Immigration Status Off-Limits For D.C. Police | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Immigration Status Off-Limits For D.C. Police

Play associated audio
Latino advocates hold a banner outside the Wilson Building on October 10 to raise awareness about the "Secure Communities" initiative.
Patrick Madden
Latino advocates hold a banner outside the Wilson Building on October 10 to raise awareness about the "Secure Communities" initiative.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order Wednesday barring police and public safety agencies from inquiring about a person’s immigration status or contacting federal immigration authorities.

“This executive order ensures public safety by ensuring that our police resources are deployed wisely and our immigrant communities feel safe cooperating with those who are sworn to protect them,” Mayor Gray said in a release.

Gray was met with large cheers when he signed the order at his weekly press conference at the Wilson Building, but the order appears to be largely symbolic, and doesn’t address the federal deportation program known as Secure Communities.

For months advocates for the Latino community have been pressing city leaders to reject Secure Communities, a federal program which mandates that local police share arrest information like fingerprint data with immigration authorities, and calling for Gray to live up to his promises.

In 2010, as then-chair of the D.C. Council, Gray – along with his 12 colleagues – passed a resolution barring D.C.’s participation in Secure Communities. Fast forward a year: Gray is now mayor and Secure Communities is no longer considered optional: the federal government say all jurisdictions must participate by 2013. 

Still, authorities in D.C. say they modified their policies to assure immigrant communities that police are not out looking to catch undocumented immigrants. For example, unlike other places, police in D.C. only pass along fingerprint data for serious crimes, not low-level, misdemeanor arrests. And District authorities also say they will no longer hold a person in jail under an immigration detainer for more than 48 hours.

NPR

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

In Natalie Babbitt's celebrated classic, a young girl stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. Babbitt says she wrote the book to help kids understand death.
NPR

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

A new report from two environmental groups reviewed the recyclability and compostability of packaging from 47 food companies. It found few examples of companies that have prioritized waste reduction.
NPR

Guantanamo Bay A Sticking Point Between U.S., Cuba Since 1903

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History Professor Paul Kramer.
NPR

With 'Discover' Feature, Snapchat Bucks Social Trend In News

Snapchat says social media likes and shares aren't what makes a story important. The ephemeral messaging app has rolled out Discover, featuring multimedia articles from major news brands.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.