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 immigration.
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 fingerprint profiles.
That hasn't kept the Twitterati from venting their frustration, though.
"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.
During a 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 recent developments.
"Well played, immigration, well played" @Abrithoo said.
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.