Immigration law compromises human rights, safety

Turmoil is growing between the California state legislature and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over immigration laws.

ICE’s Secure Communities program requires local law enforcement to send detainees’ fingerprints to immigration authorities and to hold them on behalf of ICE if they are identified as candidates for deportation.

The state legislature objects; it is close to passing a law instructing local law enforcement to disregard some instructions to detain prisoners longer (the details are not yet finalized). Under this law, California counties would be able to rejoin the program on a voluntary basis.

Angela Choi | Daily Trojan

The opposition has been met with an uproar from ICE authorities, which have called these measures violations of federal law.

An international campus like USC should address the topic of immigration. More important, however, is the need to respect peoples’ rights.

Though stances on immigration vary throughout the USC community, the validity of this program can’t be a part of that discussion until we address the violation of human rights, as well as the harm to law enforcement and the community.

The law puts people who have been convicted of nothing worse than low-level crimes in danger of being detained beyond the lawful time — or, even worse, of being deported on the suspicion of a more serious offense.

To subject all detainees, without exception, to an inter-departmental background check makes mistakes unavoidable.

In defense of the Secure Communities program, ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas issued the following statement: “Even though some aliens may be arrested on minor criminal charges, they may also have more serious criminal backgrounds which disguise their true danger to society.”

When the United States started putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor because of their Japanese heritage, the reasoning was of a similar line. It essentially says we should be allowed to impugn upon innocent people’s rights in case we find out they are guilty.

It is possible some of these people are guilty of graver offenses, but in this country, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. Holding them in custody “just in case” goes against their rights. This issue is greater than immigration.

ICE’s Secure Communities program puts unwarranted strain on local law enforcement.

Asking local officers to forgo their own responsibilities to take part in the immigration struggle hurts their ability to protect their communities — their primary objective. Time spent dealing with undocumented immigrants could be spent keeping Los Angeles safe.

These issues have caused the state legislature to defy ICE. Led by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the legislation is called the Trust Act. It has already been passed by the Assembly and the Senate Public Safety Committee.

To support human rights and make sure law enforcement has the means to keep us safe, don’t stay silent. Write a letter to a California legislator.


Daniel Grzywacz is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience and anthropology. His column “72 Degrees and Shaking” runs Wednesdays.



5 replies
  1. Dave Francis
    Dave Francis says:

    Nevada–has the same problems as the Sanctuary state of California, Arizona that has been overwhelmed by poverty from the large influx of illegal aliens. The only difference is the legislators in California and Nevada disregard their resident’s pleas for help and still pander to foreign nationals. That’s why all Governors, Mayors and every official, who supports this growing plague must be removed from office. Every person who wants the 2006 real double fence, The Legal Workforce bill, recognized as E-Verify and The Citizenship Birthright Act amended should join the Tea Party or other strong advocates on this matter. Illegal immigration costs California $10.5 Billion annually, with Nevada annual fiscal burden of immigration to be approximately $630 million as according to the Heritage Foundation. Powerful interests in the state garner the benefits, while the average legal California family gets handed over nearly $1,200 annually. So what’s the real cost in Alabama or any of the other 47 States?

    Fortunately it just goes to show that legal immigrants especially generations of Hispanics are against illegal immigration and are for enforcement, by their positive vote in Florida for Mitt Romney. They too are suffering from the indignation as being blamed from the 500.000 that illegally enters America. Of course Nevada has its own set of problems, for it also has been flooded with illegal aliens. They have infiltrated the service industry, entertainment and worse hit of all—construction. Taking jobs for bonefide US citizens and legal residents, who were rejected as Contractors and sub-contractors could make more money from discount labor. They didn’t have to offer benefits to foreigners, who swarmed Nevada during the height of the real estate boom. Other then Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Gingrich and Paul cannot be trusted with their promises to the foreign nationals, as they are against the fence and are calling with a Path to legality–that is not what the general public want?

    In one of the latest polls Maine voters were asked about their views on legal immigration. A substantial majority of respondents, 59 percent, judge that overall levels “are too high and should be reduced,” while only 6 percent believe immigration should be increased.
    Among the key findings of the poll:
    • 65% believe that illegal immigration negatively affects Maine.
    • 78% oppose in-state tuition subsidies and/or admission of illegal aliens to public universities.
    • 65% support state involvement in immigration enforcement, similar to policies enacted in Arizona and other states.
    • 43% believe illegal immigrants take jobs from American workers, while only 32% believe they fill jobs Americans will not do.
    • 59% support reducing overall immigration to the U.S., while only 6% support increasing immigration.

    In California and Nevada millions of jobs that should be in the hands of citizens, instead have been stolen by people from across the globe. Huge amounts of expenditures have been growing, because of careless use of Taxpayers’ dollars by politicians. Specific to Border States is the spiraling high cost of millions of illegal aliens pouring in, demanding equal rights to US citizens. 22 million Americans are out of work and President Obama has passed executive orders, so hundreds of thousands of unlawful migrants and immigrants without a criminal record can stay here. Farmers want the cheap labor, as they remain exempt for paying their medical issues or even their children’s schooling. Democrats will look the other way in all elections, as illegal aliens are voting and will again through 2012. These are two unfunded mandates that the US government pays nothing towards, and state compliance laws is mandatory and forced upon Americans by the courts. The low estimate for paying for all these unfunded mandates annually is $113 billion dollars. Except to stay here, you have to have food, medical care and for their children and education. Staying here it means you have to commit a felony, as to find employment you must possess a legitimate Social Security number, unless the employer is committing an illegal act themselves. Therefore using some persons SSN is a victim of identity theft and that is a –FELONY.

    As a patriotic American people we cannot afford to stop pursuing full, mandated “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” or mandated nationwide E-Verify. Without it our countries businesses will be overrun by illegal workers in every sector of industry. The circumstances have now become so critical, owing to the millions of jobless citizens, legal residents that our government needs to insist full operation of the computer based application. E-Verify is a valuable tool that has expanded to a growing number of honest businesses that have participated in the removal of foreign nationals.

    There is toxicity amongst the Democrats and Republicans, who have an irrational view and are eager to destroy any immigration enforcement at our undermanned border or tourists who overstay deliberately. As it stands a path to citizenship, espoused as Immigration reform wants to legalize all those already here. Can anybody imagine if foreign countries supported their citizens that America would not be suffering the problems of foreign workers and their families crowding the emergency rooms of major cities, educating their children and feeding off the limited benefits afforded the US population? E-verify must not be undermined or thrown into the waste pit of good immigration bills?

    Phone 202-224-3121 is the Washington center switchboard, to express your infuriated feelings and anguish at Senators and Representatives of both parties. Obamacare for all Americans will be inundated with illegal immigrants and will just drive more of them into our nation. They keep declaring no health care treatment for any illegal people, but unl ess the mandated federal bill such as E-Verify is operational, then how can we distinguish from the legal population and those who have broken immigration laws? Under such a Congressional law, the long trek home will begin if illegal workers cannot find a job. Those business owners who fail to comply could end up in prison or fined millions of dollars? All immigration bills need to be passed before Obama tries to pass another failed amnesty, as in 1986.


  2. Drew
    Drew says:

    Christian, so because they weren’t “lucky” enough to be born here, that gives them the right to barge in and ignore our laws?

  3. m1k3Vx
    m1k3Vx says:

    I’m glad that the DT is writing about immigration reform. We’ve tried to get published but were snubbed by the end of our exchange. But I digress…

    Secure communities is an ill conceived program that places unnecessary strain on local law enforcement. There should be no random documentation check but, if an individual commits a crime (not a minor infraction), a background check would not be frowned upon.

    In regards to immigration reform, concerning ICE procedures, there is something called the Morton Memo that addresses priorities in deportation processes and that, although clearly explicit, ICE agents still do not follow! The implementation of the outlined guidelines would make a positive impact.

    As for the comment on building a wall/fence with adequate security…seriously? That is the most archaic solution that only benefits the contractors that will build that useless barrier! It’s simply laughable!

    For more information on upcoming immigration/undocumented student events, please contact IDEAS Movement at USC at or visit our page at

    Sí se puede! Fight On!

  4. Joshua
    Joshua says:

    It’s called a background check. Everyone who is arrested has one ran on them to see if they have any priors. It’s no different for an illegal who has broken another law in our country. There is no compromise of human rights or safety. And I will write a letter to the legislator to ask them to pass a bill to build a wall that separates California and Mexico. A real wall that is properly guarded.

    • Christian
      Christian says:

      How bout no Joshua.

      All these programs like Secure Communities and 287g were created for the effort towards the “War on Terrorism” and ICE mentions that they also want to catch those who are undocumented (even though those hateful terrorists on 9/11 had lawful visas & weren’t undocumented). Anyways, these programs promote racial profiling and the police’s #1 job should be PROTECTING us from immediate crime and serving our community, not “Protect and Serve all those who have a 9-digit number”.

      Furthermore, in previous times before Secure Communities, people’s fingerprints were sent to the Department of Justice to see if they had any felonies or other criminal convictions and then if your fingerprints came back with no match, it meant you were clean, NOT undocumented. However, with these new programs, they send your fingerprints to DOJ and ICE just because you’re being detained or arrested, not even convicted of the accused crime. Many instances where mothers, fathers, family, close neighbors were driving to work and got pulled over & then deported. However, when an American citizen/documented resident gets pulled over, its just a $90 dollar fix-it ticket. That is injustice and it dehumanizes immigrants by denying their rights to pursue opportunities in a nation (the U.S.) that most likely has economically marginalized the circumstances in many countries of emigration (fleeing native lands). The compromise of public safety and human rights revolves around that when you’re fearful of going outside to an event where police will be or afraid that by reporting a threatening crime (domestic violence, witness to a murder/violent crime), you will be deported is in fact, – terrorism. Because in the so-called “land of the free and of the brave”, why must someone who is a minority (this case undocumented residents) have to be watching their backs?

      I am disappointed that you believe a wall on the border will solve this problem, further militarizing the border will only contribute to the negative stigma that the U.S. loves outsourcing jobs, disproportionately affect foreign nations economies, and thinks it could play “fort in the living room” with a wall. Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and many border security experts KNOW that a border wall is just either an ignorant answer or a disillusioned solution. Lastly, its sad that instead of seeing the 11 undocumented immigrants as potential tax-paying (some are already, look up “ITIN”), instead of seeing them as more potential additions to our national melting pot, you perceive them as some sort of threat because they might not have been as lucky as you to have been born in this country.

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