Category Archives: Press (Massachusetts)

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Refuses to Sign onto S-Comm (Boston Herald)

Gov. Deval Patrick refuses to sign immigration program
By Hillary Chabot
Monday, June 6, 2011

A backpedaling Gov. Deval Patrick refused to sign onto a national security program — already in place in Boston — that would target illegal immigrants who have already been arrested, citing concerns about its effectiveness and potential for racial profiling.

“The Governor and I are dubious of the Commonwealth taking on the federal role of immigration enforcement,” wrote Patrick’s Secretary of Public Safety Mary Beth Heffernan in a letter to Immigration Customs Enforcement officials. “We are even more skeptical of the potential impact that Secure Communities could have on the residents of the Commonwealth. Through the community meetings we have held around the Commonwealth, residents have expressed concerns about racial profiling as a result of the program.”

Patrick said he would sign onto the program last December when the White House indicated participation was mandatory — but Patrick’s administration suggested that required involvement is up in the air.

The letter, which Patrick’s administration sent Friday, also charges ICE officials with “sending conflicting messages” about the Secure Communities program. Patrick’s move comes as two other states pulled out of the program over the last few months.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week he was withdrawing from Secure Communities, saying it hasn’t deported felons. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn decided in early May to bow out of the program, saying many of the people deported hadn’t committed a serious crime.

Lawmakers in California are also pushing legislation that would withdraw the state from the program.

The Secure Communities Program requires participating law enforcement agencies to share data on criminal suspects with federal immigration authorities. The Boston Police Department have participated successfully since 2006, and it’s meant to identify and deport violent criminals.

Hundreds Protest In Chelsea Over Immigration Enforcement Program

Hundreds Protest In Chelsea Over Immigration Enforcement Program
By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
April 28, 2011 9:09 PM

CHELSEA (CBS) – Hundreds of people came out to protest – loudly – against a proposed plan that immigrant advocates fear could break up families and cast too wide a net.

The debate is over a federal plan known as the “Secure Communities” program.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

It allows local police to share the fingerprints of people they arrest for felonies with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

If the prints match someone who is in the country illegally, that person could be deported. Federal officials say they determine deportation based on the crime alleged to have been committed and on the person’s specific immigration history. The goal, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, is to find and remove from the country illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes.

The City of Boston has been a test city for the program since 2006 — and now, it is set to go statewide.

That’s why so many people are coming out to voice their opposition, as they did at a Thursday night ICE information session at Chelsea High School.

“This is devastating,” said Gladys Vega, Executive Director of the Chelsea Collaborative. “We are completely appalled that we’re actually having this conversation.”

Vega and other immigrant advocates claim the program goes too far.

“The problem is, in the Boston example so far, more than 50% of the people that they’re deporting under this program in fact have not committed any crime,” according to Carol Rose, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “It’s being used as a large sweep.”

Sunita Patel, a staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City, says her organization has reviewed the numbers and, in a nutshell, Secure Communities doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Instead, Patel said, it “ends up destroying families and targeting all immigrants, not just the folks the program is supposed to be impacting.”

The program is expected to be in use statewide by the end of 2013.