Senator Gustavo Rivera (D,WF-Bronx) and Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Queens) today issued the following statement in response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to suspend the controversial Secure Communities program:
We are proud to stand with Governor Cuomo today as he announced the suspension of New York's participation in Secure Communities, a controversial partnership between immigration officials and local law enforcement that has come under scrutiny at a national level for straying from its intended purpose of deporting dangerous criminal immigrants. While Secure Communities is intended to focus on the deportation of dangerous criminal immigrants, 79% of those deported nationwide under this program had no criminal record.
We applaud Governor Cuomo for acting on the evidence that has accumulated over the last few months that indicate that Secure Communities is not fulfilling its stated mission as well as evidence that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have misled elected officials in New York and throughout the country.
Governor Cuomo has shown his commitment to public safety by taking issue with a program that would deter victims and witnesses of crimes from coming forward because of fear of being deported. If New York had continued to implement a very flawed Secure Communities program throughout the state, and especially in New York City, it would have led to the routine separation of immigrant families as well as the widespread distrust of law enforcement in immigrant communities throughout the state, creating a public safety crisis for communities like the ones we represent.
Governor Cuomo has proven to be a leader on the issue of public safety at a national level by forcing the federal government to reexamine whether Secure Communities is actually making our communities more secure, not only here in New York, but throughout the country. We are committed to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo to promote policies that actually make our communities more secure."