Connecticut residents deserve to live in safe communities, supported by fair, transparent, and responsible policing. The federal program, Secure Communities (S-Comm), is eroding that.
S-Comm started running in Fairfield County in 2010 and the rest of the Connecticut in February 2012. It has become a problem for community policing.
What is the TRUST Act?
H.B. 5938, the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools (TRUST) Act, will set a standard that brings participation in S-Comm back in line with the program’s original goals and address the concerns raised by the program’s detrimental effects on public safety, community policing and civil liberties.
Specifically, the bill will:
- Allow local governments to submit to ICE’s request to detain an individual if they have a serious or violent felony conviction;
- Set one cohesive standard for all law enforcement in the state of Connecticut; and
- Help restore the trust that has been lost between local law enforcement and the community by providing key safeguards against profiling and the wrongful detention of citizens.
The Facts on S-Comm
S-Comm is a federal program that enlists local law enforcement to engage in civil immigration enforcement by sharing fingerprints at the point of arrest. ICE can send a request that localities detain an individual until they can take the person into federal custody for detention or deportation.
In practice, S-Comm has many problems:
- Despite its name, Secure Communities undermines public safety: Under S-Comm, many believe that local police officers are acting as ICE agents. As a result, immigrant residents, including victims and witnesses of a crime, are afraid to cooperate with the police out of fear of deportation.
- It can lead to racial profiling and discriminatory policing: S-Comm provides an incentive for racial profiling through the targeting of members of immigrant communities for minor offenses, like a traffic violation.
- The numbers show that S-Comm is not achieving its mission: This program is supposed to target individuals with serious criminal offenses on their records, yet only 21% of individuals removed through S-Comm have committed serious offenses. Out of the 402 people from Connecticut who were deported, 317 either had no convictions or were accused of only a minor offense and 4882 out of 5422 matched through S-Comm data-sharing had no aggravated felony convictions.
- There are no cohesive law enforcement practices: In Connecticut, there is no uniform standard for participating in S-Comm so each police department can establish how they will respond to detainer requests.
- It lacks transparency and accountability: ICE has been contradictory and inconsistent in their response to questions from Congress, the media and local officials about jurisdictions’ participation.
Several jurisdictions have passed or proposed similar legislation to remedy the detrimental effects of their state’s participation in S-Comm, including California, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, Washington, and New York City.
YES on HB 6659:
Making S-Comm Work as it Was Intended