“Latinos Decry ‘Secure Communities’ Policy In D.C.”

Secure Communities is a federal program requiring law enforcement to send fingerprints of those arrested to immigration officials. D.C. has thus far refused to participate in Secure Communities, but WAMU 88.5′s Patrick Madden reports that it may soon be mandatory in all jurisdictions.

The program is intended to target violent criminals, but it’s been blasted for causing the deportation of victims of domestic violence and witnesses. Critics say that such an approach leads to distrust between immigrant communities and police.

“What is common is that both the victim and the abuser are arrested when they can’t determine who was the aggressor, the primary aggressor, who was acting in self-defense,” says Mark Haufrect, an attorney with Mil Mujeres, a non-profit that helps Latino domestic violence victims. Haufrect says he fears victims’ fingerprints will be sent to immigration authorities, prompting possible deportations. And if that happens, he says, victims will stop reaching out to police.