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Post date: December 3 2014

A.G. Schneiderman Releases New Guidance To Law Enforcement Agencies On Termination Of Secure Communities Program

Notice Alerts Law Enforcement Community In New York State To Termination Of Secure Communities Program

Schneiderman: I Am Committed To Ensuring That Law Enforcement Has The Up-To-Date Information Necessary To Implement Effective Policing Policies

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies around the state regarding the recent termination of the Secure Communities program.  Under the Secure Communities program, United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued detainer requests which asked that local law enforcement agencies hold an individual in custody beyond the normal release date, while ICE decided whether to take custody of the individual and commence immigration proceedings. This program had come under increasing scrutiny since its launch in 2008.  

Going forward, ICE will no longer request that local law enforcement detain an individual and will instead seek notification of an individual’s pending release from custody. Requests for detention must specify that the individual in question is subject to a final order of removal or that there is sufficient probable cause to believe that the individual is removable.  The Attorney General reminds law enforcement agencies around the state that compliance with any request for detention is not mandatory and remains at the discretion of the responding agency. 

Following President Obama’s recent executive action concerning immigration reform, ICE issued a directive immediately terminating the Secure Communities program. 

"While more work remains to be done, termination of Secure Communities is an important first step towards more effective and supportive policing strategies,” Attorney General Schneiderman said.  “As the chief law enforcement agent for the State of New York, I am committed to ensuring that our police departments and sheriffs’ offices have the most up-to-date information necessary to tailor effective policing strategies to meet the needs of the communities they serve.”

The Secure Communities program will be replaced with the more narrowly prescribed Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). While additional federal guidance is anticipated, under the new program, ICE will continue to review data obtained about individuals who are arrested by local law enforcement. However, going forward, ICE will no longer request that local law enforcement detain an individual and will instead seek notification of an individual’s pending release from custody.  Decisions about whether to respond to such requests for notification of release are voluntary and compliance with these requests remains at the discretion of the local police department or sheriff’s office.

In a limited set of circumstances, ICE may ask that an individual be detained until it takes custody. Under the new federal program, requests for detention must specify that the individual in question is subject to a final order of removal or that there is sufficient probable cause to believe that the individual is removable.  The Attorney General reminds law enforcement agencies around the state that compliance with any request for detention is not mandatory and remains at the discretion of the responding agency. 

Law enforcement agencies across New York State may need to take steps to review their policies and procedures in light of the termination of the Secure Communities program.  

For more information regarding the termination of the Secure Communities Program, click here and here.

A copy of today's bulletin can be read here.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Anjana Samant, Special Counsel Jessica Attie and Bureau Chief Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Bureau, with assistance from Anisha Dasgupta, Deputy Solicitor General of the Appeals & Opinions Bureau. Alvin Bragg is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice.