More than 80 neighborhood residents and activists expressed their concerns at a community meeting organized by several Queens-based organizations about the new Secure Communities program (S-Comm) directed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The meeting at P.S. 19 in Corona on Wednesday, October 6 focused on S-Comm. Under S-Comm, local law enforcement agencies are required to forward the fingerprints of every arrested person to the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric identification system. Police then transfer those suspected of being deportable into the detention and deportation system.
More than 500 New Yorkers participated in Make the Road New York’s (MRNY) Walk for Justice, a walkathon to raise money and promote justice for low-income and Latino immigrant communities in the five boroughs.
The walk on Sunday, September 19 started at the Northern Playground on 93rd Street and Northern Boulevard in Corona at 10:30 a.m. The walkers travelled through Elmhurst and Corona, two of the most diverse immigrant neighborhoods in Queens.
Advocacy groups and elected officials in Corona last week denounced U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Secure Communities, an initiative aimed at modernizing how the organization identifies criminal aliens but one which the groups say will breed distrust of the police in immigrant neighborhoods.
“We cannot trust this system or trust ICE,” said Josh Epstein, staff attorney for the Immigrant Defense Project.
Last May, New York signed on to an immigration enforcement program that allows local police to share with federal authorities the digital fingerprints of anyone arrested in the state. The program -- called Secure Communities -- is designed to find and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes like murder, kidnapping and threats to national security.
“New York has a public safety interest in identifying and deporting serious alien defendants from state prisons and jails,” said John M. Caher, director of public information for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), in a written statement.
A new federal program called Secure Communities makes many residents of New York feel anything but safe.
Piloted in 2008, the policy requires local police to share the fingerprints of everyone they arrest with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and to detain and deport those who are here without visas. Secure Communities has been implemented in 33 states and will take effect in New York this fall, unless residents at the state or municipal level are given the choice to opt out.
State Senator Jose R. Peralta today stepped up his offensive against the sex trade flourishing on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona and Jackson Heights with the introduction of a bill meant to curb the “free delivery” of women offered by local pimps and the shuttling of johns from Midtown Manhattan into Central Queens.
The bill requires taxi and livery cab drivers to be made aware of the human trafficking that supplies the women that keep pimps in business. New York City taxi drivers already undergo a training program for initial licensure and subsequent renewal. Senator Peralta also will be co-sponsoring a bill to raise fines and lengthen jail sentences for soliciting a prostitute.
State Senator Jose Peralta took aim at the prostitution industry this week.
The East Elmhurst Democrat introduced a bill that would require taxi drivers to be aware of the human trafficking business. He is also co-sponsoring legislation that would up fines and jail sentences for johns.
"We have to dispel the dangerous notion that prostitution is a victimless crime, " Peralta said.
"Many women from around the world and across the country are brought here and enslaved, forced to have sex with strangers for the profit of human traffickers and pimps.