Secure CommunitiesNo racial profiling, abuse by Secure Communities

Published 8 March 2012

The Earl Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School claimed that DHS Secure Communities program suffers from a disturbing pattern of abuse of authority by ICE, including wrongful arrests of thousands of U.S. citizens, a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos, and denial of due process for aliens in removal proceedings; a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies says this is not the case

A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) examines the outcomes of Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program and how those outcomes, according to CIS, have been misleadingly described in one widely circulated study published by the Earl Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School.

The CIS report, second in a 3-part series, uses the same database of actual case histories provided by ICE as the Warren Institute report.

The groups that first obtained the ICE records have claimed that they reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse of authority by ICE, including wrongful arrests of thousands of U.S. citizens, a pattern of racial profiling against Latinos, and denial of due process for aliens in removal proceedings.

CIS says that these allegations have been uncritically passed on by major news media outlets and repeated by members of Congress. While the database does provide an interesting and relatively rare snapshot of the ICE caseload, CIS found that the records did not support any of the racial profiling allegations.

The highlights of the CIS study:

The Warren Institute report asserts that 93 percent of the individuals apprehended were “Latino”. Yet ICE databases do not contain information relating to a person’s race or ethnicity. Making judgments of race and ethnicity based solely on nationality, as the Warren Institute report authors did, is speculative and prone to error, for reasons we explain in the body of this report.

The main findings of the CIS study:

  • The Warren Institute report describes, without differentiation, all of the apprehended “Latino” individuals contained in the dataset as “undocumented”. By our calculation, slightly more than 12 percent of those arrested were in fact documented, and included nonimmigrants, immigrants, border crossing card holders, and both conditional and permanent resident aliens. As we observe in more detail below, even documented aliens are subject to removal from the United States if they violate the conditions of their stay — particularly if they do so by committing crimes, which is the focus of the Secure Communities initiative. This distinction is important and should have been noted by the authors of the report.
  • The Warren Institute authors compared their calculation that 93 percent of arrested aliens in the dataset were Latino to the Latino share of the national illegal alien population of 77 percent, presenting this as evidence of ethnic bias in the operation of Secure Communities. This is a mistake because
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