JUNE 10: A Mexican National lays out on the beach along the U.S. and Mexico border wall June 10, 2007 in San Ysidro, California. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)2007 Getty Images
U.S. Rep Xavier Becerra, middle, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu, second from right, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, , far right, release a letter asking Calif. Governor Brown to suspend its participation in the Homeland Security's immigration enforcement program known as "Secure Communities," during a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall, Friday June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Will California be the fourth state to do an about-face on Secure Communities?
If California congressional members had their way, it would.
The representatives want Gov. Jerry Brown to suspend the state's participation in the Secure Communities, a controversial Homeland Security program that enables local police and other law enforcement officials to share fingerprints of people who are arrested with immigration agents.
Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Judy Chu, along with Los Angeles city council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, are calling on the governor to suspend the state's participation in the program until questions about its effect on the reporting of crime by victims and witnesses in immigrant communities are effectively answered, according to a statement by Becerra's office.
The move follows this week's vote by the Los Angeles City Council to support state efforts to withdraw from the controversial program.
Through Secure Communities, the FBI shares with the Homeland Security Department fingerprints that local and state law enforcement have sent to the FBI to get criminal histories.
The Homeland Security Department checks the prints against its immigration records to identify people illegally in the country or who can be forced to leave the U.S.
Immigration officials say the goal is to ensure undocumented immigrants who commit crimes are flagged and deported. Nationwide, about 26 percent of those deported under program have been convicted of major drug offenses or violent crimes.
Massachusetts is the latest state to opt out of the program, joining New York and Illinois. The California Assembly has voted to withdraw. A Senate vote is pending.
This is based on a story by the Associated Press.