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Secure Communities Program (S-COMM)

The Secure Communities Program expanded Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.


S-COMM allowed ICE to place a “detainer” on suspected undocumented immigrants. A “detainer” is a request from ICE to a jail to hold a person for up to 48 hours beyond the scheduled release date so that ICE can take them into custody and initiate deportation proceedings. The Bush administration launched the pilot S-COMM program in 2008, with 14 jurisdictions participating. In 2011, the Obama administration had expanded the program to 1,210 jurisdictions. ICE divided noncitizen prisoners into three categories:

  • Level 1: Those convicted of serious crimes, such as homicide, kidnapping, robbery, major drug offenses with sentences longer than one year, and offenses involving threats to national security.
  • Level 2: All other felonies.
  • Level 3: Misdemeanors and lesser crimes.