Interfaith Group Calls on Governor Cuomo to end NYS participation in Secure Communities

Members of New York’s faith communities, immigrant advocates and community members were brought together by NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform and the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York on Wednesday, May 11 2011, to send a loud and clear message to Governor Cuomo: New York must join Illinois in doing the right thing and end the state’s participation in Secure Communities, or S-Comm. UNITED SIKHS Legal Fellow Ilana Ofgang spoke at the conference, emphasizing the need to have policies that increase security without racial or religious profiling of immigrant communities.

Watch Ilana speak at the Press Conference!

According to the National Immigration Forum, “Secure Communities is a program that allows state and local police to check the fingerprints of an individual they are booking into a jail against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration databases. If there is a “hit” in an immigration database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is automatically notified, even if the person has not been convicted of any criminal act.” More information about S-Comm is available here.

Members of different faith groups spoke about how S-Comm has affected their own faith communities, and speakers included:

·         Rev. Fabian Arias, Minister of Zion Lutheran Church and co-chair of the New Sanctuary Movement

·         Sunita Patel, Center for Constitutional Rights

·         Rabbi Michael Feinberg, E.D., Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

·         Adem Carroll, Director, Muslim Progressive-Traditional Alliance

·         Minister Pat Malcolm, Secretary of Churches United to Save and Heal or CUSH

·         Lisa Sharon Harper, Executive Director and co-founder of New York Faith and Justice

The press conference concluded with a Candle Lighting Ceremony and prayers from different faith traditions.

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