The Portland Mercury is reporting that Multnomah County is working to regain independence from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency in federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.
According to their story, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on March 1st “unanimously approved a first-in-Oregon resolution that calls for negotiations with the feds and lays the groundwork for a possible withdrawal.”
The “Secure Communities” program involves sharing of fingerprints between local corrections agencies and the ICE agency, to identify arrestees as undocumented. “According to ICE, just 18 percent of those identified as undocumented through Secure Communities from 2008 to 2011 were arrested for felonies, while the rest fell under misdemeanors.” This imbalance, leading to the deportation of minor offenders in the vast majority of cases, has caused a nationwide re-think of the policy, which has proven costly for local governments and has made undocumented immigrants less likely to report crimes of which they are the victim.
The Mercury’s Alex Zielinksi reported, “Last summer, all of New York State suspended its participation in the program, and in October, California’s Santa Clara County backed out. Multnomah would be the first of Oregon’s counties to reject the federal program.”