BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Immigrant advocates rallied outside the JFK federal office building in downtown Boston Friday, protesting the federal governmentâ€™s decision to implement a program called â€śSecure Communitiesâ€ť in Massachusetts next week. The program allows law enforcement to share fingerprint information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that can act on deportation proceedings.
â€śSecure Communities is a program thatâ€™s going to devastate our community,â€ť said Brazilian Immigrant Center executive director Natalicia Tracy.
â€śWeâ€™re gong to have more separations of the families. Weâ€™re going to have more detentions of people who do not have criminal records,â€ť said Centro Presente executive director Patricia Montes.
But some Republican lawmakers say itâ€™s about time the feds implement Secure Communities. They even criticize Governor Deval Patrick for not implementing the program sooner.
â€śWe just had a couple of example of drunk drivers who were illegal aliens â€¦killing somebody on the streets â€¦things like that, you know, could we have prevented that?â€ť said Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield). â€śGovernor Romney did start this program before he left office, but it was suspended by the current governor.â€ť
Governor Patrick said federal officials always intended to implement Secure Communities, but warned police not to use the program as a â€ślicense to profile.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s not a surprise, it was always going to be rolled out, which shouldnâ€™t have been rolled out and what I refuse to do is to use it as an opportunity to gin up unnecessary fear in communities whose cooperation with law enforcement is important to public safety,â€ť said Patrick.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to implement Secure Communities nationwide by 2013.
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