Photo: With community members and Mayor Vincent Gray behind him, Councilmember Mendelson, who introduced the Immigration Detainter Compliance Amendment Act, denounces the Secure Communities program at a press conference on June 4th.
On June 5, the Secure Communities program was activated in the District of Columbia, and on the same day, the DC Council boldly passed the Immigration Detainer Compliance Amendment Act , which went into effect immediately.
For the last two years, DC residents and organizations have come together to resist the “Secure Communities” program. Initially, DC Council voted to opt-out of the program, but DHS then made the program mandatory.
The Immigration Detainer Compliance Amendment Act, which was co-sponsored by every member of the council and passes unanimously, limits D.C.’s involvement with federal immigration enforcement by ensuring that the DC Department of Corrections will no longer hold an individual beyond the time they would otherwise be held in jail just because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has tagged him or her in a database. Individuals held for ICE will have to be convicted of a violent crime and ICE will have to pay for the cost of the detainer.
This is a triumph for our community after over two years of resisting the so-called Secure Communities program. DC is one of a handful of cities and states that have taken action to resist the Secure Communities program, which is active in nearly every jurisdiction in the country.