Al Día Calls Philadelphia Daily News Column 'Bigoted'

Al Día Calls Philadelphia Daily News Column 'Bigoted'

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Editor's Note: An editorial in Philadelphia's Spanish-language newspaper Al Día criticizes a column in the Philadelphia Daily News that called a City Council resolution condemning the Secure Communities program “misguided, moronic or malicious.” In fact, Al Día editors write, it is the supporters of Secure Communities who are the ignorant ones. Under Secure Communities, local police are required to share fingerprint data of arrestees to federal immigration authorities.

PHILADELPHIA -- Forty thousand documents about Secure Communities extensively reveal that non-convict immigrants and vulnerable groups including women, mentally disabled and juveniles have been subjected to violations of basic human and constitutional rights.

These tens of thousands of documents come from government agencies including ICE, DHS and the FBI, disclosed thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit led by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic.

Racial profiling appears as the front-runner of fundamental rights violations. The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security found in 2010 that similar programs to Secure Communities –the Criminal Alien Program and immigration authority delegation agreements under 287(g)--emboldened local police to conduct pre-textual arrests simply to ascertain immigration status to enable the resulting massive detention and deportation of non-criminal immigrants.

The Secure Communities biometric data sharing program, according to ICE, reveals “that 29 percent of those deported through Secure Communities had no criminal convictions, and another 31 percent had been convicted only of minor misdemeanors, including traffic offenses,” as stated by the report Secure Communities Nationwide Interoperability Statistics Through May 31, 2011.

For Pennsylvania alone, in April 2011 dozens of FOIA documents disclosed the farce of agreements between ICE and the Pennsylvania State Police with the purported goal to “identify, detain and remove aliens convicted of serious criminal offense,” to later widen the criteria from “convicted” to those merely “charged,” and finally granting full discretion as to whom to detain and deport.

These documents also expose ICE and the Chief of Staff for the Philadelphia Deputy Mayor, regarding their concern to keep appearances of supposedly studying the possibility of opting out of Secure Communities. An Oct. 30, 2009 email sent by ICE Assistant Field Office Director states that while the Deputy Mayor’s office were “not looking to opt out,” but that they “would like to be fully educated on the procedures when asked by the public.”

All of the above leads us to the lame and outright thuggish assertions by the Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, calling a City Council resolution condemning the unconstitutional Secure Communities “misguided, moronic or malicious.”

Bykofsky, as in years past, assails immigrants using biased as well as simplistic stereotypes such as that the undocumented “do harm by breaking our laws,” or condemning the council resolution for “this could turn loose criminals and put everyone at risk.”

Peppered with epithets, this ill-informed column could serve no other purpose than to amuse. A bigoted Bykofsky truly lost it this time, talking to himself –literally--calling sensible initiatives “aberrant behavior,” and calling the City Council “dopes” for demanding Philadelphia to stop cooperating with the unconstitutional Secure Communities.