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Advocacy groups vow not to back down on Secure Communities in Arlington

I reported earlier that Arlington, Va., is giving up on its efforts to opt out of Secure Communities, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that allows

Jul 31, 2020
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I reported earlier that Arlington, Va., is giving up on its effortsto opt out of Secure Communities, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement program that allows ICE to check immigration status using fingerprints collected for criminal background checks. After meeting with ICE officials on Friday, Arlington’s county manager released a memo saying the county did not have the option of being removed from the program.
But opponents of Secure Communities said they are not done pushing back against the program, which they say lessens overall safety by making immigrants fearful of police.
“We’re not giving up,” Lucero Beebe-Giudice, a spokeswoman for Tenants and Workers United, told TWI. “We continue to believe there’s a way to opt out. They’re trying to take the wind out of our sails, but we think that there’s a way to opt out.”
Tenants and Workers United is part of a larger coalition of immigrant rights groups that are fighting the spreadof Secure Communities, which the Obama administration plans to extend nationwide by 2013. ICE officials listed stepsfor communities to be removed from the program, but later saidopting out is impossible because fingerprints are shared directly between the FBI, which receives them for criminal background checks, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigrant rights groups are trying to get more informationabout the program, the technology that would be needed to filter out results sent to DHS and any policy changes that made the program mandatory. The groups submitted a Freedom of Information Act request in February, then filed again in October to receive documents related to the opt-out process.
Beebe-Giudice said Arlington would continue sending fingerprints to the FBI for criminal background checks even though they will be forwarded to ICE, but could change its actions on Secure Communities based on information that comes out of the FOIA request.
“The county is not going to stop doing whatever their regular process is,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not going to continue to pursue this issue.”
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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