With statewide implementation of the controversial Secure Communities program, police will now automatically send fingerprints of anyone arrested in Massachusetts to federal immigration officials.
As WBUR's Bianca Vazquez Toness has reported, prior, fingerprints were only entered into the FBI's database; now, they'll be forwarded to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, too.
Immigrant advocates say Secure Communities could lead to racial profiling, and discourage immigrants from cooperating with police. But many law enforcement officials say further sharing of information will help them catch criminals.
The expansion of Secure Communities in Massachusetts comes despite some notable local opposition. As Bianca reported:
After testing the system for several years, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis complained to federal officials that too many non-criminals had been deported as a result.
Additionally, Gov. Deval Patrick had opposed the program, but said last week that he'll uphold the law. He told State House News Service:
It is about public safety and there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, and I will say the federal government seems to have responded to some of the concerns that we in Massachusetts and in other states have expressed.
Federal officials acknowledged that the program went beyond its main purpose of deporting the most dangerous criminals, and the Obama administration, as Bianca reported, has tried to redirect agents to focus on priority deportations.
This program aired on May 15, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.