Written by Mariano Cardoso:
A raucous week of protests against Secure Communities continued last week in Chicago, where protesters angry about deportations rallied outside an immigration hearing. Ten people were eventually arrested by police.
Activists from the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the Immigrant Youth Justice League, among other groups walked out of the immigration hearing and blocked an expressway on-ramp in an act of civil disobedience. Six of the arrested were DREAM Act students, and at least some of them have been released.
The protesters were demonstrating against police overreach through the Obama Administrations’ Secure Communities program. Protester Adriana Salgado said she was trying to get arrested “because the program Secure Communities is not working for our families.”
The S-COMM program was sold as an initiative designed to prioritize the deportation of immigrants convicted of serious crimes. In reality, the program has drastically overstepped its boundaries, resulting in the deportation of tens of thousands of immigrants for as little as a broken taillight. The protesters in Chicago point out that Secure Communities has been a major part of an enforcement regime that’s led to nearly a million deportations under the Obama administration, and that more than a quarter of those picked up through the program have no criminal history whatsoever.
The protests have made clear that these families and students can no longer stand by and watch their loved ones being criminalized and deported. They are calling for an end to the program.
This Wednesday, August 24th, there will be a community forum on the Secure Communities program in Arlington, Virginia, with Members of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee’s Task Force on Secure Communities in attendance. For more information, check out the event page on facebook.