Protesters Call For End Of "S-Comm" Deportation Program
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Religious leaders from multiple faiths and supporters hold a vigil in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Murray Hill office Wednesday, calling for him to end the mass deportation program known as "Secure Communities."
The program, called "S-Comm," requires law enforcement to automatically forward the fingerprints of every arrested person to federal immigration databases.
Opponents said the program destroys trust between police and immigrant communities, amplifies racial profiling and funnels people directly into an unjust deportation system.
They said immigrants who are locked up have severely limited access to lawyers, medical care, family, witnesses and evidence to defend against deportation.
"The religious community has been a great voice for us in this campaign to stop Secure Communities. They really are able to bring a strong moral voice to why Secure Communities is so devastating, and why the only right thing to do is to completely end any kind of participation in Secure Communities," said Michelle Fei of the Immigrant Defense Project.
"We're the city of immigrants. New York is the city of immigrants, and so if any place should be taking leadership on this, it should be the city," said Susan Switzer of the New Sanctuary Coalition.
The Secure Communities Program was created during Governor Davis Paterson's administration.
The governor's office said it are reviewing the program and will make a policy decision after talking to stakeholders and law enforcement groups.