Even as federal immigration officials insist that Secure Communities is a mandatory program that all states must participate in, another has opted out. Massachusetts Monday announced it will not participate.
Gov. Deval Patrick cited the same concerns as other states that have dropped out–and the same concerns voiced by Colorado opponents of the program–namely that the program does not accomplish its stated goal of deporting criminals and that it actually makes communities less safe by discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes.
Massachusetts is the third state to pull out of the program, called Secure Communities, after Gov. Pat Quinn canceled it in Illinois in May and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suspended New York’s participation last week. All three are Democrats from states with large immigrant populations, and they are close allies of President Obama, including on immigration issues.
The governors’ actions seem to set up a confrontation with immigration authorities, who maintain that the program is mandatory.
The Los Angeles City Council will vote today on whether to support legislation that would allow individual California counties to opt out of the program.