellow, also addresses the misinformation that has been spread by anti-enforcement advocates in a campaign to undermine this critical enforcement tool, and notes the cost in human suffering and rule of law that results from the current over-politicization of immigration enforcement.

Jessica Vaughan, the Center's Director of Policy Studies, comments: "Secure Communities has proven to be highly effective for identifying criminal aliens so that they can be removed. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has undercut the program with policies that hamper ICE officers from enforcing our laws, resulting in fewer criminal alien deportations. Together with misguided local sanctuary policies, the politicization of immigration enforcement is straining local police and sheriffs who need help in dealing with the significant crime problems associated with illegal immigration."

View the Cadman interview at:

Highlights from the interview:

  • Secure Communities offers tremendous cost savings both to ICE and to local law enforcement agencies.
  • Local law enforcement agencies are "overwhelmingly favorable" to Secure Communities because it gives them access to more information on detainees and increases the likelihood that criminal aliens will be removed from their community rather than returned to the streets to re-offend. It has helped erase the effects of decades of frustration and lack of communication with immigration authorities.
  • Although it has been described as an automated and out-of-control dragnet, in fact Secure Communities involves numerous layers of review, with "little to no possibility" that innocent people will be wrongfully detained and removed.
  • In some parts of the country, anti-enforcement advocacy groups have persuaded local governments to enact policies that obstruct the operation of Secure Communities, which puts the public at risk, most often those in immigrant communities where criminal aliens are shielded from ICE.
  • Contrary to the claims of these advocacy groups, Cadman says that Secure Communities does not foster racial profiling, or create a "chilling effect" where immigrants distrust police, or impose significant costs on local government.
  • Undermining the effectiveness of Secure Communities, says Cadman, are politically driven policies such "prosecutorial discretion" – a misnomer for a policy that actually orders ICE agents to "walk away" from certain illegal aliens, even criminals.  Agents are now often reluctant to take custody of illegal aliens out of fear of disciplinary action. Cadman calls it a "massive breaking of the system."
  • Driven by political appointees who aim to please the advocacy groups, ICE is now trying to shift to a system that seeks to take custody of criminal aliens only after they have been convicted. Cadman notes that this model was tried for many years and failed for logistical reasons, resulting in thousands of criminal aliens escaping detection.
  • Cadman urges lawmakers to insist that ICE build and plan for success, not for failure: "The more vigorously ICE does its job, the more credibility there is to the system, which will lead many illegal aliens to go home rather than face the real possibility that they will be found and removed."

View all the Center's video interviews at:

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

Contact: Marguerite Telford, 202-466-8185


Video with caption: "ICE estimates that there are more than 1.2 million criminal aliens at large in our communities. This large population of criminal aliens imposes enormous costs in American communities – for crime victims, for prosecution and justice, and for the degradation of quality of life that results. Dan Cadman, a retired INS / ICE official with thirty years of government experience, explains how the Secure Communities Program detects aliens convicted of crimes and helps in making our communities safe." Video available at:

Video with caption: "Local law enforcement agencies support Secure Communities. The program aids agencies in identifying and removing criminals by use of technology and information sharing between agencies." Video available at:

Video with caption: "Political agendas undermine the use and effectiveness of Secure Communities, leaving our communities less safe." Video available at:

SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies