Judge: Government Agencies Went “Out of Their Way To Mislead the Public” About Secure Communities


In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin yesterday ordered US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to turn over documents about the Secure Communities program. She dropped a bombshell in her decision:

There is ample evidence that ICE and [Homeland Security] have gone out of their way to mislead the public about Secure Communities.

The judge wrote that ICE encouraged states to join Secure Communities by depicting it as a voluntary program from which local police could opt out, all while the Department of Homeland Security had decided that once a state joined the program, localities could not opt out.

This decision further calls into question the honesty of ICE and Homeland Security in their public statements about immigration enforcement priorities. The Freedom of Information Act request was part of a lawsuit against ICE by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.


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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.