New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) and New York Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand (D) may have soaked up most of the attention on Twitter last
week, but while people weren't watching, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
were experiencing a resurgence themselves--and it all had to do with
According to OhMyGov Analytics, over 7,824 references to the
agency were logged on Twitter last week--over 3,000 on May 19 alone.
The culprit: a revelation of an unprecedented federal
program that would allow law enforcement to access the fingerprints of
undocumented immigrants in the state's jails--a policy that is running into
opposition from pro-immigration activists as well as local law enforcement in
the Big Apple.
"We prefer that they not do that here," New York
Commissioner Ray Kelly said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
"The federal government's position is that it's required under the law
they're doing it. We're complying to the extent that we have to."
With the implementation of the program, New York City joins
the manicured suburbs of Suffolk, Westchester and Nassau counties among 31
other municipalities participating in the program. Once the program is fully
implemented, the biometric information collected from the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City, Riker's Island, and other
local jails will be uploaded to a national database alongside 2.4 million other
That hasn't kept the Twitterati from venting their
"Apparently it's radical to work within the system and
'let my people in'," One user tweeted in anger.
"I would favor comprehensive immigration reform,"
@emolian wrote. "remember, Jesus was an immigrant in Egypt (technically he
was a refugee, but that's another story).
The minds of the online community and the press seemed to
meet May 16, when both metrics intersected. The social network service was
relatively quiet as news media logged 55 stories about the agency--including an
editorial sharply critical of the Secure Communities program. Yet by May 18,
the social network service lit up as nearly 2,648 users took to Twitter to
register their displeasure--or approval, as the case may be.
"Did the Mex gov't write the Pope's pro_illegal
immigration statement?" @24AheadDotCom wrote.
conference of Catholic bishops on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI went on the record
on his support for immigration reform, praising the 'great generosity' of
American Catholics in welcoming new immigrants to the country--comments that
only fueled the anger of some online.
Yet despite the turmoil, some were more facetious about the
"Well played, immigration, well played" @Abrithoo
The Twitter chatter died down a little bit by May 20, but
that hasn't alleviated worries that 'detainers' were being maltreated by local
authorities, such as, being alleged by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who oversees the
Maricopa County Sheriff's office, who is currently fighting a racial profiling
lawsuit brought by the Justice Department.