Bill Thompson Asks Obama to Keep Immigrant Fingerprinting Program Out of New York

bill thompson ny1 Bill Thompson Asks Obama to Keep Immigrant Fingerprinting Program Out of New York

Bill Thompson (Photo: NY1)

Former Comptroller and current mayoral candidate Bill Thompson wrote a letter to President Barack Obama today asking him not to implement the controversial Secure Communities fingerprinting program in New York. The  program involves checking fingerprints of people arrested by local or state police in a Department of Homeland Security database that contains immigration records. If an offender is found to be an illegal immigrant police contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which can request for the person to be detained up to 48 hours and taken by federal agents.

“I am writing to ask you to respect the objections of New York State leaders and reverse the position taken by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to fully implement the Secure Communities program in New York,” Mr. Thompson wrote. “Studies show that this program does little to protect our neighborhoods. Instead, it drives many hard-working immigrants into the shadows of our society, thus actually compromising public safety.”

Secure Communities was started in 2008, but states were not required to participate in the program. Last year, ICE officials canceled agreements they signed with the states and announced plans to make Secure Communities nationwide by next year. Opponents of the program, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino argue that Secure Communities results in the deportation of immigrants arrested for minor offenses, raises concerns about racial profiling and damages the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.

“The decision by ICE to move beyond a pilot program suffers the fatal defect of casting an overly broad dragnet which threatens to arrest, detain, and deport far too many individuals who pose no threat and are in fact working and contributing to our city and state,” Mr. Thompson wrote. “As you know well, New York is extremely proud of its diverse population and draws great strength from the important contributions of all of our immigrants and new arrivals.”

Read the full text of Mr. Thompson’s letter below:

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to ask you to respect the objections of New York State leaders and reverse the position taken by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to fully implement the Secure Communities program in New York.

New Yorkers like me believe in strong and safe communities, and anyone who has committed a violent crime and is a threat to the public does not deserve the privilege of living in our great nation. However, studies show that this program does little to protect our neighborhoods. Instead, it drives many hard-working immigrants into the shadows of our society, thus actually compromising public safety. Given this track record, I strongly believe that New York has acted prudently in declining to participate in this costly and un-American program.

The decision by ICE to move beyond a pilot program suffers the fatal defect of casting an overly broad dragnet which threatens to arrest, detain, and deport far too many individuals who pose no threat and are in fact working and contributing to our city and state. As you know well, New York is extremely proud of its diverse population and draws great strength from the important contributions of all of our immigrants and new arrivals.

With little oversight from Congress and an ever-increasing budget, Secure Communities accomplishes the exact opposite of what it was intended to do, does not serve our interests, and does not reflect the values we share as Americans.

I urge you, Mr. President, to listen to the concerns of many leaders and elected officials of the Empire State, and personally order ICE to desist implementation of this misguided social experiment.

Very truly yours,
William C. Thompson, Jr.

Comments

  1. Hunter Watch says:

    Hey Hunter,

    I love you man but this is not an “Immigrant Fingerprinting Program.”

    This program only fingerprints AND REPORTS illegal immigrants that were arrested for committing OTHER CRIMES.

    C’mon man….

  2. hwalkerobserver says:

    The program is described accurately in the story. It’s pretty much impossible to get that level of decription in a headline. Would you have preferred “Bill Thompson Asks Obama to Keep Program To Run Firngerprints of Immigrants Arrested For Crimes Through a Homeland Security Database Out of New York?”

  3. Hunter Watch says:

    Simply insert the word “illegal” before immigrant.

    That would suffice.

  4. magyart says:

    Remember to vote against every politician that supports ILLEGAL residents, over LEGAL residents.