U.S. Senator Scott Brown, a Republican from Massachusetts, recently sent a letter to the state’s governor, Deval Patrick, urging Patrick to institute the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.
Under Secure Communities, state law enforcement agencies furnish the fingerprints of arrested individuals to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. ICE runs the fingerprints through databases to check the citizenship status of the arrestees, taking action to detain or deport those who have a criminal history or a record of multiple immigration infractions.
In his letter, Brown quoted recent testimony given by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Senate Homeland Security committee, saying he agrees with her assertion that Secure Communities is a “key tool” for immigration enforcement.
The Boston Herald suggested Brown’s letter might have been an effort to shore up Republican support, given that he faces a potentially difficult reelection campaign against a high-visibility Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.
Last June, Patrick followed the governors of New York and Illinois in opting out of Secure Communities due to concerns it targets all illegal immigrants who enter the U.S. justice system, not just dangerous criminals. President Barack Obama recently announced immigration enforcement agencies will review all pending deportation cases to focus only on those involving national security and community safety issues.