103 Geo. L.J. Online 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/gljon104 and id is 1 raw text is: Immigration Enforcement Reform: Learning from the History of
Fugitive Slave Rendition
JEFFREY M. SCHMITT*
INTRODUCTION
The United States deports hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year,' leaving many of
the country's eleven million undocumented immigrants living in constant fear of being torn from
their families and homes. Because Congress has been unable to address this humanitarian crisis
with meaningful legislative reform, President Obama recently announced that his administration
will consider changes to its enforcement policy.2 By drawing a parallel to the nation's experience
with fugitive slave rendition, this Essay argues that President Obama should allow the states to
work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to moderate the implementation of
federal enforcement programs.
ICE's Secure Communities program, which seeks to target dangerous criminals for
immigration enforcement,3 has generated controversy in part because it operates without input
from the states. Because most criminals are prosecuted by state governments, this program
necessarily relies on state cooperation to identify and detain undocumented criminals. Many
states and localities, however, are concerned that the Secured Communities program encourages
racial profiling and discourages immigrants from reporting crimes and cooperating with the
police.4 They have therefore sought to stop sharing information with ICE and have ended routine
compliance with federal requests to hold individuals who have been targeted for immigration
enforcement.5
This story of state noncooperation closely parallels the nation's experience with the federal
Fugitive Slave Act. This Act was unpopular in many northern states that wished to provide
protection for free-black residents who were being kidnapped under the guise of fugitive slave
rendition. Many states therefore passed personal liberty laws that prohibited state officers from
aiding in enforcement and forbade the use of state jails to hold persons claimed as fugitives.
* Assistant Professor of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law.  2014, Jeffrey M. Schmitt.
1 U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, U.S. DEP'T OF HOMELAND SEC., FY 2013 ICE IMMIGRATION
REMOVALS: ERO ANNUAL REPORT (2013), available at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/about/offices/ero/pdf/2013-ice-
immigration-removals.pdf.
2 David Nakamura, Under Pressure, Obama Calls for Immigration-Enforcement Review, WASH. POST (March 13,
2014, 10:49PM), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/13/under-pressure-obama-calls-
for-immigration-enforcement-review/.
3 Approximately 20% of all immigration removals take place under Secure Communities. See U.S. GOV'T
ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, GAO-12-708, SECURE COMMUNITIES: CRIMINAL ALIEN REMOVALS INCREASED, BUT
TECHNOLOGY PLANNING IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED 14 (2012), available at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO- 12-
708. In fiscal year 2011, nearly 80,000 individuals were removed under the program. Id. at 15 tbl.2.
4 See HOMELAND SEC. ADVISORY COUNSEL, U.S. DEP'T OF HOMELAND SEC., TASK FORCE ON SECURE
COMMUNITIES FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 24 (2011) [hereinafter TASK FORCE], available at
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac-task-force-on-secure-commuities.pdf.
5 Christopher N. Lasch, Rendition Resistance, 92 N.C. L. REV. 149, 160-62 (2013).

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