DEMS SPLIT ON IMMIGRATION: A month after President Obama traveled to the US–Mexico border to tout his immigration record, which includes nearly 800,000 deportations, members of his own party are backing away from his flagship enforcement program, Secure Communities, set to be activated nationwide by 2013.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn took the first step in May, “terminating” his state’s participation in the program, in which local law enforcement officials share arrest data with federal immigration agents to target “criminal aliens.” In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Quinn noted that less than 20 percent of people deported through Secure Communities have been convicted of a serious crime, while 30 percent “have never been convicted of any crime.” One month later, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended the program in his state, citing “concerns” about its “impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement.” Most recently, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declined to join Secure Communities, saying it would “deter the reporting of criminal activity…particularly domestic violence.” Now California Governor Jerry Brown is under pressure to stop participating, or at least allow cities and counties to opt out.
At the federal level, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has called for “an immediate freeze” of Secure Communities, and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi recently told the Spanish-language publication La Opinión that the program suffers from “overzealous application” and is “a waste of taxpayer money.”
A new survey by Latino Decisions and impreMedia found that Latino voters overwhelmingly oppose the deportation of noncriminal immigrants and students, who have been targeted through Secure Communities. Obama ought to consider this before he relies on the Latino vote in 2012. RENÉE FELTZ
THE WIDENING WAR ON WIKILEAKS: The investigation of WikiLeaks by the Justice Department is expanding. On June 9, just over a month after the grand jury hearing began in Alexandria, Virginia, subpoenas were issued to David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network; Tyler Watkins, Bradley Manning’s ex-boyfriend; and Nadia Heninger, a Princeton University cryptologist who has worked with WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum. All were ordered to appear in District Court on June 15.
This is only the most recent move by the Obama administration in what has been an aggressive investigation from the start. Just after WikiLeaks started publishing US Embassy cables in November, Attorney General Eric Holder authorized “significant” actions related to a criminal investigation, including ordering Twitter to turn over data on three users linked to WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is conducting a probe of its own.
While it is unknown how many people have been subpoenaed so far, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald has reported evidence of at least four, including a Cambridge resident who remains anonymous. The Obama administration’s actions align with its stance that WikiLeaks published “stolen” classified information: in a February speech ostensibly about “Internet freedom,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the cables had been “stolen, just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase.” But it was Manning, not WikiLeaks, who allegedly breached a classified database and published material. And depending on the charge and person, indicting others linked to WikiLeaks for receiving classified information would be almost unprecedented.