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Secure Communities is flawed and should be shelved [Most commented]

An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant is checked before a deportation flight.
The controversial Secure Communities program is more trouble than it’s worth, The Times’ editorial board wrote Friday. The voluntary federal program enables law-enforcement officials to identify immigrants via a fingerprint-sharing database and eventually have them deported. Several states have tried to withdraw from the program, but the Department of Homeland Security recently made this opposition moot when it cancelled its agreements with local officials, no longer giving them the choice to opt into the program. More than half the immigrants deported under Secure Communities either were not violent felons or had no criminal records at all, the board notes. Critics argue that the program discourages undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes and assisting law enforcement. Mixed signals on immigration reform by the Obama administration aren't helping. Here's an excerpt from the editorial:

The president has publicly called for an overhaul of the nation's broken immigration system to give those who work hard but are illegally in the country a chance to remain here legally. Yet his administration has failed to curb a program that deports many of the very people he says deserve a chance to stay.

The president's leadership on immigration has been anemic. He can't solve the problem alone, but he has done little beyond delivering speeches blaming Congress. At the very least, Obama should shelve Secure Communities and stop making matters worse.

Most readers on the discussion board are in favor of keeping the program and making it more stringent.

The federal government hasn’t done much to create a national border policy, but this is a national program

You're right to note the Federal government has largely abdicated its responsibilities in achieving a sensible border security and immigration policy.  This is obviously due to the ridiculous deadlock in Congress we are all well aware of.  Every time a state tries to address a piece of the puzzle--most notably Arizona--people sue and claim it's a Federal responsibility.  Now that you have a Federal agency attempting to patch up part of the mess, you editorialize that the states should get to decide what they want to do.  We cannot have it both ways.  And we must have it one way unless there is an immediate way out of the ridiculous legislative impasse we are in and will be in for the foreseeable future.  That is, unless The Times' argument is that history will wait.

--e92618

The U.S. gives mixed signals when it tells people to stay out and then provides benefits for those who come

If I understand this editorial correctly, somebody arrested for misdemeanor assault is not consider a "violent felon." 

Not good enough.  A very hard sell, guys.  I'm afraid most American citizens just don't see it your way.

Does the Times Editorial staff consider such things as car theft, sexual harassment of a woman on the street, burglary, shoplifting, embezzlement, forgery, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, drunk driving, and public intoxication to be "nonviolent" crimes?  If so, the "nonviolent, non-felony" siren call fails to impress.

Aside from an incomplete border fence, the only thing that is truly "broken" in our immigration system is the barrage of mixed signals we send the world by telling people not enter our country illegally while providing a cornucopia of rights and benefits to do precisely that.   Stop rewarding poor behavior, and you reduce (even eliminate) that behavior.   Such rewards include, but are not limited to, free education for illegal alien children, free medical care and welfare benefits. 

Let's not forget the big ones--de facto amnesty (you can't deport somebody for just entering illegally--you have to wait for them to commit a "real" crime) and automatic American citizenship for babies born in the U.S. illegally, even when conceived abroad.

Broken?  Okay--let's fix it.

--GregMaragos

All illegal aliens should be deported. This program works.

Secure communities works.  That's why the LA Times wants to shelve it.

The program should be expanded to include anyone who is a known illegal immigrant.  Strengthening our immigration laws strengthens our communities, the whole purpose behind the rule of law.

It's time to do the right thing and deport all illegal aliens.

--IHateTheLATimes

Shame on those who blame undocumented aliens and not others like the ‘tea partiers’ and multinational corporations

Can we deport Congress to another planet?

The real terrorists and threats to the U.S. and the world are the genius Tea Party extremist members of Congress who are sabotaging the economics and politics of this country.

In second place are the animated apologists who blame the S&P for downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Don't we teach our children that they shouldn't spend more than they earn; but if they do, they must be held accountable?

Shame on the those who blame undocumented aliens for all the woes of the world; no one blames the multinational corporations who have exported U.S. jobs through the world.

Dangerous aliens should be deported; dangerous citizens should be incarcerated. However, the Secure Communities program had the federal government requiring local and state governments spend their own funds (and assume liabilities) for a federal responsibility. Maybe we could get more bang for the buck by prosecuting all federal tax evaders, including corporations who do not pay any taxes.

Hypocrisy, know thy mother.

--maktub

Illegals are illegals

Illegals are illegals...there is NO way to spin this.  All of them need to be sent back home where ever they came from.  America simply cannot afford these people anymore. 

--ChuckOlmstead

The immigrants who deserve to stay are the legal ones

The immigrants who "deserve to stay" are those who followed the laws of this country. Simply working is not the criteria.

--peach2941

Obama only needs Latinos for the next election; too bad there are no other candidates for us to vote for

The Obama administration only needs we Latinos for the 2012 elections. I am sure he will be nice to us as he deports our family members back to wherever European-Americans believed we belong. The sad part is the we will have to hold our noses when we vote for Mr. Obama due to the fact the Republican party only want Cuban-Americans as the Good Hispanics. Yes it is true we Latinos are very conservative but not at the expense of deporting family members and school children to a life of hunger and danger.

--SFC OSO

*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.

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Photo: An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, charged as a criminal, is checked before boarding a deportation flight to Guatemala City in Mesa, Arizona. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency repatriates thousands of undocumented Guatemalans monthly, many of whom are caught in the controversial "Secure Communities" program. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

 

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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