Congressman José E. Serrano today issued the following statement on the expansion of the so-called "Secure Communities" deportation program to the entire state of New York, despite the efforts of Serrano, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other leaders to withdraw New York from the controversial program.
"As we see "Secure Communities' expand to the whole state of New York against our citizens' and elected official wishes, we continue to call for an immediate suspension of this flawed deportation program. Time and again we see this program splitting up families, deporting immigrants for minor offenses, and generally making our communities less secure. It is increasingly clear that the program is targeting all immigrants, rather than just those involved with violent crimes. It is a dragnet and causes real suffering. It must be ended.
"It was not long ago that I was speaking out in support of Governor Cuomo's decision to try to withdraw New York from this program. I was appalled that after the rollout of the program, in which it was described as optional, we heard from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that in fact they considered it mandatory, and would not respect the Governor's wishes. Neither our city nor our state -- where so many generations of immigrants have arrived -- is interested in participating in a heavy-handed anti-immigrant deportation program. Our wishes should be respected.
"So, I join with the groups protesting today in saying that this program must end and must end now. We do not want to see any more families broken up. We do not want to see any more children living without their parents. Our communities are secure without this horrible program. It must end."