“I am not a criminal,” Maria Bolaños of Prince George’s County said Aug. 24 at a hearing in Arlington. Instead of addressing the panelists, Bolaños directed her comments at an audience member – Marc Rapp, the Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) official overseeing the controversial Secure Communities program.
“I called the police because of a small problem with my partner. The police turned me over to ICE,” said Bolanos. “[Now] I have a deportation order.” As he sat in the packed George Mason University auditorium, Rapp listened, but didn’t respond.
Secure Communities allows local and state police to share the fingerprints of those arrested with ICE, thus effectively turning local law enforcement into immigration officials. Initially, the Department of Homeland Security said Secure Communities was a voluntary program, but two weeks ago the agency reversed itself. The reversal comes on the heels of a growing number of jurisdictions, like Arlington and D.C., refusing to participate.
Outside the hearing, protesters chanted, “Hey Obama, Don’t Deport My Mama!” and a sign read, “Stop the Hate. End (In)Secure Communities.”
(Burke Stansbury, TheFightBack’s webmaster, attended the hearing and filed the above video report.)
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