Originally touted as an enforcement program that would only be used to deport serious criminals, Secure Communities is instead resulting in local police doubling as immigration agents. Because the majority of people deported under the program have either been convicted of minor offenses, such as traffic violations, or don’t have any criminal record at all, it has further damaged trust between immigrants and police.
Arizona SB 1070
Also known as The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, Arizona SB 1070, requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in the U.S. legally.
Alabama HB 56
Also known as the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, requires that if police have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an immigrant unlawfully present in the United States, in the midst of any legal stop, detention or arrest, to make a similarly reasonable attempt to determine that person’s legal status.
In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, a few states across the country have stepped in to implement their own local immigration laws. Some have been immigrant-friendly, while others have not. Ultimately, immigration is a federal responsibility and Washington must address immigration reform at the federal level.