Los Angeles, CA -- On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Financial & Oversight Subcommitee released a startling, bipartisan report detailing how the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) had been compromised in its crucial mission of overseeing DHS' deportation machine and more. In particular, the Subcommittee found that OIG had lost its independence when investigating the misnamed "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) deportation dragnet.
The following is a statement by Joseph Villela, CHIRLA Policy Director.
"This devastating report takes us back in time to 2011/12, when CHIRLA and its allies' opposition to the fatally flawed S-Comm was beginning to bear fruit. Since 2009, when this deportation dragnet was secretly imposed on Los Angeles and then the rest of California, we began to see community members 'disappeared' after seemingly routine local police encounters while selling hot dogs or driving their children to school. By mid-2011, awareness of S-Comm's brutal impact had reach such a level that DHS was compelled to create a Task Force to suggest "reforms" to it. The Task Force came to Los Angeles and heard countless tales of families being separated indiscriminately.
At the same time, Members of Congress began to look closer at S-Comm - Representative Zoe Lofgren requested that the DHS OIG take a close look at the program and how it was forced upon unsuspecting communities across California and the country. The Senate report now reveals that, as suspected back in 2012, that the OIG's investigation was nothing but a sham, whose content and findings were dictated by then DHS Secretary (current University of California President) Janet Napolitano's lead counsel John Sandweg and Chief of Staff Noah Kroloff.
Aside from entirely discrediting the OIG report, the behavior of Secretary Napolitano's staff raises serious concerns about the Task Force as well. After several of its members resigned, the Task Force released tepid recommendations to "reform" S-Comm in ways that would have little effect on the ground, yet DHS did not even adopt these.
Fast forward to today in 2014, and we see that S-Comm continues to help deport just about anyone local police hand over to ICE. In other words, as the recently surpassed grim milestone of 2 million deportations under President Obama shows, nothing has changed. While the TRUST Act here in California is helping to protect many immigrants from deportation, most of the rest of the country has no such safeguards. It's high time to stop doing the same horrible thing over and over yet expecting rosy results. This sorry trip into history and the current sordid reality can only lead to one conclusion: the Obama Administration must end S-Comm now."