Massachusetts to join program that checks immigration status of arrestees
December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
Massachusetts State Police and other law enforcement agencies will join a controversial program intended to help federal authorities detect illegal immigrants, a top state public safety official said today. Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan said Massachusetts will sign an agreement to formally join Secure Communities, a federal program that screens all people who are arrested and fingerprinted to determine who is an illegal immigrant. Those here illegally will be reported to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will decide whether to detain and deport them.
State officials said they agreed to sign up because the Obama administration has demanded that the system expand nationwide by 2013. Boston, which already runs the program, was a pilot for the system. However, state officials complained that the US government has sent them mixed signals on the system. The move marks a shift for the Patrick administration, which had adamantly opposed having the State Police help enforce immigration law. In one of his first acts as governor, Patrick overturned former governor Mitt Romney’s pact with the federal government to deputize some state troopers to enforce immigration law. (boston globe)