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Menino Sends Police Chief To D.C. To Challenge Secure Communities09:05

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Secure Communities, a federal program piloted in Boston in 2006, requires local police to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The idea is that fingerprints from local arrests are cross-referenced with a federal immigration data-base. That's supposed to target serious criminals, but it's also sweeping up immigrants for relatively minor crimes, who can then face deportation.

After meeting last week with local immigrant groups, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who was a supporter of the program, says Secure Communities has serious problems.

Menino sent Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis to Washington Monday to deliver a letter to the Department of Homeland Security outlining his concerns. Gov. Deval Patrick has also spoken out against Secure Communities in the past.

In the long run, opposition from Massachusetts' lawmakers may not matter because Washington has said it will go roll out Secure Communities nationally in 2013, with or without state and local buy-in.

Immigrant groups say the program criminalizes undocumented immigrants and those who support secure communities say the program is dealing with many of the immigration problems facing the country.


  • Patricia Montes, executive director, Centro Presente
  • Steve Kropper, co-chair, Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform

This segment aired on July 11, 2011.

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