Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that Massachusetts will not participate in Secure Communities, the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration-enforcement fingerprint-sharing system. New York and Illinois both recently announced they will not participate in the program, either.
The New York Times reported that a Department of Homeland Security official said that the authorities would continue to expand the Secure Communities program, including in Massachusetts, because it was required by a federal law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that addresses the sharing of information between the F.B.I. and immigration authorities. DHS says it will overrule Gov. Deval Patrick on his decision to opt out of the program. An agency official told the Boston Globe that Massachusetts will be required to participate in the Secure Communities program by the year 2013.
Secure Communities is a fingerprint-sharing system that grants local law enforcement agencies access to FBI criminal history records and Department of Homeland Security immigration records as part of the effort to identify and remove criminal aliens from the United States. The program was created to help identify, detain and deport immigrant criminals who pose a threat to the community. Detractors argue that the majority of people deported under Secure Communities are minor violators and non-criminals.