Undocumented Life: Chicago-area U.S. citizen becomes first to sue over detention under Secure Communities

When James Makowski pleaded guilty to drug possession in 2010, he agreed to enter a 120-day boot camp as punishment. He figured it wouldn’t be as bad as the boot camp he completed when he entered the U.S. Marines.

But instead of boot camp, James ended up serving two months in a maximum security prison in Pontiac, Ill.

Makowski’s fingerprints were submitted to an FBI database and later shared with the homeland security department’s Automated Biometric Identification System. His name was flagged and an immigration “detainer” was issued.

The problem is that Makowski is a U.S. citizen.

Now the Chicago-area resident is suing the FBI and Homeland Security, becoming the first U.S. citizen to challenge Secure Communities--the federal program that helps local authorities identify potentially undocumented immigrants.

“I pleaded guilty with the understanding that I would only do boot camp. But because the detainer was issued I was disqualified from entering the boot camp,” he told The Chicago Reporter. “I was pretty shocked. I couldn't believe it. I’m a U.S. citizen. I felt like I was hit by a freight train. I was upset, depressed and helpless.”

Makowski was born in India. He was adopted by an American family when he was 4 months old.  The family moved around the country before settling in Illinois. Makowski became a naturalized U.S. citizen at age 1, but the government did not update his immigration records, according to Mark Fleming, attorney with the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.

Under Secure Communities, fingerprints of anyone arrested by local law enforcement agencies are submitted to the FBI and are later shared with DHS.

“Part of the problem here is that immigration officials never bothered to interview him,” said Geoffrey A. Vance, who is representing Makowski. “If they did they would have known that he was a citizen. They relied on the data and never bothered to check.”

Makowski’s lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois and it argues that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security violated the Privacy Act, which restricts what information may be passed between government agencies, every time they share fingerprints from people who are not suspected of an immigration violation, according to the lawsuit.

Immigration officials deny having violated the Privacy Act.

"The information-sharing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI serves as the cornerstone of Secure Communities, and fulfills a mandate required by federal law. This information sharing does not violate the Privacy Act. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is evaluating the allegations contained in the lawsuit; however, we do not comment on pending litigation,” officials said in a prepared statement.

The Secure Communities program was designed to find and deport dangerous criminals, but a Chicago Reporter investigation found that many of the undocumented immigrants in Illinois being placed in deportation proceeded had no criminal record.

In Illinois, 46 percent of 3,023 people who were booked into immigration custody under Secure Communities between Nov. 24, 2009, and July 25, 2011, were never charged with, or convicted of, the crimes for which they were arrested, according to the Reporter's analysis of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security records.

Another 29 percent were charged with one misdemeanor, which in many cases stemmed from a traffic violation, before being taken into immigration custody, the analysis shows.

But immigration officials say the Secure Communities program has been successful at identifying dangerous criminals.

Local immigration officials say Secure Communities helped find a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant last month in Lake County. His record shows that he had a previous conviction for human smuggling in Arizona in 2008, according to Gail Montenegro, spokeswoman for the enforcement agency.

But Fleming of the National Immigrant Justice Center says Makowski and other U.S. citizens are at risk.

"U.S. citizens are a vulnerable population to Secure Communities," he said.

Makowski said he just hopes his experience is not repeated, and wants the lawsuit to change the system.

“If my family didn’t have the resources I don’t know where I would be,” he said. “There are plenty of people who don’t have these resources.”

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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    TWO TEA PARTY LAWS THAT WOULD PROVIDE JOBS FOR AMERICANS

    E-Verify ‘The Legal Workforce Act’ (H.R. 2885) although just voluntary at this time, is an electronic program operated by the Social Security Administration and Customs and Immigration Enforcement. —The last entity I would listen too is the Liberal Press, who have transferred their loyalty to hard core radical people like socialist George Soros? The mainstream media Editorial reeks of deceit and rhetoric, when it comes to illegal immigration. The progressives in the news media are especially dangerous. The liberals will lie and cheat, no matter the consequences to America. So it is with E-Verify, which they have demonized because, it actually flags illegal immigrants in the workplace and opens up jobs for U.S. citizens and residents. The liberals have been very predominant in using the influence of the press, to erect a barrier against Mandatory E-Verify, except they didn’t reckon on the growing masses of the TEA PARTY. Unlike the two main political parties the TEA PARTY will enforce all laws and statutes pertaining to illegal immigration, whereas the Dem’s and GOP tend to intentionally overlook such state ordinances as Sanctuary Cities and states like California?

    I THINK DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS ARE UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THE TEA PARTY WILL HAVE NO REAL INFLUENCE IN THE OUTCOME OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION? BOTH PARTIES WILL BE PROVED WRONG?

    REMEMBER THE TEA PARTY WILL ENFORCE ‘THE PEOPLE’S’ LAWS. THERE WILL BE NO PLEADINGS FOR ANY CRIMINAL ILLEGAL ALIEN, NO OBAMA BACKDOOR AMNESTIES, NO DREAM ACTS, NO SANCTUARY CITIES, NO CHAIN MIGRATION. E-VERIFICATION WOULD ALSO BE FULLY ENFORCED WITH STRINGENT PUNISHMENT, FOR THOSE WHO DON’T COMPLY? POTENTIAL PRESIDENT MITT ROMNEY BETTER STAY AWARE OF THE ‘TEA PARTY’ EMPOWERMENT, AS IF HE THINKS OF PLAYING ALONG IN THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ISSUE, HE WILL BE RECOGNISED AS A FLIP-FLOPPER.

    Even the House Speaker John Boehner has refused to bring up compulsory E-Verify for a House vote. Obviously he and his entrenched colleagues will not allow it anywhere near the Congress, as he and his fellow conspirators are subject to the corporate donations, to keep the old school corrupting our system of government. E-Verify is just one bill that must be passed to save the jobs of millions of low income Americans mainly.

    The Independents, and uncountable numbers of delusional Democrats, Republicans are recognizing that the Lib-Democrats are out to win the grand price in November, but now millions of TEA PARTY people will not fall into their political trap. This is the same with photo ID to vote, who have ruthless personages as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Kings court caterwauling ‘voter Suppression’, when all the TEA PARTY requests is a fair and equitable election. Surf the internet under ‘Voter Fraud’ and you will discover the hundreds of cases of this diabolical use of our most trusted right of American citizens, being compromised by NON CITIZENS, felons and illegal aliens. This began with inception of canvassing provided by ACORN organization, which signed up just about anybody and were eventually caught and 11 states are resolving this criminal issue.

    Another law that remains quietly concealed from the public is the Rep. Steve Kings THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP ACT (H.R.140). An astronomical amount of money is being extracted from every taxpaying American that supports the annual arrival of an estimated 400.000 smuggled babies into the United States. They are concealed in their Mother’s womb and once here becomes the taxpayers charge. These females although illegal that once they set foot on American soil, their offspring receive a free delivery, free heath care and a free education, thanks to unfunded mandates handed down by the courts. The only salvation from this misjudged law is to amend the 14th amendment, which an only child with one citizen parent qualifies for instant citizenship. Illegal alien parents are well aware that if they smuggle the unborn child through an international airport terminal or past the U.S. Border Patrol, they are free and clear as the misguided law stands today.

    With only four months to go before D-Day us the voter only has that one slender chance of changing the direction of our country. With the democrats cocooned with the Liberals, the only promise is uncontrolled ‘Tax and Spend’ so elevating the 16 Trillion dollar deficit we owe the rest of the worlds investors. Then under the Republicans, a lesser of the evils, but even so they must be controlled by the TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP.

    Anybody who contradicts the writings in the U.S. Constitution, who is adverse to a real border fence, who is unconcerned about the 20 million plus illegal aliens already here or the harbinger of a further invasion from Central and South America needs to be relieved of their seats in Washington, not excluding the majority of legislators in Congress, state governors as Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Jerry Brown of California, and Mayors as Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles—all must be replaced by TEA PARTY MEMBERS. All the pro-illegal immigrant law makers are destroying this sovereign country, as they are well aware that illegal aliens vote. That is why Americans, Hispanic, Latin, Black, White Asian and others should join one of the thousands of local chapters of the TEA PARTY. They should be ready to oversee the elections, including the rampant fraud in the absentee ballot. Around the country the election rolls are crowded with the names of the deceased, others who have moved to a different state. There are many ways our most sacred of rights have been compromised and only the citizen voter can change it.

    Remember under Obama Imperial court we will be paying not only for any person who illegally ventures here, but for millions of Americans who have found it easy, to just live of the taxpayer. Beneath our feet is abundance of wealth in oil, natural gas and coal for energy that President Obama denies us. Those trillions of dollars in excess gallons of crude oil could clearly go to replenish state treasuries and the remainder could be sold to our friends in other countries. Under Obama and decades of environmental zealots, we have not been cut off from our own resources, relying on governments abroad that hate us. Even the abundance of oil from Canada is better than dealing with foreign potentates.

    Attention: Investigation of President Obama’s background history is due to be released by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on July 17, 2012 and could stun everybody. The upcoming press conference is set to be held at 2:30 p.m. local time at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona., with World Net Daily again providing live streaming video coverage.

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