Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Nearly 870 jurisdictions across the country are participating in the voluntary program established under the Bush administration in 2008 and expected to become mandatory nationally by 2013.
The Secure Communities initiative is operated by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Justice through the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The program electronically links participating local agencies to the federal government. It provides an electronic notification to the arresting and booking law enforcement agency of any arrestee who is known to be an alien or is a known threat to national security as well as if the arrestee has a previous arrest record. The program does not change the arrest or booking process in any other way.
“Secure Communities is an effective law enforcement tool that will fill a gap in state, local and federal enforcement and help us overcome well-recognized challenges in our public safety network,” Gov. Ritter said. “My office has worked closely with stakeholders and the federal government over the past few months to address Colorado-specific concerns and modify the standard Secure Communities agreement. This means increased reporting, additional data reviews and greater transparency and accountability to ensure Secure Communities is implemented in Colorado in a balanced, fair and effective manner.”
ICE will provide Colorado with quarterly reports and statistics so the state can assess how the program is working. The agreement also acknowledges the unique status of domestic violence victims and witnesses under Colorado law. “These Colorado-specific modifications have allowed us to contribute to the national dialogue to improve Secure Communities so it’s better for Colorado today and for the rest of the country when it becomes mandatory in two years,” Gov. Ritter said.
Colorado’s participation in Secure Communities is supported by the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and County Sheriffs of Colorado . For more information about Secure Communities, click here to visit the ICE website.