November 20, 2014
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
MEMORANDUM FOR: Thomas S. Winkowski
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The Secure Communities program, as we know it, will be discontinued.
The goal of Secure Communities was to more effectively identify and facilitate
the removal of criminal aliens in the custody of state and local law enforcement agencies.
But the reality is the program has attracted a great deal of criticism, is widely
misunderstood, and is embroiled in litigation; its very name has become a symbol for
general hostility toward the enforcement of our immigration laws. Governors, mayors,
and state and local law enforcement officials around the country have increasingly
refused to cooperate with the program, and many have issued executive orders or signed
laws prohibiting such cooperation. A number of federal courts have rejected the
authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to detain immigrants pursuant to
federal detainers issued under the current Secure Communities program.
The overarching goal of Secure Communities remains in my view a valid and
important law enforcement objective, but a fresh start and a new program are necessary.
As recommended by the Homeland Security Advisory Council Task Force, Secure
Communities “must be implemented in a way that supports community policing and
sustains the trust of all elements of the community in working with local law
Accordingly, I am directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to
discontinue Secure Communities. ICE should put in its place a program that will
continue to rely on fingerprint–based biometric data submitted during bookings by state
and local law enforcement agencies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for criminal
background checks. However, ICE should only seek the transfer of an alien in the
custody of state or local law enforcement through the new program when the alien has
been convicted of an offense listed in Priority 1 (a), (c), (d), and (e) and Priority 2 (a) and
(b) of the November 20, 2014 Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of
Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum, or when, in the judgment of an ICE Field
Office Director, the alien otherwise poses a danger to national security. In other words,
unless the alien poses a demonstrable risk to national security, enforcement actions
through the new program will only be taken against aliens who are convicted of
specifically enumerated crimes.
Further, to address the increasing number of federal court decisions that hold that
detainer-based detention by state and local law enforcement agencies violates the Fourth
Amendment, 1 I am directing ICE to replace requests for detention (i.e., requests that an
agency hold an individual beyond the point at which they would otherwise be released)
with requests for notification (i.e., requests that state or local law enforcement notify ICE
of a pending release during the time that person is otherwise in custody under state or
If in special circumstances ICE seeks to issue a request for detention (rather than a
request for notification), it must specify that the person is subject to a final order of
removal or there is other sufficient probable cause to find that the person is a removable
alien, thereby addressing the Fourth Amendment concerns raised in recent federal court
1 See, e.g., Miranda–Olivares, 2014 WL 1414305, at *I I (D. Ore. Apr. 11 , 2014) (holding that county violated the
Fourth Amendment by relying on an ICE detainer that did not provide probable cause regarding removability);
Morales v. Chadbourne, 996 F. Supp. 2d 19, 29 (D.R.l. 2014) (concluding that detention pursuant to an immigration
detainer “for purposes of mere investigation is not permitted”). See also Moreno v. Napolitano, Case No. 11 C
5452, 2014 WL 4814776 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2014) (denying judgment on the pleadings to the government on
plaintiffs‘ claim that ICE’s detainer procedures violate probable cause requirements); Gonzalez v. ICE, Case No.
2:13–cv-0441-BRO–FFM, at 12-13 (C.D. Cal. July 28, 2014) (granting the government‘s motion to dismiss, but
allowing plaintiffs to file an amended complaint and noting that plaintiffs “have sufficiently pleaded that Defendants
exceeded their authorized power” by issuing “immigration detainers without probable cause resulting in unlawful
detention“); Villars v. Kubiatoski, –— F. Supp. 2d ––––, 2014 WL 1795631 , at* 10 (N.D. Ill. May 5, 2014) (rejecting
dismissal of Fourth Amendment claims concerning an ICE detainer issued “without probable cause that Villars
committed a violation of immigration laws”); Galarza v. Szalczyk, Civ. Action No. 10-cv-068 15, 2012 WL
1080020, at * 14 (E.D. Penn. March 30, 2012) (denying qualified immunity to immigration officials for unlawful
detention on an immigration detainer issued without probable cause), rev’d and remanded on other grounds, 745
F.3d 634 (reversing district court‘s finding of no municipal liability); Uroza v. Salt Lake City, No. 2: 11 CV713DAK,
2013 WL 653968, at *6-7 (D. Utah Feb. 21, 2013) (denying dismissal on qualified immunity grounds where plaintiff
claimed to have been held on an immigration detainer issued without probable cause). Cf Makowski v. United
States, –— F. Supp. 2d ––, 2014 WL 1089119, at *10 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (concluding that plaintiff stated a plausible
false imprisonment claim against the United States where he was held on a detainer without probable cause).
This new program should be referred to as the “Priority Enforcement Program” or
Nothing in this memorandum shall prevent ICE from seeking the transfer of an
alien from a state or local law enforcement agency when ICE has otherwise determined
that the alien is a priority under the November 20, 2014 Policies for the Apprehension,
Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum and the state or
locality agrees to cooperate with such transfer. DHS will monitor these activities at the
state and local level, including through the collection and analysis of data, to detect
inappropriate use to support or engage in biased policing, and will establish effective
remedial measures to stop any such misuses.2 I direct the Office of Civil Rights and Civil
Liberties to develop and implement a plan to monitor state and local law enforcement
agencies participating in such transfers.
Finally, acquainting state and local governments, and their law enforcement
components, with this policy change will be crucial to its success. I therefore direct the
Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs to formulate a plan and coordinate an
effort to engage state and local governments about this and related changes to our
enforcement policies. I am willing to personally participate in these discussions.
2 See Homeland Security Advisory Council, Task Force on Secure Communities Findings and Recommendations,
September 2011 .