More Immigration Checks in Massachusetts
Despite Governor Deval Patrick’s objections, federal immigration officials announced the start of the Secure Communities program for May 15. The program is a controversial one that checks electronically everyone’s fingerprints who have been arrested and cross-references them with the FBI and databases for immigration.
That allows the officials from immigration to look for and detain undocumented immigrants and possibly deport them. Governor Patrick fears the program may encourage discrimination.
He said, “We are running a serious risk of what I call ethnic profiling, fracturing important relationships in our communities, which are necessary to maintain our law enforcement.”
Other who support the program say it will help take criminals off the streets and make neighbourhoods safer for everyone.
Patrick said the implementation of the plan would not affect in any way how they handle their fingerprinting and information sharing. He said they already send all their fingerprints to an arm of the federal government and that has been the protocol for years. He said the same practice would continue so the public will be protected.
Those opposed to the program have said it will create profiling on the part of the police. They will look out for those they feel are here illegally, as opposed to looking for just criminals in general with their race or ethnic background not being a part of the equation.
The program was first used as a pilot program back in 2006 by the Boston Police Department and will take full effect across the entire state on May 15.