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Report by Justice Strategies & @NDLON: The Costly Toll of #SComm in Los Angeles

August 23, 2012

Artwork by Teresa Miroslaw

Re-posted from Justice Strategies and National Day Laborer Organizing Network

New Report Outlines Fiscal Burden of Immigrant Detention Program
Los Angeles County taxpayers spend over $26 million per year to detain immigrants for ICE

Los Angeles, CA – A new report issued today outlines the expensive toll of the federal government’s “Secure Communities” program on California and Los Angeles taxpayers.  According to the report by Justice Strategies, Los Angeles County alone spends $26 million annually to participate in the program, which detains immigrants for civil immigration violations.

Data released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Office after it was compelled to provide it through litigation shows:

  • Los Angeles County taxpayers spend over $26 million per year to detain immigrants for ICE.
  • Individuals in Los Angeles County custody who are subject to immigration detainers spend, on average, 20.6 extra days in county custody.
  • California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million annually to detain immigrants for ICE.

“We have known for some time that Secure Communities has undermined public safety and imperiled civil rights, and we now know it is also a massive unfunded mandate and an enormous burden on California taxpayers,” said Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.  “It’s time we put this ineffective, dangerous, and expensive program to rest.”

In California alone 75,000 immigrants were deported last year after being arrested for traffic offenses, selling food without permits or other trivial reasons.  As of May 2012, cumulative data shows that an alarming 69 percent of deportations were of people not convicted of a crime or of minor offenses including traffic violations.

“We can begin to solve this problem in California by enacting the TRUST Act, which already passed the state senate,” said Newman.  “The TRUST Act stands for the basic proposition that immigrants who pose no threat to public safety should not be jailed at California taxpayer expense.  This report gives us a much better sense of how much money the TRUST Act will save California taxpayers.”

Los Angeles County began its participation in the Secure Communities deportation program on August 27, 2009, making it one of the first jurisdictions in America where the program was activated.  Secure Communities has since been highly criticized for its damaging effect on community policing and its role in multiple civil rights violations.

For a copy of the full report, contact Alec Saslow at or 202-789-7751.


NDLON improves the lives of day laborers in the United States. To this end, NDLON works to unify and strengthens is member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize, and organize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. NDLON fosters safer more humane environments for day laborers, both men and women, to earn a living, contribute to society, and integrate into the community.


Justice Strategies is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform.

You can find an article by the Huffington Post here.

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