Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that New York will back out of a federal deportation program that has been criticized for infringing on civil liberties of immigrants and undermining law enforcement.
The federal “Secure Communities” program has come under fire since its implementation in 2008 and aggressive expansion since then.
The program requires participating law enforcement officials to submit any fingerprints and other information they obtain from arrests to a federal immigration database, administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“There are concerns about the implementation of the program as well as its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As a result, New York is suspending its participation in the program.”
Cuomo may run into trouble with New York’s withdrawal. Other states that have attempted to back out of the program — such as Illinois — have been met with resistance from Immigration and Customs.
The program had only been implemented in some parts of the state, and had not yet been put in place in New York City.
The governor’s move, however, was applauded by many, including Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
“I support Governor Cuomo’s decision to take New York State out of the Secure Communities Program in light of reports of the unintended consequences by its implementation,” DiFiore said. “I remain confident that law enforcement throughout the state presently has sufficient tools at its disposal to continue to safeguard and protect all New Yorkers.”