Boston Mayor Threatens to Withdraw from Secure Communities Program

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he will withdraw local law enforcement from the federal Secure Communities program unless immigration officials limit deportation only to immigrants who have committed serious crimes, according to The Boston Globe.

Although Menino previously supported the program – Boston piloted the Secure Communities program in 2006 – in a letter to be delivered to the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities task force, the mayor claimed the program has caused a breakdown between residents and police in some of the city’s immigrant communities. Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis is set to visit the Secure Communities task force in Washington, D.C. to deliver the letter and make a statement outlining his and Menino’s concerns, the newspaper reports.

Menino said the task force needs to show more transparency in how it decides whose fingerprints are shared with immigration authorities. In addition, he said the Department of Homeland Security needs to develop a “partition” that separates illegal immigrants charged with felony crimes and those arrested on lesser charges.

“Boston took part in Secure Communities as a pilot project, with the understanding that only the most serious criminals would be affected and the belief that our feedback would lead to improvements in the program,” Menino wrote in the letter.

In June, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced he would not expand the Secure Communities program to State Police. Menino and Davis defended the initiative even after Patrick spoke out against the program.