May 9, 2011
Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
Last week, the Governor of Illinois and the Illinois State Police took a critical step towards protecting the rights of their immigrant communities by terminating the state’s Secure Communities (S-Comm) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Through this action, no police in Illinois will share fingerprints with ICE—no new counties will be activated and counties that have S-Comm currently operating will be deactivated. We commend Illinois for taking this action.
Given New York’s immigrant heritage and our leadership role in the nation, we firmly believe that our State, too, must immediately end this destructive program. Many of us have joined dozens of organizations in New York over the past year in raising a wide range of concerns about S-Comm and calling for an end to our State’s participation in the program. It is critical that New York now join Illinois to show that stopping S-Comm is both necessary and doable.
Like us, Illinois felt that there was no choice but to completely withdraw from S-Comm. In his letter to ICE, Governor Pat Quinn pointed to “the conflict between the stated purpose of Secure Communities and the implementation of the program.” It could not be more clear that this program serves as a dragnet for ICE to meet its draconian deportation quotas. In Illinois, less than 20% of the people ICE deported due to S-Comm were convicted of a serious crime. ICE statistics for New York show that the vast majority (approximately 80 percent) of those detained by ICE because of S-Comm were never convicted of a crime. Even more importantly, S-Comm undermines the critical work we all have undertaken for so long to protect due process, end racial profiling, restore trust in the police, and stop unfair deportations.
Especially at a time of increasing recognition of the terrible problems posed by S-Comm, we cannot afford to continue to let our immigrants get dragged through ICE’s deportation machinery. Just last week, U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, joined by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, put a spotlight on the problematic S-Comm program, calling for "thorough investigations [of ICE] into any misconduct, including possible violations of criminal law."
As a state that is proud of its tradition of upholding and protecting civil, immigrant, and human rights, we must stop S-Comm in New York. With 24 of our 62 counties already activated, we have no time to lose. We look forward to working with you to immediately terminate our S-Comm MOA in order to truly make New York a state that protects the rights of all communities.
José Serrano Brian Kavanagh Guillermo Linares
NYS Senate, 28th Dist. NYS Assembly, 74th Dist. NYS Assembly, 72nd Dist.
Ruben Diaz Thomas Duane Adriano Espaillat
NYS Senate, 32nd Dist. NYS Senate, 29th Dist. NYS Senate, 31st Dist.
Jeffrey D. Klein Ruth Hassell-Thompson Liz Krueger
NYS Senate, 34th Dist. NYS Senate, 36th Dist. NYS Senate, 26th Dist.
Jose Peralta Bill Perkins Gustavo Rivera
NYS Senate, 13th Dist. NYS Senate, 30th Dist. NYS Senate, 33rd Dist.
Daniel Squadron Keith L.T. Wright Thomas J. Abinanti
NYS Senate, 25th Dist. NYS Assembly, 70th Dist. NYS Assembly, 92nd Dist.
Jeffrion L. Aubry Carmen E. Arroyo Alec Brook-Krasny
NYS Assembly, 35th Dist. NYS Assembly, 84th Dist. NYS Assembly, 46th Dist.
Karim Camara Nelson L. Castro Marcos Crespo
NYS Assembly, 43 Dist. NYS Assembly, 86th Dist. NYS Assembly, 85th Dist.
Jeffrey Dinowitz Deborah J. Glick Richard N. Gottfried
NYS Assembly, 81st Dist. NYS Assembly, 66th Dist. NYS Assembly, 75th Dist.
Vanessa Gibson Carl E. Heastie Rhoda Jacobs
NYS Assembly, 77th Dist. NYS Assembly, 83rd NYS Assembly, 42nd Dist.
Ellen C. Jaffee Hakeem Jeffries Micah Kellner
NYS Assembly, 95th Dist. NYS Assembly, 57th Dist. NYS Assembly, 65th Dist.
Barbara Lifton Joan L. Millman Grace Meng
NYS Assembly, 125th Dist. NYS Assembly, 52nd Dist. NYS Assembly, 22nd Dist.
Francisco P. Moya Daniel O’Donnell Felix Ortiz
NYS Assembly, 39th Dist. NYS Assembly, 69th Dist. NYS Assembly, 51st Dist.
Nick Perry Phil Ramos Jose Rivera
NYS Assembly, 58th Dist. NYS Assembly, 6th Dist. NYS Assembly, 78th Dist.
Peter M. Rivera Annette M. Robinson Robert J. Rodriguez
NYS Assembly, 76th Dist. NYS Assembly, 56th Dist. NYS Assembly, 68th Dist.
Linda B. Rosenthal Samuel Roberts Addie J. Russell
NYS Assembly, 67th Dist. NYS Assembly, 119th Dist. NYS Assembly, 118th Dist.
William Scarborough Michelle Schimel Eric Stevenson
NYS Assembly, 29th Dist. NYS Assembly, 16th Dist. NYS Assembly, 79th Dist.
Matthew Titone David Weprin
NYS Assembly, 61st Dist. NYS Assembly, 24th Dist.